This beautiful image, from the superb Himalayan Art Resource, is apparently of the earliest known Karma Kagyu Refuge Tree paintings. It is dated to the life of the 15th Karmapa Kakhyab Dorje (1871-1922). His typical iconographic attributes are a vajra and bell held in the hands along with two flowers supporting a sword and book. In this painting the 15th Karmapa is depicted in the lower part of the composition, underneath the level of the throne of the central figure, Diamond Holder (Skt. Vajradhara; Tib. Dorje Chang). Above his left shoulder is a long-life vase on a flower blossom with the sword and book on a flower at the right shoulder. The vase or rather a long-life vase is often used to indicate that a teacher is still alive when a painting or sculpture is commissioned. It is an auspicious long-life gesture by the donor and artist. At the right and left sides of the seated Karmapa are Situpa and Jamyang Dorje. The Situ must be the 11th Situpa, Pema Wangchuk Gyalpo (1886-1952). The other figure of Jamyang Dorje is not quite as identifiable but is likely to be Tugsay Jamyang Rinpoche (1895–1947) the 11th Shamarpa and son of the 15th Karmapa.
The painting is extremely detailed and each figure is accompanied by a written name inscription beneath. The specific Karma Kagyu teachers depicted are of the Mahamudra lineage beginning with Diamond Holder and the Indian mahasiddha Saraha. The overall appearance of the composition along with the names of the teachers follows closely the text Ngedon Dronme “Torch of True Meaning” (or “Torch of Certainty“) of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (1813-1899) based on the Ngedon Gyamtso “Ocean of True Meaning” of the 9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603).
On the Himalayan Art Resource page it is possible to click to enlarge different aspects of the refuge tree.