Patron and Painter

    February 6, 2009 - August 17, 2009

    Much like religious princes, the Karmapas, heads of the Karma Kagyu, one of Tibet's principal schools of Buddhism, traveled for centuries in large monastic tent encampments. These courts, which included portable temples, a community of monks, and skilled artists and artisans, produced their own distinctive painting style, known as the "Encampment style" (Gardri). The painter Namkha Tashi founded the style in the court of the Ninth Karmapa (1555-1603) in Central Tibet. He looked to Indian figural models and placed them in landscapes inspired heavily by the works of Chinese court painters.

    Most of what we know of this painting tradition belongs to its eighteenth-century revival fostered by the great scholar-painter Situ Panchen (1700-1774) in Kham Province, Eastern Tibet, with its new artistic center at his monastic seat, Palpung. Even more important to the history of Tibetan art than Situ Panchen's role as a painter is his role as a patron and designer of paintings, many of which continue to be copied to this day. For the first time anywhere, this exhibition traces the career and artistic legacy of one of the great patrons and artists in Tibetan history.


    Patron and Painter press release

    Exhibition Resources

    Online Exhibition

    Situ Panchen: Creation and Cultural Engagement in 18th-century Tibet

    A conference hosted by the Rubin Museum of Art


    Exhibition Catalog

    Patron and Painter
    Situ Panchen and the Revival of the Encampment Style

    David P. Jackson
    with an essay by Karl Debreczeny

    Patron and Painter focuses on the life and work of an important historical artist, Situ Panchen Chokyi Junge (1700-1774) and his revival of a great Tibetan painting tradition known as the Karma Gardri or Encampment Style. It is clear, precise, and spacious, with marked Chinese influence evident in the use of pastel colors and prominent stylized features of landscape. David P. Jackson has unlocked Situ's diaries and journals and mapped his journeys, recounting some of his encounters with the military, political, and religious leaders of this time and recording some of his amazing achievements in fields ranging from art to medicine. This publication begins to visually tell the story of Situ's paintings and his role as a patron and designer of paints, many of which continue to be copied to this day.

    Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
    Distributer: University of Washington Press, Seattle and London
    Published: 2009
    Binding: Cloth and Paperback
    Pages: 304; 190 color illustrations
    ISBN: Cloth 978-09772131-4-6; Paper 978-0-9772131-3-9