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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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C500-23 Tibetan Buddhist Altar/Reading Desk ~~ pheasant

Tibetan Furniture buddhist altar hand painted vintage Tibetan Buddhist reading desk side view circa 1930
front view left side view
Tibetan Buddhist altar table top with Buddhist symbols Tibetan hand painted furniture with 4 petaled flower
top view right side view

Click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

Great art work on this lama's reading desk; the painting is very clean, the shading is perfect. The top features a colorful pheasant perched on the top of a Champaka blossom throne. This antique Tibetan furniture was used primarily as a reading desk. The sides have a Four-petaled flower symbolic of the Four Noble Truths; just behind the main petals are four additional petals, making eight in total leading to the Dharma Wheel. This is the symbolic and natural progression. The front has a set of six Cintamani surrounded by flames flanked by rock cliffs. It was used by a high lama to read and teach the Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. The end supports pivot underneath the table top, the entire front support then pivots over the top of the two end supports into a cavity that is under the top. The apron continuing around to the back side is done in the hallmark kyungbur that originated at the Sange Monasteries in the 13th century. The gold work on the sides and front is 24kt gold. The size of the top is just perfect for reading the loose leaf pages of Tibetan scriptures, while the opening in the back allows for the reader to sit in the diamond position with the top over their legs. More information is available in our recently published book that is available here and on Amazon.com. Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity brush signed by a monk at the Sange monastery.

Age: circa 1930-40
Dimensions (overall)    H=12" W=30.25" D=13.5" 

SOLD   

item #C500-23 Price $695.00, plus shipping: ~WEST COAST $72.00 MTN STATES 79.00 ~ MID-WEST $85.00 ~ EAST COAST $94.00

Iconography

  The zigzag gold and red design on the apron represents the transmutation of passion in to compassion and the purity of thought and actions that comes from this transformation. 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 addition of a chrysanthemum type flower symbolizes autumn & the gathering of the harvest. In this case, it is a metaphor for achieving the goal of enlightenment & its accompanying peace.

The top dominated by a pheasant on a Champaka blossom with lotus blossoms in various stages of bud and blossom surrounding it. The pheasant shows the way to verbalize forgiveness and compassion. The pheasant also teaches the art of concealment and the powers of perseverance and confidence. It is associated with movement through ego; this association is made clear through the beautiful plumage of the bird as the trappings of ego. It is important to note, though, that this attribute is tempered by a balancing act of sorts, and the pheasant’s environment tells us how: He is a riot of glamorous color, but ever-ready to disappear into the tall grasses or sheltering shrubbery when the need arises. In other words, the pheasant can be a show off, but he is always ready to retract his wiles when the time calls for it. This is a powerful metaphor; we can show our bright colors of creativity and influence in the world – but we must know the proper time in which to do so. The pheasant reminds us that no matter how vibrant and original we may be, if we carelessly throw our gifts out at inappropriate times or to unlistening audiences our efforts are in vain. The symbolism embodied by the pheasant also speaks to us about the value of balance in areas of spirituality. The pheasant deals with thought, dreams, aspiration, spirituality, and things that lift us into higher states of consciousness.

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 rise above the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality. The lotus is an important Buddhist motif.†Images of the Buddha and other important persons often are shown seated on a lotus throne.†The growth of the lotus, with its roots in mud, growing through water, and emerging as a wonderful plant above the water's surface, is seen as an analogy of the soulís path from the mud of materialism to the purity of enlightenment.

The front support has a set of 6 Cintamani surrounded by gold flames flanked by rock cliffs with several mare's tail cumulus clouds in the sky. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.   Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. The top Cintamani 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 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. 

Both end supports have a Four-Petaled flower that also has four smaller petals behind the primary Four. 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 and this is symbolized by the smaller petals combining with the other Four to make eight and the Dharma Wheel spokes.

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