Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Best Examples (Iconography)

Masterworks Main Page

'Best examples' and 'masterworks' are always a subjective choice and not universally agreed upon because of cultural differences, region, date, aesthetics, or religious tradition.

Best examples refers specifically to deity figures and iconographic accuracy. Best examples belongs to the study of Religious context. The basis for iconographic accuracy are the early Sanskrit textual sources, the later commentaries and sometimes regional or traditional convention established over time.

Three Principal Characteristics:
- Iconographic Accuracy
- Well Proportioned
- Reasonably Attractive

Best examples and 'masterworks' are not the same. Masterworks belong principally to the study of Art History. The selection of a masterwork painting or sculpture is based on aesthetics, skill, quality, region, date or rarity. Masterworks are also influenced by a perceived monetary value. Best examples and iconographic accuracy are not at all a consideration in assessing monetary value.

Best examples and masterworks are two very different ways of looking at Himalayan art objects. Sometimes an object can be both a masterwork and a best example, although it is not necessary for best examples to be masterworks. It is only important that best examples are accurate, proportioned and attractive. Depending on the subject, it can be very hard to find best examples of a particular iconograhic form. Sometimes iconographic forms are complex and difficult to reproduce as paintings or sculpture.

A Selection of Best Examples:
- Bhutadamara Vajrapani
- Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara
- Hevajra
- Green Tara
- Vajrabhairava
- Vajravarahi
- White Tara
- Others...

Jeff Watt, 9-2021

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