Enquiry about object: 9252

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    Fine, Tibetan Mandala Printing Block

    Himalayan region, probably Tibet
    19th century

    length: 22.4cm, width: 20.4cm, depth: 3.4cm, weight: 873g



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This wooden printing block has been carved elaborately with the Om Mane Padme Hum mantra in circular mandala form.  The field beyond the circle is carved with flame-like scrolls which seems to suggest a fiery realm but with a Buddhistic symbol in each corner.

    Such woodblocks were used to make prints usually on light cotton fabric or thin hand-made paper which was then folded into a tight bundle and then wrapped with coloured string. The bundle then served as a protective amulet that was worn and which protected the wearer against sickness and other difficulties. Some might have been stored and worn inside a ga’u box as well.

    See Brauen (2009, p. 32) for a similar example in the Rubin Museum.

    The example here is in fine, obviously old condition and has a marvellous dark patina.


    Brauen, M., et al., Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, Arnoldsche/Rubin Museum of Art, 2009.

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