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

    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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