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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Tibetan Buddhist Altar Table C401-26 ~~ Tendril ~ all things are connected

Tibetan Buddhist altar-front view- thus I have said Tibetan buddhist altar with Infinite knot or tendril
front left
Buddhist altar hand painted in Tibet back side view Vintage Tibetan Buddhist altar side view with Infinite knot
back right
Top view of Tibetan altar with long life vase also called tsebum  

click on the thumbnail pictures above to see larger views

This altar's general theme is one of acquiring wisdom, and understanding the interconnectedness of reality by reading and studying the sacred scriptures. There are drawers at each end that have the Infinite Knot featured, while the front and back show multiple rock cliffs and kusha grass. The rock cliffs remind us to read the scriptures and the kusha grass reminds us to be pure of thought word and deed. The top has a beautifully rendered Tsebum. Read the short iconography for more details. This beautiful altar table was made for use in a Labrang (lama's residence) in central Tibet. When altars are painted on all 4 sides they are made to be placed in the center of a room with sufficient space to walk around. They were always circumambulated in a clockwise direction. This altar is painted on front, top,  back, & both the right & left ends. This altar was never used and has been stored for decades.   The only metal hardware on this piece are the brass Silk Road transit tax coins and round pull on the drawer-fronts at each end. The altar was made after a devastating genocidal attack by a Muslim army that killed more than half of the population in the Golden Valley. Details are available in the book "The Golden Valley; The Untold Story of the Other Cultural Center of Tibet", which comes with the altar table. This altar comes with pictures of the lama that blessed this altar, which will be emailed in pdf form.

Dimensions: H=19.6" x W=31.5" x D=15.6"   
Age: circa 1930-50
Materials: Juniper and pine


Price $1645.00, plus crating and shipping
Shipping: West Coast $255, Mtn. States $269, Mid West $288, Atlantic coast $305  Other destinations contact us  for a quote. 


The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the lower part of 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 front and back are very similar: a plethora of rock cliffs with kusha grass growing out of the tops and some Mahamudra Mists waifting around in the background.  The rock/cliff formation represents the syllable "E" which appears in the opening stanza of early Buddhist scriptures, ("'thus,' I have heard"). The blue, red and green cliffs represent the unmoving nature of the mind when enlightenment has been attained. Kusha grass grows to a height of two feet and is used to purify defilements.  Those wishing purification sleep in a field or patch of kusha grass for ritual purification.  Placed under a pillow at night before initiation, Kusha grass is believed to produce clear dreams; it is also used to enhance the clarity of visualization and meditation.  Kusha is the grass of choice for the manufacture of sacred meditation mats. Buddha sat on a pile of kusha grass that the buffalo boy had gathered for him when he reached enlightenment. The billowing clouds or mist are Mahamudra: the union of compassion and wisdom -- the ultimate realization of one’s true nature.  They are represented as the transformation of our vices into the 4 powers of regret, vow, reliance, and remedy, so the practitioner will realize purification and enlightenment.  This is also the basic meaning of the "Heart Sutra."

The two sides, which are drawers have the Infinite Knot with the mahamudra mists in the background. The Eternal, or Infinite, Knot (Sanskrit, "Srivastsa"), is the classic icon for the concept of reality. The interwoven lines are graphic representations of the concept that everything in the world is interconnected, and therefore, dependent origination is the underlying reality of existence.  The knot also reflects the endless cycle of death and rebirth, mirroring infinity and the wisdom of the Buddha. It also symbolizes the Buddha's endless wisdom and compassion. The sanskrit term means 'beloved of the goddess Shri.' Shri refers to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, wherein the shrivatsa term in particular is the curl of hair in a 8 looped knot on the breast of Vishnu (just to further complicate the origins).

The top has a Tsebum as the main feature; a jar in which the "nectar of immortality" is kept. Immortality is a concept that goes hand in hand with reincarnation and multiple lives; we change containers as we go through our multiple lives and it is the container that decomposes and not our essense.





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