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 C020-37

Tibetan offering cabinet with parasol and pheonix
Front view
click on above image to see larger view

Nicely painted piece of Tibetan furniture with plenty of Buddhist symbols. The art work is good as is the raised out-lining (kyungbur). The two upper panels next to the Pheasant are the four petaled flower symbolic of the Four Noble Truths. The bottom doors have the Auspicious Parasol surrounded by Mahamudra Mists. I have included some meditational aids in the iconography that comes with this cabinet. The hinges of the 4 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 and as is characteristic of Tibetan furniture, opens with the right hand door. Chinese cabinets open with the left had door. The front trim is kyungbur (raised gesso) in a red and gold zigzag design. There are two drawers at the bottom with 18th century Chinese coins as the backing for the drawer pull.    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. Asian cedar, an aromatic wood, naturally repels insects and is the wood used to to send prayers to the Wind or prayer horse. We have cleaned and treated the interior and exterior wood, (top, back and all sides) 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 (mailed from Reunion Island): the following will be emailed in PDF; the iconography/meditational aid and images of the lama that blessed the shrine.

Age: circa early 1900s

Dimensions: H=33" W=41" D=14.5"

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Price $1475.00 plus crating and shipping: West Coast $295, Mtn. States $310, Mid West $325, Atlantic coast $350  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 top row of doors and panels can be taken as a whole with the panels having the Four Petaled-Flower showing the way to the Dharma and the pheasant showing the way to balanced compassion. In the background of both the panels and the doors is durva grass, one of Eight Bringers of Good Fortune, also represents a long life to acquire nirvana. The Four Petaled-Flower is emblematic of the Four Noble Truths, this rendering of the flower has four minor petals that represent the Dharma Wheel's Eightfold Noble Path which leads to awakening. The book Symbolism in Tibetan Buddhist Art: Meanings and Practical Applications contains an in depth explanation of both the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path with a common sense approach that is easily understandable; delving into the actual teachings of Buddha and the Sanskrit words. These two philosophies, the Noble truths and the Noble Path are the foundations of Buddhism and enlightenment.

The bottom doors have a Parasol set in the Mahamudra Mists and are flanked by panels with rock cliffs, also set in the Mahamudra Mists.  The Parasol is supported by a lotus blossom. The Parasol, one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, has a depth of meaning and application referring not only to wisdom and protection, but to the spiritual channels that lead to enlightenment. The different parts of the Parasol are a metaphor for the three main energy channels of the human body. Regarding the lotus blossom bottom support: Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. 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 rest on the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality.

 

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