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Masks

Hand made Traditional wooden Masks.

Mexican Inspired Tribal Masks

Mexican Skull Masks
Our master carver Furba Lama and his lovely family designed a new collection of colorful and unique masks inspired to the Mexican Skulls Masks tradition.

Traditional Mexican Skull masks have their origins in the pre Hispanic period.
The depiction of death in pre Hispanic Mexico was not fearful but rather part of life.
Skull masks represent death still, and can be basic white or with fanciful decorations. Some are serious and others are laughing.

As in here in Nepal and other shamanic cultures in many countries in the world, some masked characters represent abstract concepts such as time and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Check Master Furba Lama new collection of skulls masks inspired by the Mexican cult of the Dead.

The Fascinating History of Himalayan Masks

Traditional Cham Dance

The Origin of Himalayan Masks Cult

Nepalese and Tibetan Masks are one of the symbols that better represent the culture and traditions of people living in the Himalayan region.
The ritual of wearing masks is very old and it comes from animists Himalayan tribes used to worship spirits of nature and guardians of these majestic mountains.Himalayan Masks

The Shamans of these tribes used to wear masks during rituals they use to perform in order to protect the village, heal diseases, practice exorcisms or other purposes.
Masks supposedly had a very important functions in the social life of these community as they were used also during theatrical representations and ceremonies dedicated to ancestors.

Hindu and Buddhist cultures, that became dominant in the surrounding regions, slowly replaced the myths of this shamanic cult.
However some of the old costumes survived.
Even spirits and demons were adopted by the Buddhist tradition and some of them became wrathful protectors of the Buddhist doctrine.

Padmasambhava and the Rise of Buddhism

Guru Rimpoche Thangka

Buddhism entered Tibet in the 7th century AD. According to Buddhist mythology the main actor of the transformation of Tibet was Padmasambhava. A famous Tantric Buddhist master from the Swat Valley (today Pakistan) and founder of the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery at Samye, south central Tibet.

Padmasambhava was called by the first Emperor of Tibet to defeat the ancient mountain gods of the old animist cult.
In accordance with the Tantric principle of redirecting negative forces toward spiritual awakening, Padmasambhava converted the wrathful deities, convincing them to become defenders of the new faith.

He is also said to have introduced at Samye Temple the so called Vajra Dance. A dance that takes place in a monastery where masked monks in deep meditation perform rituals that last for three days.
This practice continues today under the name “Cham” and it celebrate Padmasambhava’s conquest over the indigenous cult and their deities.
In Nepal this dance tradition takes a form known as Mani Rimdu: spectacular and colorful masked dances performed during different religious festival.

Iconography of Tibetan Masks

Bhairava Nepalese Mask

Considering the polytheist nature of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions the deities represented by Tibetan masks are numerous: Shiva, Bhairava, Ganesh, Mahakala, Garuda and Varahi are the most famous.
Some of the deities are depicted using animals like the Lion associated with Sima or the Tiger symbolizing Duma.
However the images must follow the rules and prescriptions described in old manuals and iconographic books.Himalayan Mask
There are several books that set those guidelines, one of the earliest is from the first half of the 15th century. All the masks display a common element: the open third eye mark on the forehead.
The style of Tibetan and Nepalese Masks is characterized by elaborate pointed crowns with skulls, various head-bands, earrings and many other colorful elements.
These decorations not only reflect religious and symbolic aspects but also add a powerful imagery and a peculiar and fascinating look.

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Special Offer: How About A Gift Of Art This Christmas?

gift cardArtworks are a unique, inspiring gift for Christmas and we believe our collection is a perfect fit also for Buddhists and Hindu willing to celebrate this grateful event.

Choose your favorite Mask, Mandala or Thangka painting and contact us writing “gift” on your message to receive a special discount.

Love and Blessing

Sunapati Thangka School and Shop
traditionalartofnepal.com

To reach the Christmas tree on time we recommend to order your artwork for overseas delivery no later than 10th December 2014.

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Shoton Festival 2013. Thangka art and Tibetan Masks exhibition in Lhasa

The Shoton Festival is held each summer in Lhasa and it is considered to be the largest Tibetan festival.  Also known as the Yogurt Banquet festival it dates back to the 11th century and was originally a religious occasion, when local people would offer yogurt to monks who had finished their meditation retreats.
It is a very appealing event not only for Tibetans and Buddhists coming from different countries, but also for many travelers willing to discover this striking event on the roof of the world.

Shoton Festival Lhasa 2013

People attending the Shoton Festival 2013. Lhasa.

The festival mainly consists in exhibitions showing the art, tradition and the appealing culture of the Tibetan people. Very famous events are the Tibetan Opera Show and the Horsemanship and Yak Race Show. However the main event that open the festival is the display of the giant thangka showing the Great Buddha.
During the ritual more than 100 monks unveil an old 1,480 square-meter portrait of Sakyamuni knitted with colorful silk.

Great Buddha thangka Shoton Festival 2013

Great Buddha thangka at Shoton Festival 2013

During the festival (this year from the 6th to the 12th of August) there are celebrations in the streets, squares and monasteries of Lhasa.
As part of this year’s festival, a grand exhibition of traditional Thangkas and  Tibetan masks is staged at Norbu Lingka, the former summer palace of the Dalai Lamas.

 

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Our Art School is hosting several young students coming from remote villages of Nepal and talented artists affected by the devastating earthquake in 2015.

We also contribute to the restoration of our village and other humanitarian projects by supporting our local NGO. If you want to volunteer in Changunarayan please contact Kay Garnay for Nepal.