Entries for month: May 2012

Gods & Deities in Buddhist Art

May 14, 2012 ·

Gods & Deities are a common feature of Tantric Buddhism. What are they exactly? Who are they and where do they come from? This is a big question in Tibetan Buddhism and subsequently it is important to understand. Deities make up a large percentage of the iconography in painting, sculpture and more importantly meditation practice. Initially the most important thing to learn is that the terms 'god' and 'deity' are used interchangeably with no real intended difference in meaning. (This page on Gods & Deities is a work in progress).

Tags: additions · iconography

Painting & the Four Types of Ground Colour

May 12, 2012 ·

There are many different types and styles of paintings. A noticeable feature of Himalayan art are the various back ground colours that can be found. There are Four Types of Ground Colour. The standard and most common type is the multi-coloured. 

There are three further types of ground colour, black, gold and red, in this order, according to the time when each began to be used. The multi or variously coloured paintings are by far the more common in the Himalayan and Tibetan cultural regions. The other three colours are used to invoke mood and emotion. Black is for caution, fear and protection. Gold is for wealth, wonder and opulence. Red is for alarm, power, and resolve.

Tags: additions · painting

Art Depicted in Art: Sculpture - Updated

May 12, 2012 ·

These images depict known sculpture appearing in paintings such as the Shakyamuni Buddha sculpture in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, and the famous Sandalwood Shakyamuni Buddha in Beijing, China. The whereabouts of the Sandalwood Buddha are not currently known. Other famous sculpture are the Pagpa of Kyirong and the Three Lords of Ngari.

Tags: additions

Torma of the Bon Purba System

May 11, 2012 ·

Torma (Tibetan: tor ma. Sanskrit: ba lim ta): torma are cone shaped ritual food offerings, generally made from flour dough, sculpted into a variety of shapes and sizes, coloured and then adorned with flat circular 'buttons' made from butter.

Have a look at the process and finished product of this unique ritual art form practiced by Bon religious followers of Tibet and the Himalayan regions. "Preparing tormas for the end-of-year Phurpa rites, at Triten Norbutse Bon Monastery, Kathmandu."

Purba Drugse Chempa is one of the principal meditational deities of the Yungdrung Bon Religion. The standard form has three faces and six hands, wrathful in appearance, embracing a consort, and the lower body in the shape of a dagger-like peg.

Tags: Sculpture · additions

Mandala Roof Balcony, Sakya Town, Tibet

May 07, 2012 ·

The Mandala Roof Balcony of Lhakang Chenmo Monastery, Sakya Town, Tibet, is located on the 2nd to top floor and faces in towards the central open courtyard below. The mandala paintings are subject to a tremendous degree of weathering because they are exposed to the elements with only a roof above them. The subjects of the mandalas follow closely to the iconographic programs of the Shalu and Gyantse Monasteries.

Tags: Murals · additions · mandalas

The Main Temple of Lhakang Chenmo, Sakya, Tibet

May 07, 2012 ·

The Main Temple of Lhakang Chenmo Monastery, Sakya Town, Tibet. This set of images is still very large and needs to be divided into smaller groupings of images. The labeling will take some time to complete. The famous Temple Pillars have already been divided into a separate grouping.

Tags: Architecture · Sculpture · Tibet · additions

Bamo Lhakang, Sakya Town, Tibet

May 07, 2012 ·

The Bamo Lhakang Temple is located on the outer wall of the Lhakang Chenmo Monastery in the north-west corner tower. The various rooms contain a number of clay sculpture of famous Throne Holders of Sakya. The remaining rooms and confusing corridors house small protector chapels for the Three Witches (Bamo) of Sakya. The numerous wall towers of Lhakang Chenmo also serve as residences for senior monks and abbots.

Tags: Architecture · Sculpture · Tibet · additions

Phallic Art of Bhutan

May 06, 2012 ·

This is a great introductory article describing the phallic art of Bhutan. The name of the article is "In Bhutan, friendly phalluses painted on houses scare off evil spirits (NSFW)".

The custom of painting phallic imagery on the outside walls of Bhutanese homes is believed to ward off negative spirits and protect against obstacles. Although the origins of the practice in Bhutan are generally attributed to an eccentric teacher named Drugpa Kunleg, it is more likely that the custom is far older and related to folk culture and marital customs.


Himalayan Art Resources on Tricycle Blog

May 06, 2012 ·

The Himalayan Art Resources team have been asked to write a series of introductory postings on Buddhist iconography for the Tricycle Magazine Blog. See below for more information and links.

"Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff will make sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting a weekly image from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining its role in the Buddhist tradition." (Tricycle Blog).


The First Five Topics are Listed Below:
- Calm Abiding 5, April 2012
- Buddhas 12, April 2012
- Bodhisattvas 19, April, 2012
- Mandalas 26, April 2012
- Mandalas Part II 3, May 2012

Tags: additions