Karmapa 01 Tüsum Khyenpa (1110-1193)
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 6

ABS 134

 Code: ABS 134

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1500 - 1600

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 12.1 x 14.8 x 9.7

  Materials: Painted wood

First Karmapa Tüsum Khyenpa (1110-1193) 

This portrait-statue represents the first Karmapa Tüsum Khyenpa (1110-1193), the founder of the Karma-Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

He is seated in the meditation posture on a lotus pedestal, touching the ground before him with the right hand while his left hand rests in his lap in meditative contemplation. The Karmapa is clad in the tree-layered array of monastic garments and wears a heavy cloak. His head is covered with the famous black hat that thereafter became a symbol of his lineage. This hat is said to have been woven by dakinis with their own hair and given to the Karmapa in recognition of his spiritual realization.

Although the statue possesses an inscription on the back of the pedestal, the portrait leaves no doubt as to the identity of its subject. Depicted with small eyes, a wrinkled forehead, protruding ears, a broad jaw, a protruding chin and cheekbones, the features are typical of Tüsum Khyenpa's portraits and recall the 'monkey head' described in traditional sources. The inscription also mentions that the statue was made by Karmapa 08 Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554).