Departing from the identified Drigung Kagyü School lineage depiction on the third floor of the Alchi Sumtsek, early Drigung painting and its identification became increasingly a focus of my research. In case more recent publications considerably expand on and refine the results of earlier ones. Relevant publications on Alchi are featured on a separate research page.

Beneficial to See: Early Drigung Painting

Expanding on "A First Glance", this contribution to an exhibition catalogue of David Jackson identifies an example of a West Tibetan teaching lineage, a Drigung specific depiction of the eighty-four Mahāsiddha and a distinctive type of Buddha representation that was also prominently used in early Drigung monuments of Ladakh.

  • “Beneficial to See: Early Drigung Painting.” In Painting Traditions of the Drigung Kagyu School, edited by David P. Jackson. New York: Rubin Museum of Art, 2014: 214-59.

A First Glance on Early Drigungpa Painting

This article focuses on a group of early Tibetan Buddhist paintings that can be attributed to the Drigungpa School and the period from c. 1200 to the mid 14th century. Besides a general introduction to the relevant objects, the main topic is the identification of characteristics through which these paintings and related ones can be identified.

The most important such characteristic is the peculiar depiction of the Eight Great Adepts (mahāsiddha) in a consistent arrangement and iconography specific to the first century of Drigungpa school painting. Secondary characteristics found on these paintings further allow to relate them to depictions that do not feature the mahāsiddha, and attribute those to the Drigungpa school as well. Of course, the identification of the latter is hypothetical. Among the group of related paintings is a composition centred on a teaching Buddha in robes, different classes of audiences represented to his sides and often a group of seven Tārā in a bottom row.

  • In Studies in Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Art. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Tibetan Archaeology & Art, Beijing, September 3–6, 2004, edited by Xie Jisheng, Shen Weirong, and Liao Yang, Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2006: 459-488.

The Wanla bKra-shis-gsum-brtsegs

Wanla, a village in Lower Ladakh located at the confluence of two streams in a side valley between Khaltse and Lamayuru, is dominated by the lofty structure of the three-storeyed Wanla temple on a ridge behind the village within the ruins of a once major castle. The Wanla temple is one of the most neglected monuments in the context of academic research on Tibetan and in particular Ladakhi history. Although the temple is - almost in its entirety - of the founding period and even contains an extensive inscription relating to the background leading to the foundation of the temple, it has never been published in any detail. Together with the art-historical evidence, the Wanla inscription provides information on an otherwise practically unknown period of Ladakh’s history, the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. This information also appears to be highly relevant for the history of Tibetan Buddhism in general, as the art preserved at Wanla shows the process of reception and adaptation of Central Tibetan Buddhist art in the Western Himalayas.

This article aims to demonstrate the relevance of the Wanla temple for Western Tibetan history and art history on the basis of the inscription and the artistic decoration of the temple. After an introduction covering the historical context of the temple it gives an impression of its contents in art historical terms and their relevance to the discussion of painting styles and school attribution in Tibetan art.

  • In Buddhist Art and Tibetan Patronage Ninth to Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Deborah E. Klimburg-Salter, & Eva Allinger. PIATS 2000: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000, 2. Leiden: Brill, 2002: 115–25.

My colleague Gerald Kozicz, working in a parallel research project at the Technical University at TU-Graz under the supervision of Holger Neuwirth, discusses the architecture of the building in a parallel article in the same volume.

  • Kozicz, Gerald. “The Wanla Temple.” In Buddhist Art and Tibetan Patronage Ninth to Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Deborah E. Klimburg-Salter, & Eva Allinger. PIATS 2000: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000, 2. Leiden: Brill, 2002: 127–36.

In the meantime the inscription of Wanla has been published as well:

  • Tropper, Kurt. “The historical inscription in the gSum brtsegs temple at Wanla, Ladakh.” In Text, Image and Song in Transdisciplinary Dialogue. PIATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford 2003, Volume 10/7, edited by Deborah Klimburg-Salter, Kurt Tropper, & Christian Jahoda. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2007: 104–50.