A RARE OFFERING THANGKA FOR THE FOUT TANTRIC TUTELARY DEITIES
4.000 € - 6.000 €
Description:Tibet, 19th c.
66,4 x 96,5 cm, R.
Tempera on cotton fabric, seamed together, with original brocade border, framed. Offerings to the deities are made to please them but also to ask for support and help in meditation on the path to spiritual enlightenment. The offerings can be made mentally, but also images serve as mental support during the ritual or the daily spiritual exercises. The recipients of these offerings are protective deities who are endowed with great power and corresponding weapons and ritual objects. The dwelling places of these deities in the temples and monasteries are usually the "black chambers" (gön khang) which are exclusively reserved for the wrathful protectors. This is also where the pictorially depicted offerings are presented, which are symbolically offered as gifts to the Dharmapalas. Offerings include a variety of sensually perceptible objects, but also sacred and cosmic symbols. This collection of offerings shown here is dedicated to four of the most important eight protectors. They are shown in this painting in four small three-storey temples, not real but only indicated by their clothing, attributes and weapons. The deities are to be animated during meditation, filling their given spaces. From left to right are the six-armed wealth-giving Sita Shadbhuja Mahakala, the six-armed Shadbhuja nag po - called "Great Black One", then follows Yama on the bull and finally the all-powerful Palden Lhamo riding her mule. Countless offerings are made to these four deities. Between the roofs of the small dwellings appear various symbols of good fortune such as the "Eight Treasures", the Seven auspicious symbols of a world ruler and on the right a large mirror on a tripod above a filled sacrificial bowl. Victory banners and weapons, human and animal skins form a row, followed by various tormas on skull bowls, and the ritual musical instruments. Above these, dried human skulls are lined up on the left, connected with intestines, and more kapalas with sacrificial food on the right. One of the most important offerings is the mental offering of the entire cosmos in the form of the here four-tiered world mountain Meru, surrounded by the four continents and the eight subsidiary continents of the four cardinal directions. They are represented triangularly in the east, circularly in the south, squarely in the west and semicircularly in the north. A three-storey temple stands on its summit. Mount Meru forms the axis of the world and is, as it were, the dwelling place of the deities. In the "heavenly" area, to the left and right, black corvids cavort, plucking at human carcasses and entrails with their sharp beaks, and horned game moves across the steppe on both sides. The lower part of the sacrificial thangka is alive with countless other animals. The majority are domesticated animals such as camels, yaks, wild horses, goats and sheep. Jackals, which prey on dead human bodies, and dogs are also depicted. Animals of the wild are arranged to the left and right around the mandala of Meru. There are elephants, snow lions, tigers, bears. They too are offered as gifts, and at the bottom a fox attacking a sheep. Two mythical birds - winged garudas - can be seen to the right, next to the stacked roofs of the Meru temple. All these offerings, and the animals depicted very close to nature, are intended to please the wrathful patron deities and, full of respect, to soften them in order to obtain their assistance.
Old European private collection, assembled before 2000 - Traces of age