Culture and traditions of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhist art.
Tibetan medicine, also known as Sowa Rigpa (the science of healing) teaches that the purpose of life is to be happy. This Thangka painting is the first of a composition of the seventy-nine sets of paintings of the Blue Beryl Medical Charts, the most important text of traditional Tibetan medicine also called Sowa Rigpa. Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyaguru is depicted in the center of a colorful and complex mandala sitting inside a palace in the city of Sudarshana, the ‘city of medicine’.
The powerful and characteristic style of traditional Himalayan Masks is drawn from diverse cultures: from shamanism and village myths to the classical traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Tibetan and Nepalese Masks depict numerous Buddhist and Hindu deities in a style characterized by elaborate symbolic decorations and ornaments like this beautiful mask of Red Mahakala.
The Female Buddha White Tara is the goddess of compassion of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The name Tara means the “one who saves” and she has the power to alleviate people from suffering. The Mask of Tara attracts positive energy and instill calm and peace in the house.
In the sacred art of the Himalayas are represented thousands of deities. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and both peaceful and wrathful Gods and Goddesses are painted, according to the descriptions of ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts, by very skilled artists that still today keep this tradition alive.
The union of male and female (yam-yum) is prevalent in Tibetan Buddhist Tantric iconography. In this thangka painting of Vajrasattva with consort the center of the mandala is taken by a object called Vajra that Vajrasattva holds with his right hand. The Vajra, initially well-known as the sceptre of Indra, it came to assume tremendous importance in Tantric philosophy and symbolism. In Tibetan Buddhism is symbol of the indestructible nature of the ultimate truth.
Some of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monuments to have survived the ravages of history are the temples and chapels at Gyantse in Southern Tibet. In a chapel on the upper floor of the Palkhor Tsuglagkhang there exist superb wall paintings of the legendary eighty-four mahasiddhas – tantric adepts who, through effort and practice, have attained perfection and are endowed with extraordinary powers.