Tibetan Religious Art

Tibetan Religious Art

Tibetan Religious Art

Tibetan Religious Art

Excerpt

The arts of China, Japan, and India have been familiar to the general public for many years, while the art of Tibet, "The Land of Snows," or "The Forbidden Land," is almost as remote as the country itself. However, in recent years the interest in Tibet has steadily increased. There has long been a need for a simple book that will answer questions concerning Tibetan art, its origins, functions, and the symbolism which is such an important factor. It is hoped that this book will answer that need to some extent. The favorable reception of my previous book, The Iconography of Tibetan Lamaism (1939), has encouraged me to make this material accessible to a wider public.

The time is not yet ripe for a thorough, comprehensive study of Tibetan art. That time will come when those sections of the Tibetan Canon dealing with the treatises on painting and sculpture shall have been fully translated.

The Tibetan language is a difficult barrier, because as yet there has been no standardized transliteration. Here, I have used approximate phonetic spellings wherever possible and omitted all diacritical marks.

Tibetan art is essentially a religious art. Religious art in the Orient differs from that of the Occident in that the lama regards his work, not as a work of art, but as a vehicle for expressing in a world of form the metaphysical concepts of "The Religion."

There has recently been offered an interesting distinction between "religious" and "sacred" art. Peter Fingesten, in his Toward a New Definition of Religious Art, College Art Journal, Vol. X, No. 2, 1951, puts it this way: "Sacred art is canonical, liturgical, didactic, guided by ecclesiastic rules and intended exclusively for worship, and is anonymous; while religious art is inspired, free, individual and not necessarily intend-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.