Overview for Tibetan Art
The rich artistic heritage of Tibet reveals the depths of meditations of great Masters, translated into the majestic abundance of iconic symbols that take the form of three-dimensional images or two-dimensional thankas. Tibetan Art is a comprehensive introduction to the complex iconography of thankas. It provides a glimpse of the mindground of this art and the land where it flourished. Although Tibetan Art portrays the historic Buddha Sakyamuni, the arhats, spiritual masters, great lamas, and founders of different religious lineages, the preponderance of its images depict supramundane beings. Predominantly these are: the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, female deities, protectors or tutelary gods (yi-dams), defenders of the faith, guardians of the four cardinal points, minor deities and supernatural beings. The leading gods are also depicted in different forms and manifestations. Tibetan Art takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery: Buddhist deities do not exist outside ourselves, but represent aspects of innate human potential-the capacity for compassion, wisdom, mental discipline, and other spiritual conditions and achievements. With no distinct, independent existence or objective reality, these deities are but symbols of abstract qualities, that are emanations of one's mind, and of the universal mind that venerates perfection.