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C016-05 Antique Tibetan Buddhist Altar Table

Baronet 4 Tibet, Art Galleries, Dealers & Consultants, Vancouver, WA
Antique circa 1600 Tibetan Buddhist altar side view with Buddhist symbols
Tibetan Furniture antique Buddhist altar circa 1600 with elephant and yak painting
side view antique Tibetan furniture with Buddhist symbols
left side
right side

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Great piece of antique Tibetan Buddhist furniture, the yak on the right door is an excellently depicted robust animal; long hair that is typical of the wild yak. Both doors have purple pigments used in the rock formations, which is highly unusual, as it was the rarest of pigments and very unstable when stored prior to use, consequently it had to be used rather quickly. One of the Cintamani on the elephant's back is also purple. The two front doors, which open using the center divide, are typical of the 15 and 1600s. The sides are laid out nicely in a very delicate kyungbur, are monochrome with 24kt gold inside of the kyungbur designs. This very thin kyungbur was the norm until about 1700, when it thicken up, becoming about 5 times the thickness going into the 20th century. The design on the sides is a very creative mandala representation, with the 4 gates also aligning with the 4-Noble Truths and the outer ring of stylized trefoils representing the 8 paths to enlightenment. The top, which is not painted, is attached with wooden dowels which are exposed on the top. Note that the "T-wave is carved on the front and outlined with kyungbur on the sides. The drawer pulls are gold plated wood, the left hand drawer must have been used the most as the gold has worn off and the wood is exposed on the thicker part. This is one of those pieces that is just on the cusp of not being cleanable; unfortunately it is on the uncleanable (image of front prior to cleaning) side of that cusp, this is generally noticed when an item is around 400 years old. The probability is that this table received much use in a warm room; the things that effect the soot and wax (coated with bee's wax when made and soot settles from incense and lamps) are temperature and exposure to natural light; items that were seldom used and kept in dark unheated rooms generally clean nicely, while items that would have been in northern exposed doorways will not clean at all and will have serious degrading of the pigments. There is a small split in the top along a wood join. Comes with COA and iconography.

Age: circa 1600
Materials: Juniper, and other woods
 Dimensions H= 21.62 " W= 24.88 " D= 14.62 "

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C016-05 Price $2285.00 PLUS SHIPPING ~ EAST COAST $264.00 ~  MIDWEST $245 ~ MTN STATES $219.00 ~   WEST COAST $192.00; other destinations, contact David@baronet4tibet.com for a quote


The border just underneath the top is the "T-wave" or 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 rest of the frame is done in a stylized trefoil; a cloud design that signifies the 3 Cintamani as the body, speech and mind of Buddha that the practitioner will possess.

The front doors have masterful art work: the left door has Chakravartin's Precious Elephant with a stack of flaming Cintamani on his back: the right door has an energetic yak. Both doors a scenes set in the Pure Lands with mountains, cascading waters and cumulus clouds.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 Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis.  Elephant tusks are sometimes depicted and are symbolic of the whole elephant. The flames around the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. The yak, a reminder of one of the Tibetan Plateau's most versatile commodities.  Until recently,  both domestic and wild yaks were found there. The yak is an essential part of the Tibetan diet, providing meat, milk, butter, and dried cheese.  The wool is spun to make rope and cloth; the hides are used for tents;  bags made from yak hides and fly whisks made from the tails have been exported for years.  In the hands of a deity, the fly whisk is a sign of compassion (e.g., "would not hurt a fly").  Yaks are also beasts of burden, pulling wagons and carts. .

The each side has an unusual mandala style depiction of the4 Noble truths and the Eight Fold Path to enlightenment. The Four Noble truths are 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, represented by the outer ring of linked trefoil designs. The 8 paths to enlightenment work together, not separately.  1. right understanding . 2. right attitude  3. right speech  4. right action  5. right work    6. right effort  7. right mindfulness  8. right meditation.  


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