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Manjusri An Exhibition of Rare Thankas

Manjusri An Exhibition of Rare Thankas
Item Code: IDI614
Author: Acarya Ngawang Samten
Publisher: Central Institute Of Higher Tibetan Studies Sarnath, Varanasi
Edition: 1986
Pages: 52 (Color Illus: 13, Black & White Illus: 5)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 10.3"X 8.3

Hidden from public gaze, shrouded in mystery, inaccessible and unknown lies a vast treasure of creative expression in the monasteries of the Himalayan ranges. They extend from Gilgit, Ladakh, Zanskar, Guge to Sikkim, Bhutan and beyond the snows are the monasteries of Tibet. An unbroken, rich and varied tradition unfolds itself on walls as mural paintings, as terracotta and stucco and bronze in votive objects, and above all in Thankas.

The monasteries of Ladakh may not have the antiquity of Tibetan monasteries, but are today the most important and valuable monastic institutions, which represent the symbosis of the Tibetan, Central Asian and Indian traditions. Despite the recent popularity of Ladakh specially Alchi, and Hemis, the Thankas in the collection of several monasteries have remained unseen and inaccessible. Repeated visits to Ladakh during the last few years gave me strength and courage to suggest to the monasteries that an exhibition of Thankas from some of these monasteries should be organized in Delhi. The monks responded favourably. The Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath and the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ladakh persevered to make this possible. From amongst the several thousand of Thankas and 10 or 12 principal monasteries, only a sampling is presented here. This is very first exhibition of hitherto unseen uncatalogued Thankas principally from the collections of phiyang, Likhir and Spituk and will give a glimpse of the variety of content, style and technique. The selection has been made with a view to present Thankas under certain groups serial. Instead of choosing single example from different series, the attempt has been to present a full series of Arhats, Panchen and the Buddha Avdana.

The research for the catalogue and its presentation is the work of young Lama Ngawang Samten. It provides an insight into these Thankas, which is as authentic as it is rare. For the first time, perhaps, it is the insider's view on the Thankas and their artistic characteristics.

While the art of Tibet and Tibetan scrolls and paintings have been the subject of research by scholars of the eminence of Stein, Tucci, Richardson, Pal and others, perhaps this exhibition will add light to these explorations. Hopefully, it will stimulate curiosity and a determination to conserved this vast heritage to document it and to interpret it.

1Message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama5
3Preface and Acknowledgements9
4General Introduction11
5Catalogue and Plates15
Thanka No 1 Arya Manjusri16
Thanka No 2 Vajrasattva18
Thanka No 3 To 12 The Sixteen Arhats20
Thanka No 13 To 18 Panchen Rinpoches32
Thanka No 19 King Kulik Manjusri Kirti36
Thanka No 20 King Dkon-mchog-hbans36
Thanka No 21 King sron-btsan-sgam-po38
Thanka No 22 Hgrom-ston-pa40
Thanka No 23-29 Buddha Avadanas42
Thanka No 30 mg-gcig-lab-sgron48
Thanka No 31 The white Tara50
Thanka No 32 The twenty-one Taras50
Thanka No 33 Avalokitesvara with thousand eyes and arms50

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