Explore the Stories of Objects chokyi milarepa gyalpo mahabodhi
Explore the Stories of Objects

Explore the Stories of Objects

Every object on view in the museum has a story about where it has come from and how it has been exhibited. Click one of the four objects from the Casting the Divine exhibition to learn its story.

Explore the Stories of Objects chokyi2
Explore the Stories of Objects

Chokyi Drakpa

Central Tibet; 16th century
Silver alloy and pigment with gilt copper alloy base
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
L2005.9.54 (HAR 68494)

I represent Chokyi Drakpa, the Fourth Shamar within the
Kagyu Buddhist tradition. In the Kagyu School a Shamar
(“He Who Wears the Red Hat”) is a hierach second only to
the Karmapa, who is the head of the Kagyu School. Living
from 1453 to 1524, I represent the Seventh Karmapa’s
foremost disciple.

I represent half of a two-sculpture set and was created
around the 16th century. I was seen in an exhibition at the
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University in 1999 and
made my way to the Rubin Museum in 2005.

Although we all look rather similar, I am easy to identify.
At least for those who read Tibetan and are familiar with
our tradition. The engraved inscription at the bottom of
the base honors me, as it reads:
“Veneration of the Holder of the Red Hat Crown, Chokyi
Drakpa”

Of all those sculptures only the representation of my
teacher, the Seventh Karmapa Chodrak Gyatso, who lived
from 1454 to 1506, came with me to the Nyingjei Lam
Collection. I was his foremost disciple.

We both were seen in an exhibition at the Ashmolean
Museum in 1999, and then made it to the Rubin Museum
in 2005.

Explore the Stories of Objects chokyi
Explore the Stories of Objects

Chokyi Drakpa

Central Tibet; 16th century
Silver alloy and pigment with gilt copper alloy base
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
L2005.9.54 (HAR 68494)

I represent Chokyi Drakpa, the Fourth Shamar within the
Kagyu Buddhist tradition. In the Kagyu School a Shamar
(“He Who Wears the Red Hat”) is a hierach second only to
the Karmapa, who is the head of the Kagyu School. Living
from 1453 to 1524, I represent the Seventh Karmapa’s
foremost disciple.

I represent half of a two-sculpture set and was created
around the 16th century. I was seen in an exhibition at the
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University in 1999 and
made my way to the Rubin Museum in 2005.

Although we all look rather similar, I am easy to identify.
At least for those who read Tibetan and are familiar with
our tradition. The engraved inscription at the bottom of
the base honors me, as it reads:
“Veneration of the Holder of the Red Hat Crown, Chokyi
Drakpa”

Of all those sculptures only the representation of my
teacher, the Seventh Karmapa Chodrak Gyatso, who lived
from 1454 to 1506, came with me to the Nyingjei Lam
Collection. I was his foremost disciple.

We both were seen in an exhibition at the Ashmolean
Museum in 1999, and then made it to the Rubin Museum
in 2005.

Explore the Stories of Objects milarepa2
Explore the Stories of Objects

Milarepa

Tibet; 15th–16th century
Silver with gilt bronze base
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68492)

I am a sculpture depicting Milarepa, one of Tibet’s most
famous yogis, known for his poetry and interesting life
story. Milarepa was said to be a dangerous sorcerer who
repented by studying under the great teacher Marpa. He
eventually became one of the most beloved figures in
Tibetan history.

I was made sometime in the late fifteenth or sixteenth
century in Tibet and traveled around a bit before landing in
the Nyingjei Lam Collection. I was in an exhibition in
Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin Museum of Art
in 2005. Since my arrival I’ve only been on display once at
the Rubin Museum before Casting the Divine, in the 2009
exhibition Stable as a Mountain: Gurus in Himalayan Art.

Luckily I was able to travel to Washington, D.C., to be in
the exhibition Lama, Patron, Artist: The Great Situ Panchen
at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of
Art. The Rubin Museum has many paintings and sculptures
of Milarepa, so I’m happy that I was chosen to make the
trip.

My head has been painted in gold color, and my facial
details, even my teeth, are painted as well, as is my black
curled hair. My scarf crossing the breast is particularly
nice, it has been gilded and the pattern has been
engraved, as has the light cotton garment I wear.

An inscription along the lotus petal base not only identifies
me but also states a reason why I was made:
“This silver image of Mila[repa], king of the sacred
doctrine, was set up at Nyüg Peak by the monk Gagi
Wangpo. Through this virtuous act may [all beings] who
have been my mother realise the abiding nature of the
mind, and may they achieve [the level of] Vajradhara,
embodiment of the four Buddha bodies! May good
auspices prevail!”

