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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

The Irony of my tiny Astrological Thangka Collection

It is ironical and even absurd that my journey in collecting Tibetan material began from being impressed by their ideology of renunciation of material wealth!

The life seen in Tibet as I understood it, was based on the pursuit of  control of one’s demands rather  than engaging in the pursuits of supplying items to fulfill those demands.

The lure of their ideology was so strong that I wanted to imbibe those principles. And so I went to Tibet  10 years ago.

Did I bring back the spirit? The thoughts – did I import the thinking? No  – I was not strong enough.

Instead I chose to bring back little objects of material wealth. Exactly the opposite of the philosophy. Pangdens, purses, flint lighters, jewelry, etc etc.

It is a failure  … to be besotted by an idea and then to be doing exactly the opposite.

I am still formulating a thought that will rationalise this fail and make me seem aligned with the thought!

***

Over the various trips to different Buddhist cultures in the Himalayan belt, I began to notice Thangkas.  But since it is a living tradition, many hundreds are produced even today every year.  Some are made in the same spirit as originally intended – by monks as a devotional practice – and others produced commercially.  So I needed to study them more to get my eye to understand the the nuances. Someday there will be enough time to read books and ask the monk masters to teach me how to interpret what I see. But for now, sitting in my apartment in Singapore the internet is my teacher.  For now, artwork after artwork is examined  mainly to figure out my personal preference – the learning can follow later.

Sifting through hundreds of pieces visually, it became clear what pieces look common and what pieces are fringe pieces with few other parallels.

And so I settled on these – and acquired some over a period.

The category is ‘astrological charts’ and here is a third one that came to me:

1228 a ANTIQUE TIBETAN ASTROLOGICAL CHART 15

1228 ANTIQUE TIBETAN ASTROLOGICAL CHART 131228 ANTIQUE TIBETAN ASTROLOGICAL CHART 12

These are influenced by both the Hindu and the Chinese ideology, both that I am now familiar with so .. the first interpretations are easy. But to ‘get’ the essence completely much more study will be needed…

More to look forward to!

Sept 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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