Creation of the website: A Beginner’s Guide to Tibetan Art
This website is designed to help students better understand Tibetan Art as they encounter works of art in class and on field trips such as to the Rubin Museum of Art. By understanding what different Tibetan symbols represent and what went into the creation of the work, my hope is for students to gain a better appreciation for material Tibetan material culture. On this site, you will find an overview of the most common Tibetan symbols, colors, and figures found in Tibetan works of art and their respective meanings. Examples will also be shown to illustrate the use of such symbols.
The main takeaway from the website should be that works of art serve multiple purposes in Tibet, especially when considering Buddhist works. Janet Gyatso stated that “In the Tibetan religious context, a work of art that is a Buddhist image is not merely a symbolic representation of an ultimate Buddhist truth. Nor is it simply an icon, rendering of the ideal form of a member of the Buddhist pantheon. it is both of those things but, to an extent that is embodies the form of the Buddha or deity, the image also conveys the presence of that Buddha in its own right.”
Essentially, the images are not merely used as teaching or meditation tools. They also serve as physical embodiments of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas they portray used for devotional purposes.
Creator: Laura Jao (2015)