Explore the Stories of Objects milarepa
Explore the Stories of Objects

Milarepa

Tibet; 15th–16th century
Silver with gilt bronze base
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68492)

I am a sculpture depicting Milarepa, one of Tibet’s most
famous yogis, known for his poetry and interesting life
story. Milarepa was said to be a dangerous sorcerer who
repented by studying under the great teacher Marpa. He
eventually became one of the most beloved figures in
Tibetan history.

I was made sometime in the late fifteenth or sixteenth
century in Tibet and traveled around a bit before landing in
the Nyingjei Lam Collection. I was in an exhibition in
Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin Museum of Art
in 2005. Since my arrival I’ve only been on display once at
the Rubin Museum before Casting the Divine, in the 2009
exhibition Stable as a Mountain: Gurus in Himalayan Art.

Luckily I was able to travel to Washington, D.C., to be in
the exhibition Lama, Patron, Artist: The Great Situ Panchen
at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of
Art. The Rubin Museum has many paintings and sculptures
of Milarepa, so I’m happy that I was chosen to make the
trip.

My head has been painted in gold color, and my facial
details, even my teeth, are painted as well, as is my black
curled hair. My scarf crossing the breast is particularly
nice, it has been gilded and the pattern has been
engraved, as has the light cotton garment I wear.

An inscription along the lotus petal base not only identifies
me but also states a reason why I was made:
“This silver image of Mila[repa], king of the sacred
doctrine, was set up at Nyüg Peak by the monk Gagi
Wangpo. Through this virtuous act may [all beings] who
have been my mother realise the abiding nature of the
mind, and may they achieve [the level of] Vajradhara,
embodiment of the four Buddha bodies! May good
auspices prevail!”

Explore the Stories of Objects gyalpo2
Explore the Stories of Objects

Tangtong Gyalpo

Tibet; second half of the 15th century
Copper alloy with pigment
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68496)

Unlike many of my fellow sculptures in Casting the Divine,
I may have been made by the person I represent, Tangtong
Gyalpo. Gyalpo was extraordinarily interested in the
making of sculptures (among other things, he was also a
great engineer), and an inscription on my back says that he
helped to create me.

I was made sometime in the late fifteenth century in Tibet
and traveled around a bit before landing in the Nyingjei
Lam Collection. I was in an exhibition in Oxford, England
in 1999 before moving to the Rubin Museum of Art in
2005. Since my arrival I’ve been prominently featured in
many exhibitions.

I hold a medicine pill and a vase, both symbols of long life
and thus indicating that I was made for the masters well
being.

My first appearance at the museum was in the 2006
exhibition Holy Madness. I was then featured in the What is
It: Himalayan Art exhibition from 2007 to 2009 before
moving to the Stable as a Mountain exhibition in the spring
of 2009.

Because of my unusual features, like my wild hair and
incredibly detailed robe, I’m really in demand at the
museum and am scheduled to be in another exhibition,
The Place of Provenance, in late 2012, so I hope to see you
again soon.

Explore the Stories of Objects gyalpo
Explore the Stories of Objects

Tangtong Gyalpo

Tibet; second half of the 15th century
Copper alloy with pigment
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68496)

Unlike many of my fellow sculptures in Casting the Divine,
I may have been made by the person I represent, Tangtong
Gyalpo. Gyalpo was extraordinarily interested in the
making of sculptures (among other things, he was also a
great engineer), and an inscription on my back says that he
helped to create me.

I was made sometime in the late fifteenth century in Tibet
and traveled around a bit before landing in the Nyingjei
Lam Collection. I was in an exhibition in Oxford, England
in 1999 before moving to the Rubin Museum of Art in
2005. Since my arrival I’ve been prominently featured in
many exhibitions.

I hold a medicine pill and a vase, both symbols of long life
and thus indicating that I was made for the masters well
being.

My first appearance at the museum was in the 2006
exhibition Holy Madness. I was then featured in the What is
It: Himalayan Art exhibition from 2007 to 2009 before
moving to the Stable as a Mountain exhibition in the spring
of 2009.

Because of my unusual features, like my wild hair and
incredibly detailed robe, I’m really in demand at the
museum and am scheduled to be in another exhibition,
The Place of Provenance, in late 2012, so I hope to see you
again soon.

Explore the Stories of Objects image2 image3 image4
Explore the Stories of Objects

Mahabodhi Temple

Eastern India; 11th century
Stone (serpentinite)
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68417)

I am a model of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
The temple sits on the spot where the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni obtained enlightenment under the holy bodhi
tree. The temple, which was built approximately two
hundred years after the Buddha’s enlightenment, is a
popular site for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
As a model of one the holiest places in the Buddhist
tradition, I have been used in many exhibitions at the
Rubin Museum. I was created in the 11th century and am
often used to represent what the original temple looked
like before it was renovated by the British in the late
nineteenth century.

The top of the temple is formed by a characteristic high
spine, and in the corners around it are four smaller spines.
It’s structure, with the same architectural element repeated
again in smaller sizes is not much different from
contemporaneous Indian temples of other faiths. But the
repeated Buddha images, along the main body of the
structure and within the characteristic window niches show
this is a Buddhist monument.

