Eastern Tibet/Western China
15th - 16th c.
glue tempera on pine
80 x 78 cm
These panels were clearly painted for the same environment and were probably set into a wooden framework and displayed in a wall. The panels depict the five Tathagatas or five Jinas, namely, Vairocana, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Aksobhya, and Ratnasambava. This particular panel depicts Amoghasiddhi.
Overall these panels incorporate elements from several diverse traditions. The rows of Buddhas are direct descendants of early Nepalese painting, while the heads of the Bodhisattvas behind the clouds are very Chinese, with shading techniques that are Indian and Central Asian. This is a remarkable amalgam, which at the same time incorporates several stylistic strokes, such as the rigid ray-like rainbow effect of the upper backgrounds.
While this combination of styles might suggest an origin in Eastern Tibet, in fact a Western Tibetan origin is more likely, since the Nepalese tradition extended strongly into various regions of West Tibet, and the Chinese styles shown in these panels are strongly Central Asian in flavor, which also argues for a West Tibetan origin.
Each panel is approximately 3-5 cm thick and is constructed from three joined pieces of pine.
Detail: close-up of Amoghasiddhi