Early 20th century Rare and Beautiful Avalokiteshvara Five Miniature Mandala from Lhasa, Tibet
Size: 55cm high, 42cm wide
Rare and well painted thangkas representing five Avalokiteshvara mandala. Multiple mandala compositions are again rare with very few examples. Typically there is one large central mandala subject with related mandalas surrounding like this one.
Object literature: The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the patron deity of Tibet and appears in a variety of forms both peaceful and wrathful and in large mandalas surrounded by numerous deities. As a universal symbol he embodies the compassion of all buddhas of the ten directions and three times.
On one occasion the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara made a promise that should he give rise to thoughts of self benefit may the head break into 10 pieces and the body into 1000. After continuously witnessing the misery of beings in various states of existence, discouraged, he gave rise to thoughts of seeking only his own happiness. At that very instant the head and body shattered. Calling out to Amitabha, the buddha came forth and spoke words of encouragement. Gathering up the 10 pieces of the head Amitabha constructed 10 faces - representing the 10 perfections. Gathering the 1000 pieces of the body he constructed another with 1000 hands each with an eye on the palm - representing the 1000 buddhas of the Golden Aeon. Finally he placed a duplicate of his own head at the crown.
A mandala (emphasis on first syllable; Sanskrit मण्डल, maṇḍala – literally "circle") is a spiritual and ritual symbol in the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a time-microcosmof the universe.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
Object history: from a Tibetan collection dating back to before 1950.