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Tibetan Buddhist Altar 0310.01

Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
Tibetan furniture buddhist altar table hand-painted
hand-painted Tibetan furniture altar top with double dorje aka vajra
front view
top view
Tibetan hand-painted furniture side view of buddhist altar with buddhist symbols
Tibetan buddhist altar table with buddhist symbols
left side
right side

Click on the pictures above to see larger views

Good art work on an altar that that speaks to wisdom leading to enlightenment as well as both spiritual and material wealth. Each door has a blue horned yak, the top a beautifully detailed double dorje and the sides a large stack of Cintamani and 4 of Chakravartin's seven Precious possessions. Please read the iconography for more details. The top is in the layered look which is more favored by the monks at the lower Sange monastery. The door-pull is the vertical  trim ornamented in gesso at the center of the two doors. The top, front, and both sides  are hand-painted and the attention to detail is exceptional. The only metal hardware on this piece are the 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 and slide into a groove on the base. The wood is Asian cedar solids. The trim is done in the gesso (kyungbur) technique that dominates Tibetan Buddhist art and is a hall mark of the Sange artists. The painted surfaces of the front doors and top are crazed on this table, please look closely at images before purchasing.

This altar comes with a Certificate Of Authenticity, brush-signed by the artist, a monk at the upper monastery, an iconography, a map of the area with a short history and other interesting background information and pictures.

Age: 1960-70
Dimensions (overall)    H=20" W=21" D=14"

If you have questions, contact David by email at david@baronet4tibet.com

This item is sold/reserved, to make payment click here

item 0310.01 Price $585.00,      

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 blue horned yak, subtle energy, cumulus clouds; the foreground has Cintamani, Chakravartin's Precious blue flaming jewel, along with his Precious Minister's or King's and Queen's earrings. The rainbow rays coming out of the rock cliffs are subtle energy generated by the practitioner. In Tibet, cumulus clouds are the norm and move quickly across the sky: 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. 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 top jewel in each set of three is blue with flames surrounding it. The flames around the border of the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. Additionally the top blue Cintamani is Chakravartin's Precious 8 faceted jewel. 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. Last on the doors are the King's or Minister's and the Queens earrings. The Queen's are round and the King's/Minister's are squared. The term Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner 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 King's or Minister'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 his detachment from all things earthly, this applies to the Queen's heavy earrings as well and the Queen's are normally seen on the long lobs of enlightened beings.. 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 Queen speaks the truth, using no frivolous words and holding no false vices.  

The drawers have scrolling durva grass; the brass coins are covering a 4 petalled flower in the center of the design. 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. The 4-petaled flower is symbolic of the 4 Noble truths, the middle way and the first teaching of Buddha. 1. Life is suffering. 2. Ignorance is the cause of suffering.  3. The cessation of suffering is the goal of life because it transcends pains and pleasure.  4. The way to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which aligns with the eight spokes of the Dharma Wheel.

The main panel on the sides have a set of 15 Cintamani flanked by elephant tusks, the King's and Queen's earrings, yogurt and orange coral. The Precious Elephant is one of the 7 Precious possessions of Chakravartin. 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. Yogurt; 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. In this case an offering is made of both the yogurt and the coral, which is one of the most precious and valuable offerings.

The top is in a layered presentation that is another hallmark of the Rebgong art and has a great double Dorje in the center. At the front and back of the second layer of the top are the General's insignia and Palden Lhamo's bundle of curses. 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. General's insignia (Sanskrit senapatiratna)  The Precious General is one of the seven possessions of the Chakravartin. 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. Palden Lhamo's bundle of red curses has several different depictions, this particular depiction is the pair of cylindrical scrolls; she casts binding spells and inflicts deadly curses upon the enemies of the Buddhadharma.

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