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Antique Tibetan Buddhist Altar Table

Starting at: $1,985.00

Unique Tibetan Buddhist altar that was used inside of a temple, away from the main door. The art work and cabinet work are masterful; it is one of the few cabinets that has the rounded and mitered front frame. Each front door has a green summer and a brown winter dragon on it; what is highly unusual is that the dragons on the left door have four claws and the dragons on the right door have five claws. The Senge monasteries were very close to a border area with Imperial China which outlawed five clawed dragon depictions until about 1644. The Senge Monasteries adhered to this convention as a goodwill gesture. Officials from both Lhasa and Beijing were in the immediate area about 5 miles away, stationed in Rong Wum although governance was predominately Tibetan, the Chinese had two garrisons about 1 days march away. The Ming dynasty was at the stage of bankruptcy at the time this altar was made and how well staffed those garrisons were is not known. The Chinese Emperor Wanli had hired 50 artists from the Senge Monasteries during this time to build a temple on Mt. Wutai. This temple altar was made before the five-clawed prohibition was removed with the advent of the Qing Dynasty. A point of special interest besides the dragons claws is the purple pigments seen on the doors, purple was a very rare pigment and was unstable during storage, so it had to be used within a very short period of time, once applied however it remains stable. This is one of the earliest surviving altars with drawers; the drawer pulls are made from wood and were coated with 24kt gold. The sides have a mandala design laid out nicely in the kyungbur, with 24kt gold inside of the kyungbur designs. . The T-wave just under the top is only carved horizontally and vertically on the front, while the sides they are done in kyungbur without any carving. The zigzag design along with the T-wave became the norm during the 19th and 20th centuries. The top is not painted, however has a heavy wax and soot residue and there exists some splitting of the boards, which are attached with wood dowels that can be seen from the top. The top is also split as are the upper panels on the sides. The piece has had the soot and wax cleaned, although much still remains as it pooled inside of the kyungbur outlining. An acrylic preservative coating has been applied to the art work and Watco furniture oil on the unpainted wood to preserve both the painting and the wood. Comes with a COA signed by one of the monks, an iconography and images of the lama that blessed this tea table.

Age: circa 1580-1620
Materials: oil pine, and other woods
Dimensions H= 21 3/4 " W= 24 7/8 " D= 14 5/8 "

To read more details and view larger images see main listing.

C016-03 Price $1985.00 Plus shipping & crating~ EAST COAST $264.00 ~ MIDWEST $245 ~ MTN STATES $219.00 ~ WEST COAST $192.00; other destinations, contact David@baronet4tibet.com for a quote


  • Model: C016-03 dragon altar
  • 1 Units in Stock

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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 06 December, 2013.

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