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  Gyantse and Its Monasteries Part 2
By: Tucci




 
Our Price: $29.95
Members Price: $26.96
Author: Giuseppe Tucci
Format: Hardcover

Product Code: 12339
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This volume is a major breakthrough for the history of the Sa-skya period of Tibet, the art treasures of the Gyantse region, and the evolution of a distinctive Tibetan style from the multiple strands of Indian iconographic elements, Chinese tendencies in larger compositions and the Khotanese manner in statuary.


So far it had been held that Buddhism went to Tibet through Nepal and Kashmir, but this volume points out for the first time how it also traversed the Sikkim-Gyantse way. It details the historical monasteries on the road to and in the city of Gyantse, which are of unique value for the development of the Tibetan visual arts. The small temple of Bsam-grub Iha-khan near Phari has frescoes of the XV century and a statue of Avalokitesvara and two book covers of possible Indian origin. This book treats of the extraordinary flourishing of art due to the enlightened patronage of the Sa-skya-pas during the long tenure of their power. The princes of Zhalu and Gyantse followed their example. Chinese influences came to be felt during the hegemony of the Sa-skyas who maintained cultural and political relations with China for two centuries.


The volume reviews the disappearance of ancient historical records because of the suppression of all rivals by the emerging Gelukpa sect. The Myan-chun Chronicles and the Eulogy of Nenying monastery, which have escaped, are unique sources for the history of the artistic heritage of the region. Along with them, historical geography, the chronologies of the Sa-skya abbots and of the princes of Zhalu and of Gyantse, and their relations with the Mongol court are discussed.


The monastery of Kyangphu at Samada was founded in the XI century, but was restored in the XIV under the Sa-skyas. It has statues and stupas of Indian origin. Its surviving murals betray Central Asian style. Several Mandalas of Vairocana from different tantras are dealt with.

The Gyani monastery in the Salu village has capitals of the XIV century. The monastery at Iwang was constructed before the arrival of Sakyasri the Great Pandit of Kashmir in the XIII century. An inscription on its mural says that it was painted in Indian style. Another inscription points out that Amitayus was done in the Khotanese way. The ancient monasteries of Shonang and Nenying have been restored and repainted, though at Nenying splendid fragments of the best epoch of Indo-Nepalese art survive.

The superb monastery of Gyantse is described in all scientific details for the first time in this book. The most outstanding monument of the region is the Kumbum of Gyantse, also known as Dpal-hkhor chos-sde, important both for its architecture and for its paintings. It is a gigantic complex of several mandalas, a veritable summa of tantric revelations. The inscriptions name its painters and sculptors: unique in the history of Tibetan art. They give summary descriptions of the frescoes which serve as remarkable iconographic guides. The paintings can be dated to a well-determined period, namely the XV century, when an independent idiom of Tibetan art developed.


Part I details the iconography of the Kumbum which is an architectonic Mandala, where progressive ascending from one floor to the other corresponds to an ascension from a lesser order of tantras to ever higher ones. The 73 major temples and minor chapels on its four floors and dome are described at length. An astounding number of 27,529 deities are represented in the Kumbum. This book is a mine of information and perceptions of the great master Giuseppe Tucci, and invites further researches on the vast tantric iconography and its symbolism detailed herein. Part II gives the text and translation of the inscriptions in the temples and chapels of the various monasteries. Part III is devoted to the mural paintings in them.



Gyantse and Its Monasteries Part 2, Giuseppe Tucci, Aditya, Hardcover, 250 pp., $29.95

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