Until 1st Jan, 2026

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LOT 41 - FAS0624

Buy now for €1,430.00

Lot details

Tibet. Distemper and gold paint on cloth. Finely painted, the central figure depicted with his lower body in the form of a serpent with lion hide tied around its waist, open eyes covering torso and arms, nine wrathful faces arranged in three tiers above his shoulders surmounted by a bird's head, aiming to shoot in the distance with his bow and arrow, the figure ablaze and appearing to emerge out of tumultuous waters. The figure is surrounded by fifteen multi-armed wrathful deities, all ablaze, and set within a mountainous landscape.

Provenance: Acquired by the father of the present owner in Tibet around 1970 and thence by descent.
Condition: Fair condition with wear, soiling, fading, losses, some creasing, and abrasions, overall still presenting rather well.

Dimensions: 101.5 x 121.5 cm

Rahula, shown at the center of a fifteen-deity assembly, is a wrathful protector of the “revealed treasure” (terma) tradition of the Nyingma School, which was eventually practiced in other Tibetan Buddhist traditions as well. In Buddhist depictions he is portrayed with the lower body of a coiled serpent spirit (naga) and the upper body with four arms, nine heads, adorned with a thousand eyes. The nine stacked heads depicted above are the nine planets that Rahula has eclipsed, or rather literally swallowed, eaten and now symbolically appear on top of his own face and insatiable mouth. At the crown of the stack of all the heads is the head of a black raven.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related thangka of Rahula and his fifteen-deity assembly, 19th century, in the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art, object number C2010.13.


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