Mid 19th c. Rare Treasure Vase Mandala Thangka, Lhasa, Tibet
Size: 30cm high, 30cm wide
Object literature: The treasure vase (Tibetan: གཏེར་ཆེན་པོའི་བུམ་པ་, THL: terchenpo'i bumpa) represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and the phenomenon of space. The treasure vase, or pot, symbolizes the Buddha's infinite quality of teaching the dharma: no matter how many teachings he shared, the treasure never lessened. The iconography representation of the treasure vase is often very similar to the kumbha, one of the few possessions permitted a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni in Theravada Buddhism. The wisdom urn or treasure vase is used in many empowerment (Vajrayana) and initiations.
The Ashtamangala is a sacred suite of Eight Auspicious Signs endemic to a number of religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The symbols or "symbolic attributes" (Tibetan: ཕྱག་མཚན་, THL: chaktsen) are yidam and teaching tools. Not only do these attributes (or energetic signatures) point to qualities of enlightened mindstream, but they are the investiture that ornaments these enlightened "qualities" (Sanskrit: guṇa; Tibetan: ཡོན་ཏན་, THL: yönten). Many cultural enumerations and variations of the Ashtamangala are extant.
Object history: From a Tibetan collection dating back to before 1950.