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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Antique Tibetan hand painted Torma Trunk C100-K6 "Freedom from delusions"
antique Tibetan trunk with 2 golden fish and auspicious mirror
Tibetan trunk side view with Ashoka blossom
left side
Antique Tibetan trunk painted with Champaka blossom
side view of Antique Tibetan Furniture with Buddhist symbol Ashoka blossom
right side

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The front of this antique Tibetan torma trunk, all outlined in excellently applied kyungbur, has two golden fish surrounding a divination mirror while looking at a Cintamani. they are stationed on an Ashoka blossom, the second of the holy trinity of Buddhist flowers. The border on the front is done in an italicized thunder-wave. The top features two Champaka blossoms, the third of the holy trinity of Buddhist flowers, that always remind me of fireworks. Each side has an Ashoka blossom with lotus blossoms pointing towards it from each corner. The handles on the sides are bats, which have been fastened in an upside-down position; these were made to be fastened in the other direction, however, the symbolically correct position of a bat in tibetan symbolism is flying down. Please take time to read the iconography to get an understanding of the richness of karmic thought that comes with this trunk. The handles on the sides and the lid's closure are brass. The copper cladding on the corners is a late 20th century addition. The back has brass hinges that may break if not handled with care. The front, top and sides are done in the raised kyungbur technique that is a hall mark of the Sange artists since at least the 12th century. The trunk has been cleaned as it had a layer of soot and wax on it which obscured the painting detail, after cleaning the painted parts were coated with a clear acrylic enamel to protect the painted surfaces and the unpainted wood was treated with a penetrating Danish furniture oil to provide decades of protection. This trunk comes with a brush-sign Certificate of Authenticity signed by one of the monks at the Senge Monastery; we also provide an iconography and images of the lama that blessed it..

Material: juniper and oil pine
Dimensions: W=19.75" H=15.5" D=9.88"
Age: circa 1860-80

If you have questions contact David via email david@baronet4tibet.com

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Torma Trunk C100-K6 Price $525~Plus crating and shipping = WEST COAST $88 ~ MTN $97 ~ MIDWEST = $102 ~ EAST COAST= $113. Contact David for a quote to other destinations.


The front is bordered with a 24kt gold continuous ‘T’-wave, 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 front is colorfully rendered with two golden fish surrounding a divination mirror and appear to be looking at a blue Cintamani, all while sitting on top of an Ashoka blossom. Two Ashoka buds arecurving down towards the lower corners. The backdrop is durva (grass) and Mahamudra mists. Fish, having complete freedom in water, represent happiness, fertility, and abundance.  On a spiritual level, fish represent the boundless abundance of the Buddha’s energy, which never diminishes, no matter how much is given away.

The mirror is an ancient Buddhist symbol for clarity, completeness of perception, and purity of consciousness. A mirror reflects a thing objectively, but what we see in the mirror is not the thing itself.  Because the object is not seen directly, it may be seen more accurately ~ more clearly, without judgment and with greater perspective.  This can lessen the tendency to see a thing as fixed or solid and encourage better understanding.  The mirror, or perception, more effectively propels the mind toward insight and compassion than mere argument or lecture. Whether something is beautiful or ugly, good or evil the mirror passes no judgement and is unaffected by the image; similarly pure consciousness is unaffected by the beauty or ugly, good or evil nature of thoughts which arise and pass. Like a reflection in a mirror, their essence is void, without substance. Like a wild animal that sees and attacks an apparent rival in its own reflection in a still pool, the mind self-identifies with its own projected imagery.

The Ashoka, the second of the  trinity of holy flowers, sprouts from the holy water-font of the Amitayus, one of the forms in which the Buddha Amitabha appeared (symbolizing the transformation from greed to discriminating wisdom).  The sprout materialized from a tear that Buddha Amitabha shed when hearing of the deeds of the great warrior Ashoka that overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his oppressed people. True spiritual freedom comes from overcoming the sins and lusts that enslave the soul. Ashoka ruled a vast empire 2200 years ago and put his peoples welfare and interests above his own, he supported Buddhism, however he was insistent upon religious tolerance and open dialog.

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. Of course you may need a long life to accomplish this, hence the durva, which is sanskrit for grass. Durva is a symbol for long (or Longer) life and is used in life-enriching rituals. Grass, being highly resilient, is believed to be immortal and so proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings.

Both sides feature Ashoka Blossoms with lotus blossoms at each corner pointing towards the Ashoka. The lotus, at each corner, is an important Buddhist motif.  Images of the Buddha and other important persons often are shown seated on a lotus throne.  The growth of the lotus, with its roots in mud, growing through water, and emerging as a wonderful plant above the water's surface, is seen as an analogy of the soul’s path from the mud of materialism to the purity of enlightenment. The 3 stages of the lotus, bud, utpala (mid-blossom) and the full blossoming throne represent the past present and future respectively.

The top is wonderfully designed with two Champaka blossoms, again with a back drop of durva and Mahamudra mists. The Champaka is the 3rd flower of the holy trinity of flowers in Buddhist symbology, the 1st is the Lotus and the 2nd is the Ashoka. The Champaka is also called the camp flower. The Champaka is a white blossom from the wish-fulfilling tree & is an attribute of Maitreya Buddha, conferring love, compassion & beauty.

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