Bonpo-cover

carved and painted wood
Tibet, 15th-16th cent.
size: 53 x 18,5 x 3,2 cm.

In the middle sits the deity Nampar Gyalwa, surrounded by the four fierce, many-faced and many-armed deities which he emanates in order to subdue the host of demons. On the left side two small stupas, both with a svastika, and on the right side a depiction of Jambhala, the god of wealth.

The outer side of this cover is carved with in the center The Ten Powerful Syllabes (Namchu bangden), surrounded by the Astamangala, the eight auspicious symbols. This is interesting, because it indicates that this cover originally was meant for a buddhist text, and later was `converted’ for a Bonpo-book.

Above the rectangle with the carving are three small metal knobs, clearly to fix a silk protective cover.

On the short side a carved kirtimukha, with two seated Buddhas; the Tibetan letter `ga’ means that the original (Buddhist) cover was meant for the third volume of a series.

In a German collection (Joachim Baader, M√ľnchen) used to be an almost identical cover, clearly part of the same series (see: Per Kvaerne, The Bon Religion of Tibet, London (Serindia) 1995, p. 66, plate 19).

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