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Tibetan Buddhist temple Art Ratnasambhava

Tangka style Tibetan Temple wall hanging

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Ratnasambhava is one of the least depicted of the Dhyani Buddhas, here he is accompanied by Maudgalyayana, Shariputra, a possible primordial Buddha and two unknown Pure Land deities in this 620 year old Tibetan Buddhist temple wall hanging. The jewel in the left front hand of Ratnasambhava is the red Kaustubha gem with identical properties as Chakravartin's 8-faceted blue gem. Ratnasambhava is offering blessings with both back hands and with the right front hand those blessings are offered in an instant, with a snap of the fingers. Each bodhisattva has a green nimbus haloing their head, with Ratnasambhava's containing the 4 Noble Truths. The outer aura has the Senge art hallmark Cintamani done in 24kt gold, with red outlining. This jiantang came from the Prayer/Assembly Hall and is part of a set of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, or also known as the heads of the five Buddha families. It was painted about 100 years before the Painting Canon was published that standardized the depictions according to scripture. The Canon is titled "Granting Precious Jewel of Dimension/Proportions" and was compiled by Sman Bla Don 'Grub rgy mtso, who is also credited with creating the menri style of painting. Please see the iconography for more information. The wall hanging is in excellent condition and comes with a Certificate Of Authenticity, brush-signed by a Senge Monastery monk, along with an image of the lama that blessed this painting.

The painting is on a somewhat heavy woven cotton fiber that is seamed horizontally just below the shoulders. Fabrics during this time period where hand-loomed in India and were in the width range of 30-36 inches depending upon the arm length of the person operating the hand loom. A single seam running horizontally was much easier and quicker than running one or two vertical seams. The seam is a bit bulky; using a cross over stitch that adds to the bulk, but ensures a secure seam.

One of the 5 jiantang, of which Ratnasambhava is a set member, has an appraised value of $30-35,000, while this one has an appraised value of $20-25,000. The valuation was accomplished by the intake appraiser for the Smithsonian and the White house. The difference being that the $30,000 painting has Tsong Khapa at the bottom of the Jiantang and was painted within Tsong Khapa's life time and may well be the 1st depiction of him.

Age: circa 1390  (dating is within 5 years; explanation and documentation will be provided to purchaser)
Material: cloth canvas coated with kaolin and painted using mineral pigments and 24kt gold
Dimensions: OAH=56" x OAW=40" Picture~H=44.5" x W=28'

Contact David to make purchase arrangements.

Price $12,000 plus shipping and handling West coast $88.00 ~Mtn $93.00 ~Mid-west $99.00 ~East coast $110.00 other destinations contact David@Baronet4Tibet.com for a quote.

Iconography

The main figure is Ratnasambhava, at the top corners are Maudgalyayana and Shariputra, Shakyamuni's two most famous disciples; at the bottom are two unknown Pure Land deities and a brown skinned primordial Buddha. Ratnasambhava, the Jewel-born, works on our miserliness and arrogant pride, the defensive attitude that tries to cloak its insecurity within the imposing disguise of self-aggrandizement or haughty aloofness (who wants to admit that they have problems in this area?). Ratnasambhava is one of the Dhyani Buddhas, component factors of the Adi Buddha. By meditating and identifying with Ratnasambhava one will become familiar with that part of the ur-Buddha. Here he is attired as a lord and thus is teaching, this depiction is called Caturbhuja Ratnasambhava.

The hands of Ratnasambhava's back two arms are in the blessing mudra and are working in harmony with the front two hands. The front left hand holds the red Kaustubha gem, this is a magical gem; with 8 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. In this case, this is offering the gift of wisdom and enlightenment now, in an instant; this is evidenced by the front right hand that is in the finger snapping mudra. Ratnasambhava is wearing the Queen's round earrings. The Queen is one of the Seven Precious possessions of Chakravartin. 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 Queen'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 her detachment from all things earthly. The Queen speaks the truth, using no frivolous words and holding no false vices. 

Surrounding Ratnasambhava's head and body are a green and gold aureoles respectively. The green contains radiant 4 petaled flowers, representing the four Noble Truths. This starts the middle way and is 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 gold aureole has side by side Cintamani: Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.  When depicted in sets of 3, as they are at the bottom of the painting, 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.

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