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C016-02 Tibetan Buddhist Tea Table and Altar

Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
oleft side of Tibetan Buddhist tea table with ornate double dorje circa 1780
Tibetan Tea table and altar with Snow Lion and Albino elephant on doors
left side
front
right side of Tibetan Tea table circa 1780 with double dorje in gold
painted back of Tibetan Buddhist tea table with Infinite Knot symbol
right side
back

click on above small pictures to view larger pictures~use underlined words in text below to see additional views

Typical Tibetan Buddhist tea table; the left front door shows evidence of the tea pot being placed on occasion too close the the doors and damaging the art work. It would have been stationed in the center of a room with host and guests surrounding it, which is why it is painted on all four sides. The two front doors, with a Snow Lion on one and an elephant on the other, open using the center divide. This style is typical of the 16 and 1700s. The Snow Lion and the albino elephant are excellent art work; the clouds have an abrupt cut-off of the mare's tail that was typical in the early art work. One point of special interest is the purple pigments seen on the doors, purple was a very rare pigment and was unstable during storage, so it had to be used within a very short period of time, once applied however it remains stable. The sides have a very ornate double Dorje laid out nicely in the kyungbur, with 24kt gold inside of the kyungbur designs. The back again is done in monochrome with the central design of the Infinite Knot that is interconnected with durva grass design. The kyungbur on the back and sides is excellent, a bit thicker than what one would have seen 100 years earlier, yet not as thick as in the 1800s and later. The T-wave just under the top is only carved horizontally, the verticals are painted. The zigzag design along with the T-wave became the norm during the 19th and 20th centuries. The top is not painted, however has a heavy wax and soot residue and there exists some splitting of the boards, which are attached with wood dowels that can be seen from the top. There is some damage on this piece other than the front right door, most of it at the bottoms of the legs; please examine the images carefully; the price has been discounted for these blemishes. The piece has had the soot and wax cleaned, although much still remains as it pooled inside of the kyungbur outlining. An acrylic preservative coating to the art work and Watco furniture oil on the unpainted wood has been applied to preserve both the painting and the wood. Comes with a COA signed by one of the monks, an iconography and images of the lama that blessed this tea table.

Age: late 1700s
Materials: oil pine, and other woods
 Dimensions H= 17 1/8 " W= 20 3/8 " D= 14 1/4 "

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C016-02 Price $985.00 Plus shipping & crating~ EAST COAST $264.00 ~  MIDWEST $245 ~ MTN STATES $219.00 ~   WEST COAST $192.00; other destinations, contact David@baronet4tibet.com for a quote

Iconography

The border just underneath the top is the "T-wave" or thunder wave. This is the thunder of the vajra (diamond scepter, dorje in Tibetan), symbolizing skilful means, compassion, samsara. This compassion is an active quality rather than mere sympathetic feelings not transformed into action. Compassion refers to action that is exactly consonant with whatever is occurring and that is not self-referential. The rest of the frame is done in a stylized trefoil; a cloud design that signifies the 3 Cintamani as the body, speech and mind of Buddha that the practitioner will possess.

The front doors have an albino elephant on the left door and a Snow Lion on the right; in the background are rock cliffs, mountains and mare's tail cumulus clouds. The albino elephant is reputed to be the hardest elephant to control. The elephant is one of four divisions of the Indian military system, the others are the horse, chariots and infantry. Battle elephants were specifically trained to obtain perfect obedience and to withstand the ravages of the battlefield. The elephant in battle was the unstoppable remover of obstacles. Wild elephants were noted for their symbolic activities of uprooting, tearing, crashing and bellowing. This leads to the flayed skin of the elephant adorning deities as symbolizing the deity having torn the elephant of ignorance asunder. The trained elephant, as the most powerful of creatures, represents endurance, self-control, patience and gentleness, and the power of Buddha. The Snow Lion is the national emblem of Tibet.  The Snow Lion resides in the East and represents unconditional cheerfulness, a mind freed from doubt, clear and precise. It has a beauty and dignity resulting from a synchronized body and mind. The Snow Lion has the youthful, vibrant energy of goodness and a natural sense of delight.  Sometimes, the throne of a Buddha is depicted with eight Snow lions on it.  In this case, they represent the 8 main Bodhisattva-disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.  Associations: main quality is fearlessness, dominance over mountains, and the earth element. Cumulus clouds which are quite common in Tibet: one significance of these fast moving clouds and the pure clarity of the sky is metaphorically an illustration of the Buddha Mind. Clouds may come and go across the heavens, like the transitory thoughts or delusions which appear to obscure the mind's true nature, yet the nature of the sky remains unchanged. this is like the mirror, which is always unaffected by the appearances which arise in it, the sky is clear, transparent, infinite and immaculate.
The rock/cliff formation represents the syllable "E" which appears in the opening stanza of early Buddhist scriptures, ("'thus,' I have heard"). The purple and green cliffs represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. Mare's tail cumulus clouds are quite common in Tibet. One significance of these fast moving clouds and the pure clarity of the sky is metaphorically an illustration of the Buddha Mind. Clouds may come and go across the heavens, like the transitory thoughts or delusions which appear to obscure the mind's true nature, yet the nature of the sky remains unchanged.

The sides have a double Dorje; the Double Dorje is an epiphany, a sudden realization;  Dorje (Tibetan) thunderbolt, or double diamond, ("visvavajra" in sanskrit). Its four heads represent the four Dhyani Buddha. Of these, it is associated primarily with Amoghasiddhi, lord of the north, the Karma Family Buddha, whose name means "Unfailing Accomplishment."  The double Dorje represents the indestructibility of all phenomenal essence.  It serves as a symbol of harmony, immutability, and all -knowingness. The single, uncrossed representation, vajra (diamond scepter, dorje in Tibetan), symbolizing skilful means, compassion, samsara.  This compassion is an active quality rather than mere sympathetic feelings not transformed into action. Compassion refers to action that is exactly consonant with whatever is occurring and that is not self-referential.

The back has a very ornate Infinite Knot. The Eternal, or Infinite, Knot (Sanskrit, "Srivastsa"), is the classic icon for the concept of reality. The interwoven lines are graphic representations of the concept that everything in the world is interconnected, and therefore, dependent origination is the underlying reality of existence.  The knot also reflects the endless cycle of death and rebirth, mirroring infinity and the wisdom of the Buddha. It also symbolizes the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. The sanskrit term means 'beloved of the goddess Shri.' Shri refers to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, wherein the shrivatsa term in particular is the curl of hair in a 8 looped knot on the breast of Vishnu (just to further complicate the origins).

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