Art with Benefits: The Drigung Tradition at The Rubin Museum of Art, April 24 – September 7, 2015

“Across all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism is the notion that a work of art has the power to transform and bestow a variety of benefits upon the beholder. Depending on the particular subject depicted in a painting, sculpture, or relic, the viewer gains such advantages as removing obstacles, acquiring merit, and purifying all sins, bringing benefits for this life and the next, simply by seeing it. The Drigung Kagyu School makes the concept of benefits through art both visually and textually explicit in the artwork created by its followers.” — The Rubin Museum of Art


Section: The Buddha “Beneficial to See”. Shakyamuni Buddha “Beneficial to See”. Drigung Kagyu School, Central Tibet; early 14th century. Distemper on cotton. Pritzker Collection


Section: The Teacher. Disciple of Drigungpa. Tibet; circa 1217-1235. Distemper and gold paste on cotton. Pritzker Collection


Section: The Hat. Drigungpa Jikten Sumgon with Two Lamas of Drigung. Ü Province (or a Drigung Monastery outside Ü), Central Tibet; ca. early 18th century. Rubin Museum of Art

TIT 26

Section: The Protectress. Achi Chokyi Drolma and the Five Long-Life Sisters. Tibet; 14th century. Private Collection, Switzerland


Section: The Wrathful. Yamari “Blazing Razor of Extreme Repelling”. Tibet; mid- to late 18th century (1740s-1760s). Rubin Museum of Art


Section: The Deity. Vajradhara with Deities and Lineage. Tibet; 19th century. Rubin Museum of Art


Section: The Tree. Padmasambhava with Refuge Tree. Drigung (Central Tibet) or Ladakh; late 19th or early 20th century. Rubin Museum of Art


Section: The Lotus Born. The Lotus Born. Kham Provence, Southeast Tibet; 19th century. Rubin Museum of Art

Images courtesy The Rubin Museum of Art