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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Tibetan Buddhist Lama's Offering cabinet B020-01

antique Tibetan furniture with tibetan buddhist symbols: dragon, ashoka blossom, lotus blossom & peacock Tibetan antique furniture a buddhist offering cabinet side view with doors open top view of tibetan antique altar or offering cabinet
Front view
right side
top view
click on above image to see larger view

The general theme of this cabinet is ridding one self of poisons and elusions with a secondary associated theme of spiritual growth to enlightenment. I have included some meditational aids in the iconography that comes with this cabinet. This exceptional offering cabinet dates to the mid 1500s. Ashoka and lotus blossoms dominate the the panels adjacent to the doors: while dragons and peacocks are featured on the doors.It is evident from looking at the peacocks on the lower and upper doors that they were painted by different artists: this is the custom in Tibetan monastic art; there is a master artist and several apprentices/students that work on each piece. The borders and the fill work on the kyungbur are done by the junior apprentice while the more difficult areas are done by the master and the more skilled apprentices.  The art work is very clean, the shading is nicely done and the kyungbur is delicate and even. The hinges of the doors are wood-pegs in the doors that fit into a hole in the underside of the top and slide into a groove on the horizontal frame. The door-pull is the vertical kyungbur-trim in the center of the two doors. The front trim is kyungbur (raised gesso) in a red and gold trefoil design.    The sides, back and top are a natural wood with the original oil and wax finish which has been cleaned and a danish finishing oil applied to help preserve the wood. The top is attached with wood pegs, the rest of the frame is mortise and tendon joinery. The wood is predominately Asian Cedar, with some pine, spruce and possibly elm thrown into the mix. Comes with a Certificate Of Authenticity. We have a before picture of what this piece looked like before it was cleaned. The wood has shrank over the years on the right top panel, this results in the canvas separating from the wood and a "bubbling" effect where the canvas has raised off the wood; however the canvas and painting are still in excellent shape. We have cleaned and treated the interior and exterior wood, as well as cleaning the painted surfaces, which we have treated with a clear non-yellowing preservative.

This cabinet comes with a brush-signed Certificate of Authenticity: the following will be emailed in PDF; the iconography and meditational aid, map of the area with short history, and pictures of the area, people, their homes and essays about their lifestyle and economy.

Age: circa mid-late 1500s

Dimensions: H=32.6" W=41" D=14.75"

SOLD SHIPPED TO LOS ALTOS, CA

Price $3465.00 plus shipping and handling West Coast $240, Mtn. States $260, Mid West $278, Atlantic coast $295  Canadian destinations contact us  for a quote. 

Iconography

The red and 24kt gold trefoil kyungbur adorning the frame is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts. 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 trefoil is a cloud design, (here the entire trefoil is not displayed) that signifies the 3 Cintamani as the body, speech and mind of Buddha that the practitioner will possess. One can recite the 3 syllable mantra Om Ah Hum, (which is implied in this presentation of the trefoil) again the body speech and mind of Buddha as in the acquisition of these properties. While reciting the mantra, one should meditate on the destruction of passion and desires, striving to achieve active compassion expressed by positive actions benefiting others

The top doors have dragons clutching a yellow pearl or Cintamani and peacocks. Unlike its demonic European counterpart, the Tibetan dragon is a creature of great creative power; a positive icon, representing the strong male yang principle of heaven, change, energy, wealth and creativity. Dragons are shape shifters, able to transform at will, from as small as the silkworm to a giant that fills the entire sky. Dragons are depicted in one of two colors, green or brown.  The green, or azure dragon of Buddhism ascends into the sky at the spring equinox; it represents the light's increasing power in springtime and the easterly direction of the sunrise. The brown dragon is the autumn equinox, when it descends into a deep pool, encasing itself in mud until the next spring, but its spirit is still with the practitioner bringing wealth and health. The pearls, or jewels clutched in the claws of the dragon represent wisdom and health. The dragon can control the weather by squeezing the jewels to produce dew, rain or even downpours when clutched tightly. The dragon is the vehicle of Vairochana, the white Buddha of the center or the east. The peacock is prevalent in India and Hinduism as an emblem of romantic love and beauty. In Buddhism the peacock supports the throne of Amitabha, the red Buddha of the west, whose qualities include passion, love, vital fluids, evening twilight, summer and fire. The blue portion of its throat is thought to be from the transmutation of poison or venom as the peacock is a great snake killer, especially cobras. In Vajrayana symbolism a bundle of peacock feathers is used as a sprinkler for the consecrated water (amrita) contained in the blessing flask. In specific tantric rituals individual feathers are used as fan, mirror and parasol adornments. The goddess Palden Lhamo has a parasol made from peacock feathers, symbolizing her wisdom activities and the transmutation of all evils or poisons. In the background are mare's tail cumulus clouds; mare's tail cumulus clouds which are quite common in Tibet. The 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 upper right and lower left panels each have an Ashoka blossom done in kyungbur; 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

The upper left and lower right front panels have lotus blossoms in the bud, mid-blossom and full bloom stages. 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 soul’s path from the mud of materialism to the purity of enlightenment. The 3 stages of the lotus, bud, utpala (mid-blossom) and the full bloom represent the past present and future respectively.

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