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Lot 88


Estimated Value:

10.000 € - 15.000 €


42.735 € incl. Premium and VAT


Eastern Tibet, 19th c.
62,5 x 41,5 / 119 x 60,5 cm
Where this legendary kingdom with its ninety-six principalities is supposed to have been located remains uncertain - speculations about its location range from Russia to Central Asia to Alexandria. According to most Tibetan accounts, it must be an area surrounded by high snow-covered glacier mountains. In the centre of the capital Kalapana is the palace of the first mythical king of Shambhala Sucandra, ruler of the ninety-six feudal lords. The capital with its palace is described in bright colours: Lakes filled with jewels, on which water birds cavort, surround the palace, and groves of fragrant flowers and sandalwood trees are found there. Shambhala is ruled after the time of Sucandra, the first of seven religious kings, in another unbroken succession of twenty-five enlightened kings, who are the embodiment of eminent bodhisattvas and whose reign lasts exactly 100 years. They preserve the most secret teachings of Buddhism. The last of these kings, the 25th - Rudra Cakrin - will, according to the calculations of the Kalacakra Tantra (Wheel of Time), fight the last eschatological battle against the Mohammedans in the year 2327 of our era, and establish the golden age of Buddhism. This battle, however, can be understood as the eternal struggle between enlightenment and ignorance, which the practitioner must pass in order to attain salvation from the cycle. Shambhala's significance still reaches into our time and has resonated in politics, and in literature (James Hilton, The Lost Horizon, 1933). Practitioners of Kalacakra Tantra regard Shambhala as a 'Pure Land' to which advanced practitioners aspire to be reborn to complete their chosen path. As a major 'energy centre', Shambhala has been reborn near Sainshand, the capital of Dornogovi Province, southeast of Ulan Bator. It is now a famous destination for pilgrims, attracting believers worldwide to stay and meditate there. Something of the mystical atmosphere of this 'Pure Land' of Shambhala is reflected in this thangka with its clear, visionary depiction of the 3rd King of Shambhala - Bhadra (Tib. Rig ldan bzang po 127-227 AD). He is sitting in a relaxed peaceful posture on a moon photo. He holds his right leg slightly outstretched, the left one bent. He wears princely silk robes and a fivefold crown in front of a high puffed red turban. The right hand holds the golden Dharma wheel, the left a flowering lotus branch with a radiant blue sea snail above the stamens. Both attributes are symbols of the spread of the Buddha's teaching. In the left background, shrouded in clouds and surrounded by glacial mountains, hills and trees, appears his kingdom which he rules. A mighty pine tree dominates the landscape and provides shade for the king. Blossoming peonies enliven the foreground, and rich offerings are spread at the king's feet. Tempera and gold on cotton fabric, silk mounting.
Private collection Rhineland, collected before 2000
Published: Thangka Calendar 2000, Windpferd Verlag, month September - Minor traces of age