Himalayan Art Resources

Sculpture: Meditation Belt (Monastic & Lay)

Monastic Appearance | Lay Appearance

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Yoga
- Yantra Yoga
- Masterworks
- Confusions
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Video: Meditation Belt

In Tibetan language the meditation belt is known as 'gom tag.' There are two other well known 'tag' with the 'mu tag' (celestial cord) being the earliest and the 'katag' (white scarf) the more recent. The word 'tag' is used here in three different ways to mean a belt, a biological/spiritual cord, and a white scarf representing purity.

A meditation belt (sash, strap), commonly depicted in art, is a wide strap that is used to hold the torso and legs in specific postures over prolonged periods of meditation, yoga or Tantric practice. There are many different postures and techniques described while using the belt. In painting it is often red in colour. The belt, or strap, can be used by men or women, lay or monastic practitioners and generally only recommended for long periods of practice or in extended solitary retreat.

The two most common figures to wear a meditation belt are mahasiddha Virupa and the Tibetan yogi Milarepa. The belt is often red and is either placed over the right should and extending down to the waist on the left side of the torso, or wrapped around the waist and holding slightly raised up the right or left knee. It is easier to identify the meditation belt in painting and more difficult to recognize with sculptural figures.

Jeff Watt 2-2017

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).