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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C007 Precious Elephant Altar Table
Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
Tibetan Buddhist altar table
hand painted Tibetan buddhist furniture with buddhist symobism
antique Tibetan Buddhist altar lotus
front view
left side
right side

Click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

The art work on this hand painted antique Tibetan Buddhist furniture is quite exceptional, there is no contamination of the white which is unusual for pieces of this age. The Precious Elephant is carrying a full load of flaming Cintamani.  The top is not painted and there is some wood shrinkage resulting in small gaps in the planks. The sides feature the Ashoka Flower, one of the trinity of Holy flowers and the Trefoil. See the iconography for more information* A certificate of authenticity signed by Do Jee Tse Rang, a Tibetan Buddhist monk at the Sange Monastery is supplied with this Tibetan Buddhist altar table in the documentation package.  The wood panels are Asian cedar solids while the frame is an unknown hardwood. The trim is done in the kyungbur technique that dominates Tibetan Buddhist art. 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 & slide into a groove on the base. The door-pull is the vertical kyungbured trim in the center of the two doors. The front, & both sides are hand-painted, the gold is 24kt on the "T" wave trim just under the top edge and the zig-zag kyungbur frame.

Age: approx 1780-1810
Dimensions (overall)    H=20.38" W=20.62" D=13.5"

SOLD SHIPPED TO CORALVILLE, IA

item #C007 Price $1795.00, plus shipping: ~EAST COAST $154.00 ~  MIDWEST $145 ~MTN STATES $139.00 ~   WEST COAST $132.00; other destinations, contact us  for a quote.     

Iconography

The front doors have Chakravartin's, AKAWheel Turner, Precious Elephant carrying flaming Cintamai. The term Chakravartin 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 Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism, having he strength of 1000 ordinary elephants. In battle he is inexhaustible, fearless and unassailable. In peace he is wise and dignified. The flaming Cintamani are jewels of enlightenment, with the flames burning away ignorance and delusion. The top Jewel, which is blue is Chakravartin's Precious, eight-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. The clouds are cumulus clouds that move swiftly 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.

The drawers have an eight petalled flower with durva grass radiating out. This eight petalled flower reminds one of the four noble truths that lead to the eight spoked dharma Wheel and the eight fold path. 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 four sections in the center of this wheel refer to the 4 noble truths that lead to the Dharma wheel. Durva grass is a symbol of long life.  Because grass is highly resilient, it is believed to be immortal.  Therefore, it proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings  It usually takes a long time to overcome samsara, and a longer lifespan will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle.

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.

 The table's sides feature the Ashoka flower. This flower is named after Ashoka, a ruler that is recognized as the greatest ruler of all time. He was a warrior that hated war, but overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his people against overwhelming odds.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. True spiritual freedom comes from overcoming the sins and lusts that enslave the soul.

The bottom panel of the side has a trefoil in hues of blue with white borders, supported by blue durva grass on an orange background. The trefoil is a cloud design that signifies the 3 Cintamani as the body, speech and mind of Buddha that the practitioner will possess. The colors, orange and blue, generally mean the transmutation of passion into compassion. In this case it has the added meaning with the white trim on the trefoil and durva grass of the 3 syllable mantra Om Ah Hum, again the body speech and mind of Buddha as in the acquisition of these properties. While reciting the mantra, one should meditate on the foreground; the blues (the destruction of passion and desires) and white to achieve the background of the orange, which is the active compassion expressed by positive actions benefiting others.

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