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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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C016-06 Antique Tibetan Buddhist Altar Table

Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
Antique Tibetan Furniture Buddhist altar circa 1800 side view
Antique Tibetan Buddhist Altar with prayer horses symbol circa 1800
Tibetan Buddhist cabinet side view circa 1800 damaged
left side
front
right side

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

Excellent art work on this antique piece of Tibetan Buddhist furniture; unfortunately the paint and kyungbur is damaged on the lower portion and rather heavily on the right side where the cloth underlayment is visible. Most Tibetan furniture has a cloth foundation, that is covered with clay, sanded and then painted; usually, when this underlayment is absent it is most likely a fake. There are many antique factories in Asia that make "antiques" many times using old furniture that was not originally painted and then paint it and distress the finish to look old. The front has two prayer horses in full regalia, most happy to take your prayers into the Pure Lands. The sides feature an ornate alms bowl used as an offering bowl with fruit, yogurt, a lute and a gold framed mirror. The two front doors open using the center divide and are above two drawers with Chinese coins used a escutcheons for the leather pulls (the coins are circa 1700). The top, which is not painted, is attached with wooden dowels which are exposed on the top, also note that there are some join splits. The selling price reflects the damage to the paint and kyungbur. Comes with COA, iconography and other supporting background documents.

Age: circa 1800
Materials: Juniper, and oil pine
 Dimensions H= 22.62 " W= 24 " D= 14.62 "

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C016-06 Price $785.00 PLUS SHIPPING ~ 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 display masterful art work, each having prayer/wind horse replete with a stack of flaming Cintamani on his back. Both doors background scenes are set in the Pure Lands with mountains, cascading waters and cumulus clouds. The flames around the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. Under the horse on the right door are Cintamani, the Precious King's and Queen's earrings and a set of elephant tusks, which always represents the entire elephant. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.  When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech and mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess.  Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. The Precious King's or Minister's heavy earrings (the square earrings) are taken as a symbol of comprehension of the Buddha’s teachings.  The weight of the earrings would have caused the wearers earlobes to elongate.  The long earlobes of the Buddha are a symbol of his detachment from all things earthly. Like the Buddha, the King represents a wealth of faith, morality, honesty, modesty, learning, renunciation, and wisdom. The King is also referred to as the Precious minister. His intelligence is razor-sharp, with a great ability for patience and listening.  He desires to do only good works to promote the Dharma, to protect and benefit all beings. The Precious Queen's heavy earrings are, like the King's, taken as a symbol of comprehension of the Buddha’s teachings.  The Queen speaks the truth, using no frivolous words and holding no false vices. .

The each side's main panel has an ornate alms bowl that is used as an offering bowl filled with yogurt, bael fruit, a lute, elephant tusks and a large mirror, all set in the Mahamudra Mists. The slow process of making yogurt is an appropriate metaphor for transforming the spirit. By faithfully applying the principles of Buddhism, negative behavior is overcome and the clear mind is revealed. The wood apple, or bael fruit, is a baseball-sized fruit with a hard skin and a sticky, highly aromatic pulp.  This fruit is eaten more for its medicinal qualities than for its taste.  Bael fruit increases one's beneficial, positive karma and thus brings one closer to release from samsara.  The fruit also symbolizes the goal of recognizing emptiness and dependency and the connection between cause and effect.  It challenges us to avoid actions that will cause suffering and to increase actions that will promote healing. In Tibet, the lute is known as pi wang, in Sanskrit the vina.  In Tibetan art, the lute is held by such deities as Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom; Shabdavajra, the offering goddess of sound; Dhritarashtra, the white guardian king of the east; Vinadhara, the offering goddess of music; and the gandharvas, or celestial musicians.  The end of the lute's neck has makara-tail scrolling typical of Tibetan lutes. The sound box is covered with an animal skin.

The mirror is an ancient Buddhist symbol for clarity, completeness of perception, and purity of consciousness. A mirror reflects a thing objectively, but what we see in the mirror is not the thing itself.  Because the object is not seen directly, it may be seen more accurately ~ more clearly, without judgment and with greater perspective.  This can lessen the tendency to see a thing as fixed or solid and encourage better understanding.  The mirror, or perception, more effectively propels the mind toward insight and compassion than mere argument or lecture. Whether something is beautiful or ugly, good or evil the mirror passes no judgment and is unaffected by the image; similarly pure consciousness is unaffected by the beauty or ugly, good or evil nature of thoughts which arise and pass. Like a reflection in a mirror, their essence is void, without substance. Like a wild animal that sees and attacks an apparent rival in its own reflection in a still pool, the mind self-identifies with its own projected imagery.

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