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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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B016 Antique Tibetan Buddhist Altar Table
Antique Tibetan Buddhist altar side view with Cintamani and other Buddhist symbols Antique Tibetan Buddhist altar front view with deer painted Antique Tibetan furniture Buddhist altar with floral symbols circa 1820
left side
Front
right view

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Antique Tibetan Buddhist altar table with deer prominently featured on the front doors. Deer, by nature, are extremely shy creatures, and their serene presence in a landscape represents a pure realm absent fear. There are Tibetan tales that tell of deer species so compassionate that they would come and try to resolve any conflict that arose; this of course made them easy prey for hunters. The sides, both similar, have a bouquet of Buddhist holy flowers seeming to grow from a large stack of Cintamani. The wood is Asian cedar solids. The trim is done in the kyungbur technique that dominates Tibetan Buddhist art. The only metal hardware on this piece are the circa 1700 brass coins on the drawer fronts. The hinges of the doors are wood-pegs in the doors that fit into a hole in the underside of the top & slide into a groove on the base. The door-pull is the vertical kyungbur trim in the center of the two doors. The top and back are not painted, they have been cleaned and treated with a penetrating wood preservative. The right door has a split and the top has a separation at a wood join; these are both decades old damage. Comes with a COA, iconography and other supporting documents. The altar has been blessed by a high lama.

Material: Asian cedar
Age: circa early 1800s

Dimensions (overall)    H=22.75" W=24" D=14.75"

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Price $1685.00, PLUS SHIPPING/Crating ~ EAST COAST $154.00 ~  MIDWEST $145 ~/MTN STATES $139.00 ~   WEST COAST $132.00; 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.

Each front door has a deer in the mountainous pure realms; cumulus clouds in the sky, cliffs and plenty of Kusha grass depict a very peaceful landscape. The symbolic meaning of deer is  harmony, happiness, faithfulness, peace and longevity; the only attribute that may be absent would be fidelity.  Deer, by nature, are extremely shy creatures, and their serene presence in a landscape represents a pure realm absent fear. There are Tibetan tales that tell of deer species so compassionate that they would come and try to resolve any conflict that arose; this of course made them easy prey for hunters. Cumulus clouds are quite common in Tibet. The 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 blue, red and green cliffs represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. The tops of these cliffs have Kusha grass growing out of them. 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 sides have an Ashoka flower, the second of the holy trinity of flowers flanked by two Champaka flowers, which are the third flower of the holy trinity. They appear to come out of the back of a large stack of Cintamani; the top Cintamani is flaming and this makes it Chakravartin's 8-faceted Precious Jewel. On each side of the stack of jewels are precious red coral and sets of elephant tusks, representing the entire elephant and this is also one of Chakravartin's Precious possessions. The Ashoka 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. 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 and is an attribute of Maitreya Buddha, conferring love, compassion & beauty. In this illustration we have red blossoms, and this would indicate a transmutation of passion into compassion. 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. The flames around the border of the top Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. This top Cintamani is when it is blue and surrounded by flames is Chakravartin's Precious 8-faceted Jewel. The term >Chakravartin, or Wheel Turnerin Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true. Eight-faceted jewel, as in having eight magical properties. It cools when the days are hot, warms when the days are cold, illuminates the darkness of night, causes rain to fall or a spring to appear when one is thirsty, it brings to fruition what ever the bearer desires, it heals emotional afflictions, and cures all of the diseases of those who are in its range of its light and lastly prevents untimely death as in fathers passing on before sons. 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.  When elephant tusks are depicted, they are symbolic of the whole elephant. 

The bottom side panels have chrysanthemum blossoms: 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 white tips denote purity.

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