Inventory no.: 3540

Qianlong Gilded Image of Chogya Phagpa, China


Gilded Bronze Image of Chögyal Phagpa


Qianlong Mark & Period, 18th century

height: 16.3cm, width: 14cm, weight: 1,308g

This image is of a lama wearing a monastic robe and seated cross-legged on a double lotus base and with hands in the teaching gesture (dharmacakra mudra). Lamas of almost identical form are identified in Prats (2000) as Chogyal Phagpa, who lived in the 13th century. He was the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, and concurrently, served as the vice ruler of Tibet under the Mongol Kublai Khan.

The image here of gilded bronze was produced in China in the eighteenth century. The Qing emperors of China were adherents of an eclectic form of Tibetan Buddhism and so encouraged local production of images from the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon as an act of merit. Consequently many different types of Tibetan-type images were commissioned.

Accordingly, this image is engraved on the front top of the pedestal before the seated image with the reign mark of Emperor Qianlong. The rendering of the text of the reign mark might be considered a little lacking in finesse, possibly suggesting the more provincial origins of either the bronze itself or the inscriber. In any event, the degree of finesse is comparable to that on a Qianlong-era image of Amitayus in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum and illustrated in Chen(2013, p. 138).

The base is intact and engraved with a

cakra motif.

Overall, the image is in excellent condition. There is no damage and no repairs. The hair has been blackened and has dulled but overall, the image is decorative and visually pleasing.


Chen, H., Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Chang Zheng Publishers, 2013.

Prats, R.N.

et al, Monasterios y Lamas del Tibet, Fundacion ‘la Caixa’, Barcelona, 2000.

Rawski, E.S. & J. Rawson (ed.),

China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 3540