Rathnasambhava, the Transcendent Buddha of the South and Madonna Enthroned are very similar images that were produced by very different cultures. Both images were produced during the 13th Century. The image of Rathnasambhava, the Transcendent Buddha of the South was produced in Tibet during an interesting period of the country’s religious history. The branch of Tibetan Buddhism is led by a religious and sometimes political leader called the Dalai Lama. It was during the 13th Century during the reign of Kublai Khan, around the time of the production of this painting, that Tibet experienced the first incarnation of the Dalai Lama. One has to wonder if this painting is somehow related to that occurrence. According to one source, the reincarnation system for the Living Buddhas is the main point distinguishing Tibetan Buddhism from other forms of Buddhism.
“In 1252 , Kublai Khan granted an audience to Pagba and Garma Pakshi, an eminent monk with the Garma Gagyu Sect. Garma Pakshi, however, sought the patronage of Monge Khan who proceeded to bestow him a gold-rimmed black hat and a golden seal of authority. Prior to his death in 1283, Garma Paksli penned a will to ensure the established interests of his sect. The will advised his disciples to locate a boy to inherit the black hat, with the instruction based on the premise that Buddhist ideology is eternal, and a Buddha would be reincarnated to complete the missions he had initiated. Garma Pakshi's disciples acted in accordance with the will and located the reincarnated soul boy of their master. The event marked the introduction of the Living Buddha reincarnation system for the Black-Hat Line of Tibetan Buddhism.”
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...giving to humanity. Both paintings seem to suggest that this kind of selflessness will result in serenity.
Rathnasambhava, the Transcendent Buddha of the South. Tibet, 13th century C.E. Mineral pigments on cotton cloth, height 361/2”. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Cimabue. Madonna Enthroned. C. 1280-90. Tempera on wood, 12’71/2”x7’4”. Galleria delgi Uffizi, Florence.
“Angels in Christianity.” Wikipedia. n.d. Web. Feb. 19, 2011.
“Cimabue.” Wikipedia. n.d. Web. Feb. 19, 2011.
“Ratnasambhava.” Wikipedia. n.d. Web. Feb. 19, 2011.
“The Reincarnation of the Living Buddhas.” Tibet Travel Expert. n.d. Web. Feb. 19, 2011.
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