Tibet / The Great Teacher Marpa / early 12th CenturyTibet
The Great Teacher Marpa
early 12th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Tibetan
Creator Dates/Places: Tibet
Creator Name-CRT: Tibet
Title: The Great Teacher Marpa
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 1100
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: early 12th Century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Bronze with copper and silver inlays and gold plugs
Dimensions: H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)

This compelling portrait is inscribed on the lower back with Marpa's name. Marpa (1012?1096) was one of the seminal figures in early Tibetan Buddhism. He traveled to India several times to study and eventually became the disciple of Naropa, one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas, or great teachers. Marpa had numerous followers and his teachings became the core of the Kagyu (orally transmitted) school.

Several factors point to an early date for this sculpture: the portraitlike quality of the face, naturalism of the robes, and style of the garments. No early portrait of Marpa is known and later ones show him with long hair and a less individualized face, perhaps indicating that our sculpture records an actual likeness.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1995.176
Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1995
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
Rights: http://www.metmuseum.org/education/er_photo_lib.asp
AMICA ID: MMA_.1995.176
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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