• Art of the Week
Four Mandalas of the Vajravali Cycle
September 30, 2015

This exquisite thangka is the thirteenth painting in a set depicting the mandalas of the Vajravali cycle, a compendium of Esoteric teachings compiled by the eleventh-century Indian master Abhayakaragupta [...]

Lotus Mandala of Hevajra
September 23, 2015

Lotus mandalas count among the most fascinating objects of Esoteric Buddhist art. These three-dimensional representations of deity palaces typically feature [...]

Ritual Ewer
September 16, 2015

Ewers such as this are used for pouring liquid offerings during daily offerings, initiation ceremonies, and other rituals. This ewer could have been part of a monastic setting or [...]

Ritual Hammer
September 9, 2015

This hammer, finely worked in the difficult damascene technique of inlaying gold and silver decoration, draws on an archaic vocabulary of Chinese designs and an ancient seal-script style reign mark that records its creation in the workshops of the early fifteenth-century Ming-dynasty emperor [...]

Prayer Beads
September 2, 2015

In Tibetan Buddhism prayer beads are used to count the recitations of prayers and devotional invocations (mantras), a process that allows the practitioner to accumulate merit [...]

Drenpa Namkha
August 26, 2015

Drenpa Namkha, from the Zhang Zhung region of the Himalayan Plateau, is regarded as an emanation of the founder of Tibet’s Bon religion, Tonpa Shenrab. Comparable to Buddhism’s Padmasambhava [...]

August 19, 2015

Padmasambhava, an Indian teacher said to have been miraculously born inside of a lotus flower—hence his name, which means “lotus-born”—is revered by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is credited with [...]

Treasure Revealer Terdak Lingpa (1646 – 1714)
August 12, 2015

This is an engaging portrait of Terdak Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646–1714), the founder of Mindroling Monastery, which came to be regarded as the chief monastery of the Nyingma School [...]

Phakmodrupa (1110 – 1170) With Episodes From His Lives
August 5, 2015

In the center of this early and well-preserved painting is the great teacher Phakmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110–1170). He is flanked by two columns featuring scenes of his previous lives, including his life as a monkey [...]

Fourth Demo Rinpoche, Lhawang Gyaltsen (1631 – 1668)
July 29, 2015

This monumental and imposing painting pays homage to Lhawang Tenpai Gyaltsen (1631–1668), the Fourth Demo Rinpoche, a high incarnate lama of the Geluk order. In 1653 [...]

Amulet Box (Gau)
July 22, 2015

This amulet box (gau) would have been filled with religious contents to protect the wearer as well as serve as a portable shrine. The central window of such an amulet usually reveals [...]

Begtse Chen
July 15, 2015

Begtse Chen is one of the main protectors of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism and especially revered in Mongolia. He is named for [...]