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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Altar Table C011-04
Antique Tibetan furniture temple altar table with auspicious symbols hand painted
front view
Antique tibetan offering cabinet with buddhist symbolism
top view
Tibetan hand painted altar table side view
left side view
Tibetan furniture with 2 doors and 2 drawers
doors open view

click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

Antique Tibetan Buddhist furniture used as an offering altar at the entrance to a temple. The art work is excellent, with the kyungbur done very precisely and delicately. The age of this piece makes adequate cleaning very difficult, it is right at the cusp of the age between when I can clean the wax, oil and soot off and it will no longer clean. It is a transitional piece with the monochrome panels and drawers (12th-15th centuries) and the good 3-d shading (16th century to current) on the doors. The hand-painted front doors have several of the 8 Auspicious Tibetan Buddhist symbols; the conch shell horn, the parasol, the 8-spoked Dharma Wheel, and two golden fish. See the iconography below for an explanation of the Tibetan Buddhist symbolism. The wood is predominately juniper. The brass escutcheons on the drawer fronts are the only metal hardware on this piece; the leather pulls have long ago deteriorated and are missing. The hinges of the doors are wood-pegs that fit into a hole in the underside of the top & slide into a groove on the horizontal frame. The door-pull is the vertical kyungbur trim in the center of the two doors. This piece is painted only on the front. The front trim, the drawers, & the left & right front non-moving panels are done in the zigzag kyungbur. The doors are painted without use of the kyungbur technique (there is some damage to the painting on the door where it has been nicked over the centuries).  The sides, back & top are a natural wood with an oil finish.  This is a transitional piece between the 16th-18th century styles & the late 19th-20th century styles. Comes with a Certificate Of Authenticity, map of the area with a short history, iconography and other supporting documents of interest.

Age: circa 1650-1700  
Dimensions: H=24" W=35" D=15"

SOLD SHIPPED TO TORRANCE, CA

C011-04 Price $2425.00 plus shipping and crating: West Coast $240, Mtn. States $260, Mid West $278, Atlantic coast $295 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 altar 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 left and right panels with the gold on a red background are the Infinite Knot that morph into durva grass. The Eternal, or Infinite, Knot (Sanskrit, "Srivastsa"), is the classic icon for the concept of reality. The interwoven lines are graphic representations of the concept that everything in the world is interconnected, and therefore, dependent origination is the underlying reality of existence.  The knot also reflects the endless cycle of death and rebirth, mirroring infinity and the wisdom of the Buddha. It also symbolizes the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. The sanskrit term means 'beloved of the goddess Shri.' Shri refers to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, wherein the shrivatsa term in particular is the curl of hair in a 8 looped knot on the breast of Vishnu (just to further complicate the origins). 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 doors have a stack of Auspicious symbols, from the top down: white conch shell horn, the parasol, Dharma Wheel with yin-yang, two golden fish sitting on top of an Ashoka blossom throne. In the background are mare's tail cumulus clouds. The conch shell ~ sanskrit shankha ~ Tibetan dung dkar. The right spiraling (echoing the celestial movement of the sun, moon and stars) conch shell is one of the oldest icons in Buddhism.  It is made by nature and not man. A conch horn sounds in all directions, as do the teachings of the Buddha. Consequently, the conch is seen as a vehicle fearlessly proclaiming the truth of the dharma in all directions. It is also seen as an emblem of power and authority and is thought to banish evil. The white conch shell was presented to Shakyamuni by the great sky god Indra. The parasol and the shade it casts symbolize wisdom.  Its hanging skirt indicates compassion, so the parasol becomes a symbol of protection from the painful heat of the suffering human incur from the spiritual poisons of desire, hate, greed and ignorance.  The Victory banner is an early Buddhist motif signifying 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.  It further announces that all spiritual obstacles have been overcome and good fortune has arrived. The  Dharma Wheel ~~Sanskrit chakra ~ Tibetan `khor lo. in three parts, the wheel exists as a hub, which is the center of the world and in this depiction has the yin-yang symbol.  The 8 spokes denote the 8 paths to enlightenment. These 8 steps work together, not separately.  1. right understanding . 2. right attitude  3. right speech  4. right action  5. right work    6. right effort  7. right mindfulness  8. right meditation  The rim represents the attribute of limitation.  All are contained within a circle, which is perceived to be perfect and complete, like the teachings of the Buddha. The yin-yang, shaped like spiraled tear drops, constitute a circle that is divided in two by an S. Yin is the female, the passive, the receptive, the dark and the soft. Yang is the masculine, the active, the light and the stern. The joining of the two created from the One is the source of creative energy in the Universe. The pair of golden fish, having complete freedom in water, represent happiness, fertility, and abundance.  On a spiritual level, they represent the boundless abundance of the Buddha’s energy , which never diminishes, no matter how much is given away. 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; 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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