6. A Tsakli Painting (Initiation Image) Depicting Padmasambhava
circa 16th Century
Ink and mineral pigment on prepared card
Dimensions: 4" x 5 1/2" (10 x 14 cm)
The painting in brilliant mineral pigments depicts Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) who incarnated as an 8 year old child, on a lotus blossom floating in a lake in Oddiyana - hence his other name 'Lotus born'. His special nature became famous, and he was invited by Tibetan King Trisong Detsen, in the 8th Century, to travel to Tibet to subdue the demons plaguing the land and its peoples. Having accomplished this by means of his spiritual powers he went on to found Tibet's first Buddhist monastery - Samye - thereby introducing the Tibetan people to the practices of Tantric Buddhism. Here he is shown seated on a lotus throne wearing robes of rich red and green, with a tiger-skin lining. He holds a dorje and skull cup, and his khatvanga (ritual staff) appears at his left shoulder.