Tibetan art at Himalayan Antiques

Tibetan painting on boxes and panels

The photo above shows several expressions of Tibetan art available at Himalayan Antiques, including Tibetan painted panels ; small boxes and containers; a large 17th century painted Tibetan storage box . We put this arrangement together both to demonstrate the great variety of painting styles used by Tibetan artists and to show the wonderfully vivid colors characteristic of Tibetan painting.

Tibetan Art in a Variety of Forms

Tibetan art is often represented as being confined to thangkas and Tibetan statues. Glancing over a stack of catalogues presenting Himalayan and South Asian art available at the big auction houses, one might conclude that the Tibetans were capable of producing little worthy of the word "art" besides thangkas and statues. Granted these forms may represent some of the highest achievements of an art which was confined largely to monasteries, Tibetan art is much more encompassing than this narrow view. We wish to demonstrate how woefully inadequate this narrow interpretation of Tibetan art actually is. Here we will confine ourselves to painting, whether it is in a two dimensional form such as a thangka or on a three dimensional object such as a Tibetan storage box.

Tibetan art at its finest Some of the greatest expressions of Tibetan art are not readily accessible in the West and not available at auction. These are the wall murals found in almost all existing Tibetan monasteries. These sometimes vast wall murals found in monasteries are often as impressive as the buildings themselves. To the right is a photograph of a tiny detail from the great mural in the heart of the Jokhung in Lhasa. (Click on the photograph to see its enlargement.)

We would like to introduce as wide a selection of Tibetan art as possible. Here we are presenting a selection of Tibetan antiques devoted to the art of painting, whether the brush was applied to wood, paper, or cloth. We have devoted a page to painted panels, both from furniture and salvaged from the walls of destroyed monasteries. A more intimate form of painting is to be found on initiation cards or tsakli , the miniature paintings used in many religious ceremonies. In addition to these more unusual forms, we do of course carry a selection statues and the thangkas as well as well as many objects such as masks which might be categorized as "artifacts" or "ritual objects" rather than "art".

 

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All photographs are the property of Paul Morse and may not be used without permission.
Last updated: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
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