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Late 18th – Early 19th Century
Size: 38.5cm long, 4.5cm dia. (max) 15¼ ins long, 1¾ ins dia. (max)
Ex Private Southern French collection
Some of the most famous public ritual performances of old Tibet follow the basic altar layout, with an icon set above as a dwelling place for spiritual presences, images and offerings on the altar that are all invoked by mantra's to acknowledge and receive offerings and participate in the ritual, so creating a kind of theatre of spiritual principles on the altar table. The seasonal ‘expulsion of demons’ dance mirrors this at which masked monks perform in a public courtyard before a huge and complex painted icon unrolled and hung several storeys high for the occasion. The dancers in the courtyard are thought to correspond with the small sculptures in wafer-form on the altar.