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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Scripture Boxes SST01GS

Scripture box with mongoose on side

Click on above image & blue links in text below for larger views.

This is the oldest scripture storage box we have. It is finished inside & out, top & bottom, which suggests it was made for a high lama or similarly important person.  The top of this storage box has 1 full-length line of spiritual language, most probably an advanced mantra. Each side, top & bottom is made from a single piece of wood, unlike the 18th-20th century boxes which usually were butt-joined.  This box's kyungbur work is finely detailed. The sides have two mongooses with wisdom jewels in their mouths, facing a bowl of 15 Cintamani on a lotus throne. The Mongoose symbolizes wisdom & is generally shown with wisdom jewels protruding from its mouth. The ends are convex, & no mantra is painted on the end. (The practice of a mantra on the ends transitioned around 1750. Our belief is that these older pieces had the mantras on the top, so nothing was needed on the ends. The designs on the tops in the later pieces were used as teaching visuals on the lama's travels.)

The side shown on the "click to enlarge" view has a small repair on it just behind the head of the right mongoose. A wood-knot shrank, causing a rift in the fabric. This was appears to have been repaired many years ago but has ripped again, leaving the fabric crisp around the knot.  The artwork is primal. This should be an excellent investment due to its age & apparent intended use. The Tibetanized Sanskrit on the top is a mantra "OM AH HOM ~ OM MANI PADMI HUM." Please see the Iconography below.

Dimensions:  W= 25.25"  D= 6.75" H= 7.75"
Age:  1543-1588
Materials:  body=Asian cedar

SST01GS PRICE $2,714.00 SOLD plus $49.00 shipping, handling & insurance in the continental USA. Add $10 for shipments to Canada. Other destinations, contact David for quote: 1-800-718-4238 or david@Baronet4Tibet.com


The side of this box have two mongooses with a Wisdom Jewel or Cintamani in their mouths, flanking an offering bowl filled with Cintamani, the king's or Minister's earrings & two sets of elephant tusks. The earrings & elephant tusks are possessions of Chakravartin.The mongoose is a traditional enemy of Nagas & snakes, (both treasure guardians) & is usually seen spitting colored jewels of wisdom or Cintamani.  The symbolism may have its origin in the central-Asian custom of using a mongoose skin as a money bag. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels & additionally represent wisdom.  When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech & mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess.  Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” & symbolize the importance of teaching & as well as the enlightened mind. Pictured here are 15 flaming jewels.

Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner: In Hinduism, the term 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, & chariots. Chakravartin is the lineage of 25 Kulika kings or enlightened monarchs, the 25th of which will finally defeat the "non-believers." The Precious King's or Minister's Earrings heavy earrings are taken as a symbol of comprehension of the Buddha’s teachings.  The weight of the earrings caused the wearer's earlobes to elongate.  The long earlobes of the Buddha are a symbol of his detachment from all things earthly. Like the Buddha, the King represents a wealth of faith, morality, honesty, modesty, learning, renunciation, & wisdom. The King is also referred to as the Precious minister. His intelligence is razor-sharp, with a great ability for patience & listening.  He desires to do only good works to promote the Dharma, to protect & benefit all beings. 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, & analysis.  Elephant tusks, when depicted, are symbolic of the whole elephant.

The Tibetanized Sanskrit on the top is a mantra "OM AH HOM OM MANI PADMI HUM." OM MANI PADME HUM ~ OM HA HUM. The first part of the script, OM HA HUM, is the head, throat & heart.  It speaks to the Channel-Wheel system. This is the last 6 syllables are the famous mantra of Avalokiteshvara, which is sometimes explained as ”The jewel in the heart of the Lotus.” The first OM refers to Buddha’s body, speech & mind, as in possessing this oneself; the MA of MANI is a jewel or treasure, (wisdom/thinking). The NI of the MANI is the altruistic mind. PADMI is the lotus flower, the nature of reality of Buddha’s wisdom. HUM is the determination & resolution to acquire & retain these qualities.

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