Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Book Cover

གླེགས་ཤིང་། 書皮
(item no. 13044)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Bon and Buddhist
Material Wood
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Object/Concept

Interpretation / Description

Book Cover: carved wooden blocks rectangular in shape, and often gilded and painted, serve as covers for the stacks of loose-leaf pages of Himalayan books.

Book covers are found under the category of Decorative Art from among the Seven Types of Function & Motivation for the creation of Himalayan art.

It is not very common to find stupa decoration on the front of a book cover. It is however common to find a small carved stupa on the edge of the cover where the cataloguing letter is also found. It is not clear from the stupa design and the drawn and painted figures on the left and right sides as to whether the object was made for Buddhist or Bon religious use. The drawn figures appear to be wearing fashion and attire typical of early Western Tibet, or the Western Himalayas. The stupas are unusual in shape and appear more similar with other Bon stupas.

(See another example of the use of stupa decoration on a Bon Religion book cover. Note that this book cover is double sided).

Jeff Watt 3-2016

(See the publication: Protecting Wisdom, Tibetan Book Covers from the MacLean Collection, Kathryn H. Selig Brown. Prestel, 2012).

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Sculpture: Book Covers Main Page
Bon: Chorten (Stupa)
Bon: Bookcovers & Wood (Masterworks)
Bon: Book Covers
Collection: Sotheby's New York (Sculpture. March, 2016)