VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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A collection of thangka icons (63 numbers in total)
VK4851-67,70,72,86,92
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

As individual pieces, these thangkas have no great value, but as a diversified collection, they form a unique set of Tibetan Buddhist religious art. The following groups and figures are represented: Šākyamuni on the lotus throne, Šākyamuni's former lives (15 nos., an unidentified avadāna illustration), the Light-Ray Buddha (illustr.), the 16 arhats and their two lay attendants (18 nos.), the four lokapālas (5 nos.), the Indian mahāgurus (8 nos., the philosopher Nāgārjuna illustrated), the Great Assembly (2 nos.), two mandalas (2 nos.), the protectors (10 nos., dharmapāla Yama illustrated) and Sarvabuddhadākinī (illustr.).

History of the Object
The thangkas are painted by Chinese artists in workshops at the Wutai Shan Mountain and transported to Urga (Mongolia) to be sold there. They were new and unmounted at the time of aacquisition, so the colours were - and still are - bright and undamaged. The set represents a peculiar Sino-Mongolian style of Tibetan Buddhist painting.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Cotton, painted 
Measurements
Height 59-63 cm Length 43-44 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China; Shanxi; Wutai Shan 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
Before 1909 
Function
In Tibetan Buddhism, Thangka icons are used as means of meditation. 
Acquisition
Acquired in Urga (present-day Ulaanbaatar) in Mongolia from the so-called Beijing Shop (Beejing badarkhu) by Finnish linguist G. J. Ramstedt and archaeologist Sakari Pälsi during their expedition to Mongolia in 1909. The Beijing Shop was an agency representing the Wutai Shan monasteries in Urga. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
Text by Pilvi Vainonen Photos by Osmo Thiel, 1980 Literature: Halén, Harry: Mirrors of the Void. Buddhist Art in the National Museum of Finland. National Board of Antiquities 1987. 
Owner
State property, National Board of Antiquities, Finland 
Museum
Museum of Cultures, National Museum of Finland 
Credit line
 

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