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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Tibetan Buddhist Altar~ Tendril and the Path to Enlightenment

Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
Antique Tibetan altar with Snow Lion holding offering bowl on side view
Tibetan Altar with Auspicious symbols on front doors
right side view of Tibetan Altar with Snow Lion holding offering bowl
left
front
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Click on thumbnail images & underlined text to see larger views

Masterfully painted altar with excellent detail, an uncommon piece painted by the 19th centuries most accomplished artistic group at the Senge Monasteries. We had a mate to this altar, which we sold about 10 years ago. Each door features six of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, although only 5 are stacked on the Ashoka blossom pad. The background behind the symbols is set in the pure lands and richly detailed, with each door different than the other. The drawers and the door pull are done in kyungbur, while the frame is decorated with durva grass, one of the Bringers of Good Fortune, Ashoka blossoms, chrysanthemum blossoms and lotus blossoms. The sides feature a muscular Snow Lion holding an alms bowl over his head filled with Cintamani, and bael fruit, all set in the pure lands. The top is painted red and shows signs of water-offerings being placed there as well as yak butter lamps. The two doors open and there are two drawers below those doors. The drawer pulls are leather with a circa 1750 Chinese coin as the escutcheon. This altar comes with an iconography and a Certificate of Authenticity signed by one of the monks.

Materials:  Asian cedar & spruce
Dimensions:  H 30.5" W=31.25" D=23.25"
Age circa: 185
0

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Item #B011-02:  Price $4585.00, plus crating and shipping: West Coast $295, Mtn. States $310, Mid West $325, Atlantic coast $350  other destinations, contact us  for a quote. 

Iconography

The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the right hand door, used as the door pull, is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts. The rest of the frame shows durva grass, one of the Eight Bringers of Good Fortune, with Ashoka, chrysanthemum blossoms and lotus blossoms. Bermuda 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 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 tolerance and open dialog among all religions. 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.  The lotus flower  is another natural symbol and represents earth.  Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. 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 on the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality.

The front doors at their main vocal point show a stack of auspicious symbols, starting at the top with a conch horn, a parasol, the two golden fish wrapped around the eight-spoked Dharma Wheel with a yin-yang symbol at its center. Underneath that is the Glorious Endless Knot; all sitting on a sun disc on an Ashoka blossom throne. In the background are clouds of various forms, rock cliffs with kusha grass growing out of their tops, lotus blossoms, mountains, waterfalls, various tropical trees, one laden with sets of three bael fruit.

A full explanation of these icons and those on the sides will be supplied to the purchaser.

 

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