Shadakshari Lokeshvara (Tibetan Buddhist Chenrezig)
Tibetan Thangka Painting_x000D_Size of Painted Surface 21 inch X 29.7 inch_x000D_Size with Brocade 31.5 inch X 47 inch_x000D_
Avalokiteshvara is the Bodhisattva of compassion and the manifestation of the compassion of all Buddhas. Tibetans call him Chenrezig, meaning "to look with a merciful eye". Avalokiteshvara is considered the offspring of Amitabha Buddha. He is the patron deity of Tibet and all the Dalai Lamas are considered manifestations of Avalokiteshvara. There are 108 different form of Avalokiteshvara and among them one of his forms are Shadakshari Lokeshvara or Four-armed Avalokiteshvara._x000D_
Shadakshari Lokeshvara or the Six-syllabled Lord of the world embodies his six-syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. The six syllables of the mantra are the seed syllables of the six realms of the wheel of life. Om is white and stands for the good realm; Ma is green and stands for the demigods or asura realm; Ni is yellow and stands for the human realm; Pad is blue and stands for the animal realm; Me is red and stands for hungry ghost realm; Hum is black and stands for the hell realm. Avalokiteshvara helps to brings all beings from the six realms into enlightenment. _x000D_
It is believed that the sacred syllables invoke the Buddhas of the six realms, who are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara as he appears to the beings there to alleviate their suffering. The six realms, or forms, of rebirth as mentioned above are hell beings, hungry ghosts (preta), animals, human, demigods and gods. By repeatedly intoning the mantra, Tibetans and many others who do practices centering upon Chenrezig invoke the presence of a Buddha for the benefit of beings in each of those realms, as well as for increasing their own compassion. _x000D_
In this painting Chenrezig is seated in vajraparyankasana on a moon disk on a lotus flower against a brilliant aureole and moon disk. The complexion of his body is white which symbolizes purity and he has a smiling countenance, as he is filled with compassion for all beings. He looks down with tranquility, as Chenrezig feels equal compassion for all. He has four hands, the main hands are held in front of the heart, and holding wish-granting gem, which symbolizes for the spirit of enlightenment that consists of love and wisdom. His right hand holds a rosary, symbolizes that Avalokiteshvara draw forth beings from phenomenal existence. His left hand holds a beautiful full-blown lotus flower, a sign that he serves living beings but is free from attachment. An antelope-skin is over his left shoulder with antelope's head on his left breast, symbolizes his compassion for all human being. An antelope hide is also used as mat to sit on for meditation. The hair of Chenrezig is partially upswept in knots with decoration and partly falls on his back. He is richly adorned with gold jewelry which indicates that while pure Bodhisattva has not abandoned pleasant things. He wears a five-lobbed gold crown with flowers, finely rafted earrings, necklaces, armlets, bracelets, waist-band and anklets. His green silk scarf, with gold decoration, covers both the shoulders, moreover, Chenrezig wears brown and green dhoti as lower garments which have flower pattern in gold. _x000D_
The background, middle ground and foreground are filled with sky twinkling stars. The moon disk behind the aureole is radiating. The thangka is very much suitable for sadhana and practices. _x000D_
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma. His Doctorate thesis being: "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)". _x000D_
At The Core Of Tibetan Culture
The sheer diversity to be discovered in the artistic milieu of Tibet betrays the fact that either the ateliers of different sixteenth-century cities had considerable means of communication or the artists were actually itinerant. Because very few thangkas from before the thirteenth century have survived the ravages of time, the rich divinations made are drawn from sculptures and manuscript illustrations. While the largest influence on Tibetan art has been art from further southwards - the subcontinent - the visualisation of even similar deities are fascinatingly distinct. Scholars explain this by citing that the information flow between the two regions had been textual and verbal, which left Tibetan painters free to forge their own style. The Pala kingdom (eighth-twelfth century) of Northeastern India has had the most conspicuous influence on thangkas, of all other Indian influences that could be deduced. While most of Pala art is lost to us, we could gauge from sculptures and manuscrips illustrations the adornments, the elongated eyes and lashes, and the aquiline noses. Upon the Islamicisation of North India, some of the Indian Pala Buddhists put together a small community in Central Tibet and continued to produce their art, with the original Pala influences gradually dwindling. Contemporary thangka artists are no longer dependant on Pala tutelage, and what this endemic art form has evolved to today is the subject of admiration of art devotees across the world.
Thangkas are one of Tibet's most sacred gifts to humankind. Through contemplation on the subjects of the thangkas, the devotee is meant to transcend one's coarse, earthy surroundings into a realm that is defined by compassion and wisdom. Compassion and wisdom lie at the core of modern-day Tibetan culture, having evolved from a warring people with a lust for material conquest. The truth revealed in these thangkas are ultimate and divine, the highest of the high as art flows into every aspect of life - wares, textiles, and home decor and even the home itself. Of superlative gorgeousness and meaning, thangkas are the crown jewel of Tibetan art and culture. It is said that these paintings are the door through which the wisdom and the compassion of the deities emerge shining into our realm of existence.