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Sakya Raktayamari Initiation with Lineage and Landscape
Sakya Raktayamari Initiation with Lineage and Landscape, c. Late 17th - 18th century
Colors on cloth; cloth mounting
Image: 24 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches (62.2 x 47 cm) Mount: 46 x 24 1/2 inches (116.8 x 62.2 cm) Frame: 51 3/4 × 30 3/4 × 2 3/4 inches (131.4 × 78.1 × 7 cm)
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1959
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Tibetan Ritual Arts
June 2, 2007 - December 9, 2007

Most Tibetan art is intended for ritual use. This exhibition, built around the Museum's recently conserved Tibetan-Buddhist altar, explores some of these rituals and their results, such as increasing one's lifespan, promoting a better rebirth in the next life, or trapping and destroying evil spirits that bring misfortune and illness.

Participants in these rituals have their senses bombarded by paintings and sculptures, recitations and music, food and incense, as well as luxurious silks. Thus they see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the power of the rituals. This pageantry is exquisitely detailed in paintings, where monks invoke deities through the use of fabulous ritual implements. The implements are so specialized and obscure that they often baffle non-initiates. This exhibition reveals the coded meanings not only of Tibetan ritual implements, but also paintings, sculptures, textiles, prints, and the altar itself.

Click here to view some of the objects included in this exhibition.


Katherine Anne Paul • Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art


Gallery 232, second floor


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