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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 C401-20

Tibetan furniture Buddhist altar table with Ashoka blossom Buddhist altar table end view with scripture symbolism
Front left end
Tibetan Buddhist altar table back view of hand painting handpainted Tibetan altar table with buddhist symbols
Back right end
Top view of Tibetan Buddhist altar with long-life elixir  

click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

The Tibetan Buddhist altar's iconic theme is that overcoming the delusions and igonorance through following the correct path while experiencing a long healthy life. 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 an ornate Tse Bum, which is a special jar containing the long life elixir. The front and back feature a full blooming Ashoka Blossom.   The only metal hardware on this piece are the Chinese brass coins (circa 1700) 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.

Dimensions: H=19.5" x W=31.5" x D=15.75"   
Age: circa 1930-50
Materials: Juniper and pine

This item can be purchased securely online click here

Price $1695.00, plus shipping & crating
Shipping: West Coast $255, Mtn. States $269, Mid West $288, Atlantic coast $305  other destinations contact us  for a quote. 


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. 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 an ornate classic Tse-Bum jar front and center. From the clouds behind the jar subtle energy radiates out; flanking the jar on the left is a lotus blossom and on the right is an Ashoka blossom. Tse-bum or "long-life vase"is a jar in which the "nectar of immortality" is kept; the concept is to reach enlightenment and avoid samsara, the death and rebirth cycle. The rainbowed subtle energy represents a connection to the cosmos or the mindstream.  The generally acknowledged meaning of the lotus flower is purity of mind or divine creation. From the muck of a pond, where the roots of the lotus reside, an immaculate white flower emerges to rest above the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality.

The drawers on the ends have rock cliffs with kush grass growing out of them. The rock/cliff formation represents the syllable "E" which appears in the opening stanza of early Buddhist scriptures, ("'thus,' I have heard"). The blue and green cliffs represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. Kusha grass grows to a height of two feet and is used to purify defilements.  Those wishing purification sleep in a field or patch of kusha grass for ritual purification.  Placed under a pillow at night before initiation, Kusha grass is believed to produce clear dreams; it is also used to enhance the clarity of visualization and meditation.  Kusha is the grass of choice for the manufacture of sacred meditation mats.

The front and back feature an Ashoka blossom with durva (Sanskrit for grass) just behind the blossom; mare's tail cumulus clouds and rock cliffs. The Ashoka, the second of the  trinity of holy flowers, sprouts from the holy water-font of the Amitayus, one of the forms in which the Buddha Amitabha appeared (symbolizing the transformation from greed to discriminating wisdom).  The sprout materialized from a tear that Buddha Amitabha shed when hearing of the deeds of the great warrior Ashoka that overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his oppressed people. True spiritual freedom comes from overcoming the sins and lusts that enslave the soul. Ashoka ruled a vast empire 2200 years ago and put his peoples welfare and interests above his own, he supported Buddhism, however he was insistent upon religious tolerance and open dialog. Mare's tail 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.

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