About this object

Small silver gilt statue of the 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603). Beautifully cast figure of the Lama seated in yogic or meditation position, right hand reaches down in earth-witnessing or bhumisparsa mudra, left hand rests in his lap holding a Tibetan book or pecha. He wears a robe incised with decoration and a shawl that does not cover the right arm, revealing a bare arm. He wears the distinctive black hat of the Karmapa. He is seated on four mattresses (bo-den), which normally indicates that the sculpture was made during the lama’s lifetime. This portrait has the Karmapa’s name inscribed along the base.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa: Tolung
  • Date made
    1600 about
  • Materials
    Silver Gilt; Metal Gilt
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, World Cultures
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Asia: Southern Asia: India: Sikkim: Gangtok
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    95 mm x 75 mm x 60 mm; 3 3/4 in x 2 15/16 in x 2 3/8 in
  • Note
    List of Curios No 101: From Gyaltsen Kazi of Sikkim on 10th December 1912. Silver gilt image of ninth Karmapa Lama Wang Chuk Dorje, who is said to have been born in 1556 and to have lived for 48 years. The Karmapa and Kargyu sects are the same. This ninth Karmapa Lama lived in Tso-puk Monastery in Tibet. Image is on a gilt stand. This image was bought by Kangsa Lama of Sikkim at Tso-puk Monastery and given by him to his father Kangsa Dewan of Sikkim. It is believed to be fairly old; about 100 years old. Curator's note: The timing of the gift suggests it might have been given as a present to Bell to celebrate the birth of his son, Arthur.
  • Related people
    Charles Alfred Bell ( Collector); Gyaltsen Kazi ( gifted by, previous owner)

Explore related


  • List of Curios

    Bell, Charles Alfred

    Author: Bell, Charles Alfred
    Description: A typed object catalogue from Bell's handwritten notes on a wide variety of objects from his personal collection. This information often contains, the date he obtained an object, its provenance (including where and who he acquired from) and the person responsible for giving him the information. The process of writing the inventory began in December 1912 and continued until the late 1930s.


Previous owners

  • Gyaltsen Kazi

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1912-12-10
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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