Not everything about me is exactly like the temple. The
tree I have on my structure on the backside actually stands
on the floor behind the temple, and the image of
Shakyamuni calling the earth for witness in the niche
underneath may have been there at that time, but also
could be the main image in the center of the temple itself.

After I became part of the Nyigjei Lam Collection, I also
was in the Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin
Museum of Art in 2005. Since my arrival here, I’ve been
shown frequently as a representation of the holiest place
of Buddhism in India.

Explore the Stories of Objects image1 image3 image4
Explore the Stories of Objects

Mahabodhi Temple

Eastern India; 11th century
Stone (serpentinite)
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68417)

I am a model of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
The temple sits on the spot where the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni obtained enlightenment under the holy bodhi
tree. The temple, which was built approximately two
hundred years after the Buddha’s enlightenment, is a
popular site for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
As a model of one the holiest places in the Buddhist
tradition, I have been used in many exhibitions at the
Rubin Museum. I was created in the 11th century and am
often used to represent what the original temple looked
like before it was renovated by the British in the late
nineteenth century.

The top of the temple is formed by a characteristic high
spine, and in the corners around it are four smaller spines.
It’s structure, with the same architectural element repeated
again in smaller sizes is not much different from
contemporaneous Indian temples of other faiths. But the
repeated Buddha images, along the main body of the
structure and within the characteristic window niches show
this is a Buddhist monument.

Not everything about me is exactly like the temple. The
tree I have on my structure on the backside actually stands
on the floor behind the temple, and the image of
Shakyamuni calling the earth for witness in the niche
underneath may have been there at that time, but also
could be the main image in the center of the temple itself.

After I became part of the Nyigjei Lam Collection, I also
was in the Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin
Museum of Art in 2005. Since my arrival here, I’ve been
shown frequently as a representation of the holiest place
of Buddhism in India.

Explore the Stories of Objects image1 image2 image4
Explore the Stories of Objects

Mahabodhi Temple

Eastern India; 11th century
Stone (serpentinite)
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68417)

I am a model of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
The temple sits on the spot where the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni obtained enlightenment under the holy bodhi
tree. The temple, which was built approximately two
hundred years after the Buddha’s enlightenment, is a
popular site for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
As a model of one the holiest places in the Buddhist
tradition, I have been used in many exhibitions at the
Rubin Museum. I was created in the 11th century and am
often used to represent what the original temple looked
like before it was renovated by the British in the late
nineteenth century.

The top of the temple is formed by a characteristic high
spine, and in the corners around it are four smaller spines.
It’s structure, with the same architectural element repeated
again in smaller sizes is not much different from
contemporaneous Indian temples of other faiths. But the
repeated Buddha images, along the main body of the
structure and within the characteristic window niches show
this is a Buddhist monument.

Not everything about me is exactly like the temple. The
tree I have on my structure on the backside actually stands
on the floor behind the temple, and the image of
Shakyamuni calling the earth for witness in the niche
underneath may have been there at that time, but also
could be the main image in the center of the temple itself.

After I became part of the Nyigjei Lam Collection, I also
was in the Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin
Museum of Art in 2005. Since my arrival here, I’ve been
shown frequently as a representation of the holiest place
of Buddhism in India.

Explore the Stories of Objects image1 image2 image3
Explore the Stories of Objects

Mahabodhi Temple

Eastern India; 11th century
Stone (serpentinite)
Long-term loan from the Nyingjei Lam Collection
(HAR 68417)

I am a model of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
The temple sits on the spot where the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni obtained enlightenment under the holy bodhi
tree. The temple, which was built approximately two
hundred years after the Buddha’s enlightenment, is a
popular site for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
As a model of one the holiest places in the Buddhist
tradition, I have been used in many exhibitions at the
Rubin Museum. I was created in the 11th century and am
often used to represent what the original temple looked
like before it was renovated by the British in the late
nineteenth century.

The top of the temple is formed by a characteristic high
spine, and in the corners around it are four smaller spines.
It’s structure, with the same architectural element repeated
again in smaller sizes is not much different from
contemporaneous Indian temples of other faiths. But the
repeated Buddha images, along the main body of the
structure and within the characteristic window niches show
this is a Buddhist monument.

Not everything about me is exactly like the temple. The
tree I have on my structure on the backside actually stands
on the floor behind the temple, and the image of
Shakyamuni calling the earth for witness in the niche
underneath may have been there at that time, but also
could be the main image in the center of the temple itself.

After I became part of the Nyigjei Lam Collection, I also
was in the Oxford in 1999 before moving to the Rubin
Museum of Art in 2005. Since my arrival here, I’ve been
shown frequently as a representation of the holiest place
of Buddhism in India.