dark bronze depicts Tsong Khapa riding an elephant (strength, wisdom, prudence)
with his hands in teaching mudra. He is wearing the traditional pandita hat worn
by Buddhist scholars in India and is dressed in the robes of a Tibetan monk. Lotus
flowers rise from their stems in his hands to the level of his shoulders, where
they support a sword and a book, symbolizing the penetrating power of wisdom and
identifying Tsong Khapa as a manifestation of Manjushri, whose attributes are
also the sword and book. Some representations of Tsong Khapa realistically emphasize
his actual features, such as his long eyebrows and hooked nose; this bronze however
is an idealized portrait that nevertheless retains Tsong Khapa’s bright and alert
countenance. Recognized at the age of three as a reincarnated Boddhisattva, he
went to central Tibet at seventeen and became one of Tibet’s greatest scholar/philosophers,
whose influence was immeasurable, extending even to China and Mongolia. The Gelugpa
sect, which became the most powerful Buddhist sect in Tibet and surrounding countries,
was founded by Tsong Khapa, who is now revered as a Buddha.
excellent statue is firmly modeled and well detailed; the surface bears a handsome
patina of dark brown with green crystallization forming.