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Tibetan Buddhist Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)
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Torma Trunk C100-K2

Tibetan Furniture torma trunk
Tibetan Furniture phoenix on torma trunk
left side
Tibetan Furniture Torma trunk Ashoka Blossom
Phoenix on tibetan Furniture Torma trunk
right side

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Flaming Cintamani to burn away the delusions that hinder enlightenment wrapped with a white silk ribbon along with a pink lotus and Ashoka blossom are among the icons done in kyungbur on this Torma Trunk. This trunk's iconography is all about overcoming our delusions, the enemy within ourself. The sides and top have Ashoka blossoms all done in a nice shade of pink, the transmutation of passion into the active compassion by overcoming our delusions and seeing things clearly. The kyungbur is expertly done, the thunder wave on the front is "italicized" in 24kt gold as are some of the plummage of the Phoenix and the Durva grass on the top. The hardware is brass and original except for the hinges which have been replaced and are new. The copper cladding is a mid 20th century addition. The insides have been treated with a wood preservative. This trunk comes with a brush-sign Certificate of Authenticity signed by one of the monks at the Sange Monastery. There is also a map of the area, along with historical notes and pictures of the village and monasteries with explanations and other documentation.

Material: JUNIPER
Dimensions: W=19.75" H=15.62" D=9.9"
Age: circa 1890


Torma Trunk C100-K2 ~ SHIPPING & handling= WEST COAST $58 ~ MTN & MIDWEST = $62 ~ EAST COAST= $69. Contact David for a quote to other destinations.


The front has 6 flaming cintamani nicely bound together with a white silk ribbon. This is setting over fine linen cloths drapped over leopard skins with an Ashoka blossom on the left and a lotus blossom on the right, both done in white and pink. The background is blue, green and gold Durva grass and with two blue mare's tail cumulus clouds intermixed with the Mahamudra mists. All fo this is bordered by a continuous T or thunderwave. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.  When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech and mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess.  Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. Pictured here are 6 flaming jewels. The flames around the border of the Cintamani are symbolic of the burning away of false desires and ignorance, giving way to enlightenment. The fine linens are an offering, The  Leopard's spots  resemble (according to Tibetans) the female vagina, consequently the flayed skin of the leopard is more commonly worn by dakinis or wrathful goddesses as a skirt or apron.  The large cat skins are most frequently associated with the wrathful deities, Mahakala is usually seen with the tiger skin wrapped around his waist.  Victory banners and the asama or meditational seats are also adorned with leopard skins, as are bow quivers. The leopard is also the messenger of the wrathful deities and additionally represents the death of pride, one of the 5 delusions and ultimate emptiness of of this delusion. It is most appropriate then that this is flanked by the Ashoka and Lotus blossoms. 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. The lotus flower  is another natural symbol and represents earth.  Tibetan Buddhist mystics imagined the earth floating like a lotus flower on the oceans of the universe. The heart of the flower is the cosmic mountain, the axis of the universe. The generally acknowledged meaning of the lotus flower is purity of mind or divine creation. From the muck of a pond, where the roots of the lotus reside, an immaculate white flower emerges to rest on the surface of the water as a metaphor for the harmonious unfolding of spirituality. Durva grass is a symbol of long life.  Because grass is highly resilient, it is believed to be immortal.  Therefore, it proclaims the end of samsara, the successive death and rebirth of all beings  It usually takes a long time to overcome samsara, and a longer lifespan will allow greater progress in moving towards enlightenment within a given cycle. Mare's tail cumulus clouds are quite common in Tibet. One significance of these fast moving clouds and the pure clarity of the sky is metaphorically an illustration of the Buddha Mind. Clouds may come and go across the heavens, like the transitory thoughts or delusions which appear to obscure the mind's true nature, yet the nature of the sky remains unchanged. This is like the mirror, which is always unaffected by the appearances which arise in it, the sky is clear, transparent, infinite and immaculate. Finally the continuous 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. -knowingness.,

The top of this trunk is formatted like an eye, with an Ashoka blossom as the iris and pupil, Durva grass as the white of the eye and Mahumudra mists that are the body. This then is a metaphor within a metaphor. With a long life to overcome your enemies within our body is the 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 sides each have a colorful Phoenix sitting on an Ashoka Throne. The Phoenix is endowed with all of the magical qualities of auspiciousness: longevity, resurrection, the solar and alchemical fire. Like the deer, the Phoenix symbolizes peace and tranquility. Sometimes a similar bird is referred to as the 'Bird of Paradise' with similar meanings.

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