Requires Photography

Atisha with Scenes from his Life

Late 18th century

Object Place: Tibet


Overall: 132 x 70cm (51 15/16 x 27 9/16in.) Other (Image): 69.5 x 46cm (27 3/8 x 18 1/8in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Distemper and gold on cotton, mounted in silk satin

Not On View





Painting in hanging scroll (thangka) format, with decorative stitched borders, no streamers or veil.

Large central figure of Atisha sits on an elaborate throne holding a text in his left hand and making the teaching gesture with his right. He wears the red hat of a pandit. Surrounding the figure are scenes illustrating the life of a lama, presumably Atisha. The scenes take place in architectural settings with roundelles representing visions of the deities. The scenes include worship of a stupa, preaching, and a green Bodhisattva who appears to a lama who makes offerings. At the top of the painting are three wrathful deities, the central one being white, flanked by blue/black Mahakalas.


On reverse, in red ink, in Tibetan, mantras behind each major figure. In black ink, three Chinese characters.
On obverse, in gold ink, small Tibetan inscriptions identifying the scenes - to be read.


1947, Elizabeth Day McCormick, Chicago, IL; 1947, gift of McCormick to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 1, 1947)

Credit Line

The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection