Tibetan buddhist Temple
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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Buddhist Altar Table C401-18

%Tiobetan Buddhist Altar with hand painted auspicious symbol victory banner tibetan antique furniture painted altar table with Buddhist symbols
Front* left end
Tibetan handpainted Buddhist altar table with bsshist symbols Tibetan hand-painted furntiure with rainbows and mountians painted
Back right end *
Tibetan furniture table top with chakravartin's precious possessions as buddhist symbols with red coral and treasure jar  
top  

click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

The Tibetan Buddhist altars iconic theme is that of gaining victory over delusions and hindrances to enlightenment and the 11 methods for accomplishment. The front and back have the victory banner, which epitomizes overcoming those hindrances and defilements. There is an iconography available as a meditation aid for this altar, see below. This beautiful altar table was made for use in a Labrang (lama's residence) in central Tibet. When altars are painted on all 4 sides they are made to be placed in the center of a room with sufficient space to walk around. They were always circumambulated in a clockwise direction. This item is painted on front, top,  back, & both the right & left ends. This altar was never used and has been stored for decades, this has taken a small toll on the art work as the large variances in temperatures have had an adverse effect and made effective cleaning very difficult. The top is exquisitely painted, featuring the Treasure Jar, one of the Eight Auspicious symbols, with precious red coral set into the top. This is set in the Mahamudra mists of the pure lands, and is bordered by blue and red chrysanthemums. Several of Chakravartin's Precious possessions are floating in the ether with lotus buds lining the landscape.   The only metal hardware on this piece are the brass Silk Road transit tax coins and round pull on the drawer-fronts at each end. The Tibetan Buddhist altar comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, an iconography explaining the theme and meanings of the various icons, a map of the Amdo region where the Sange monasteries are located, and pictures and additional information about the monasteries and people of the Golden Valley; there is also pictures of the lama that blessed this altar. *Please note there is some damage to the kyungbur on the right front leg that is visible from the front and side; this is not structural damage, just some water damage to the art work on this particular leg.

Dimensions: H=20" x W=31.5" x D=15.75"   
Age: circa 1930-50
Materials: Juniper and pine

Sold shipped to Mission Viejo, CA

Price $1095.00, plus shipping & handling
Shipping: West Coast $155, Mtn. States $169, Mid West $180, Atlantic coast $195  Other destinations contact us  for a quote. 

Iconography

The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the frame is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts. The 24kt gold continuous ‘T’-wave just under the top edge of the of the offering cabinet is also called the 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 top of this nicely done altar sets the tone and compliments the theme for the sides and ends. The top is exquisitely painted, with precious red coral sitting on top of a Treasure jar: in the ether are rays of subtle energy with Cintamani, and several symbols of the precious possessions of Chakravartin floating in the ether; elephant tusks (representing the entire elephant), the general's insignia, the queens earrings. There are also symbols representing the rhino and three other symbols that are not known to us. The treasure jar, vase or urn (kalasa) promises the good fortune of spiritual and material fulfillment, symbolizing the treasure of spiritual wealth.  Among those treasures is the jewel of enlightenment. It also extends to the material side and it is characteristic of the deities that symbolize prosperity. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.  Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner, the term in Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true.  Chakravartin has an army of 4 divisions, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots. Chakravartin is the lineage of 25 Kulika kings or enlightened monarchs, the 25th of which will finally defeat the "non-believers." The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis.The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis. The Precious Queen's heavy 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 her detachment from all things earthly. The Queen speaks the truth, using no frivolous words and holding no false vices. General's insignia (Sanskrit senapatiratna)  He is ready both to wage war and defend the kingdom, having attained mastery of the 64 strategic arts of war. He fights for truth and justice, does no unvirtuous acts, he causes no harm to other beings (just like Superman). The top is bordered with blue and red Chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn & the gathering of the harvest. In this case, it is a metaphor for achieving the goal of enlightenment & its accompanying peace. The blue represents compassion. Red is the transmutation of passion into compassion. 

The drawer ends are rather simple as compared to the rest of this Tibetan altar; Mahamudra Mists in the upper portion of the drawer with colorful mountains and rainbows below. The billowing clouds or mist are Mahamudra: the union of compassion and wisdom -- the ultimate realization of one’s true nature.  They are represented as the transformation of our vices into the 4 powers of regret, vow, reliance, and remedy, so the practitioner will realize purification and enlightenment.  This is also the basic meaning of the "Heart Sutra." The rainbow is eternity’s expression of momentary delight. This is Auspicious and takes on a supernatural meaning: the demise of a great teacher and his rebirth. Rainbows materialize and dissolve into nothingness, and in Tibetan tradition, it is the “Body of Light” or the “Rainbow Body” and refers to a great master who has attained Mahamudra and no longer perceives the world as a conceptual concrete dimension; rather, he now permeates space as mist, also known as the ultimate form of reality. The self is now permeating space with luminescence transparency, with nothing solid or any sharp lines of separation.

The sides seem to be a joyous celebration: the Victory banner in the center, flanked by two Champaka flowers and plenty of colorful durva grass. the victory banner is an early Buddhist motif meaning the enlightenment of the Buddha and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, this symbol also is used to recall the Buddha’s triumph over his temptress, Mara. Mara and her demonic hosts personify hindrances and defilements. The Victory banner in Tibetan Buddhism symbolizes the 11 methods for overcoming these defilements. The development of knowledge, wisdom, compassion, meditation, and ethical vows; taking refuge in the Buddha; abandoning false views; generating spiritual goals, skilful means and selflessness; and the unity of the 3 samadhis: emptiness~formlessness~& desirelessness. The Champaka is the 3rd flower of the holy trinity of flowers in Buddhist symbology, the 1st is the Lotus and the 2nd is the Ashoka. The Champaka is also called the camp flower. The Champaka is a white blossom from the wish-fulfilling tree & is an attribute of Maitreya Buddha, conferring love, compassion & beauty. Grass, in sanskrit, Durva, is a symbol for long (or Longer) life and is used in life-enriching rituals. grass, being highly resilient, is believed to be immortal and so proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings.

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