Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Torana, Amitabha Buddha (Early Animal Depictions)

Torana, Amitabha (Animals) | Torana (Arch, Decorative Throne Back)

The torana is the stylized decorative framework surrounding sculptural and painted figures in Indian and Himalayan style art specifically and Asian art in general. A torana can be described as a gate, gateway, arch, throne-back, backrest, or decorative niche surrounding a deity, god, buddha, bodhisattva or religious hierarch, teacher or saint.

The torana can also be decorated with animal figures. In Tibet, after the 17th century, a certain number and type of animals were systematised and deemed proper and orthodox for use on the torana by some religious traditions and Tibetan painting schools.

Examples of torana from India and the Himalayan regions from the end of the first millennium up to the 17th century in Tibet clearly show that there was no standardisation of animal figures or rigid symbolism. There was however a library of popular figures both mythical and real that the artist could draw from.

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Makaras
- Sharabha
- Kinnaras
- Lions
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Kirtimukha
- Geese
- Sharabha & Boy
- Elephant

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Geese

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Makaras
- Sharabha
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Geese

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Makaras

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Kirtimukha/Garuda
- Makaras
- Sharabha
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Geese

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Makaras
- Boys
- Sharabha
- Lions
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Geese
- Boys
- Sharabha
- Lions
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Makaras
- Sharabha & Boys
- Lions
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Makaras
- Geese

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Kinnaras
- Sharabha
- Elephants

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Geese
- Lions
- Sharabha
- Geese

Top Down: Amitabha Buddha
- Garuda
- Nagas
- Makaras
- Sharabha & Boys
- Kinnaras
- Lions
- Elephants

Jeff Watt 1-2017