Baronet 4 Tibet
Tibetan Buddhist
Art furniture & Antiques from the monasteries of the Ser Shong (Golden Valley)

Tibetan Buddhist Water Offering Cabinet B009-08

Tibetan furniture buddhist altar hand painted tibetan furniture buddhist altar hand-painted
front view right side

Beautiful art work on this water offering cabinet, the door has very intricate kyungbur with the 6-syllable mantra written in the Holy Text at the top and bottom of the door (please see iconography below). The top center gallery has a Dharma Wheel that has the Mahamudra mists po9oring out of the back of it extending to the side gallery. This is a specifically  designed cabinet  for the water offering; however as with all Tibetan furniture it has multiple usages.  Atisha sanctioned the water offering for Tibet only when he visited there as he found that the water was so pure. These cabinets have been mistakenly identified as reading desks due to a photograph taken by Guicci that shows monks reading at them. When I asked the High Lama at the Lower Sange Monastery about this he laughed and stated how uncomfortable it would be to read at a desk like this (which was my though also).   It has a single door, and the hinges are wood-dowels in the top and bottom edges that fit into a hole bored into the underside of the horizontal frame, with a tapered slot in the bottom frame-opening.   The original leather door-pull is missing, so there is a replacement leather-pull not shown in this picture.  This cabinet is made from Asian cedar and is painted on the front and the inside portions of the offering gallery using the raised gesso or kyungbur  technique. The earliest known use of this technique is at the Wutun Monastery (we have carbon dated a piece to 1510 AD which is 200 years prior to the previous oldest piece) and the monastery is most probably the point of origin of this technique. The sides,  top and back are a natural oil finish. Comes with a Certificate Of Authenticity.

AGE: 1870-1890    
 Dimensions:   Height to horizontal offering top=24.5"  Height to top of gallery 30.75"W=29.25" D=15.75"  Door H= 19"  W= 15"


Price $2,195.00,  plus shipping and handling West Coast $170, Mtn. States $179, Mid West $188, Atlantic coast $195  Canadian destinations contact us  for a quote. 


The red and 24kt gold zigzag kyungbur adorning the frame is the transition of passion into compassion and the resultant Buddha like purity of actions and thoughts.  This compassion is an active quality rather than mere sympathetic feelings not transformed into action. Compassion refers to action that is exactly consonant with whatever is occurring and that is not self-referential.

The top gallery has a Dharma Wheel that has Mahamudra mists exhausting out the back and surrounding the top. In three parts, the Dharma wheel exists as a hub, the center of the world.  The 8 spokes denote the 8 paths to enlightenment. These 8 steps work together, not separately.  1. right understanding . 2. right attitude  3. right speech  4. right action  5. right work    6. right effort  7. right mindfulness  8. right meditation  The rim represents the attribute of limitation.  All are contained within a circle, which is perceived to be perfect and complete, like the teachings of the Buddha. The billowing clouds or mist are Mahamudra: the union of compassion and wisdom -- the ultimate realization of one’s true nature.  They are represented as the transformation of our vices into the 4 powers of regret, vow, reliance, and remedy, so the practitioner will realize purification and enlightenment.  This is also the basic meaning of the "Heart Sutra."

The front door is loaded, in the center motif there is a beautiful Dharma Wheel standing upon an Ashoka Blossom. Flanking the Ashoka are Camp flowers. Under the Ashoka is multi-colored Durva Grass, under this are flaming Cintamani, flanked by elephant tusks and gold coral. To the side of the offerings are multi-colored mountains with rainbows inbetween. The bottom cormers of the central door are two beautiful Ashoka Blossoms. The Ashoka Blossom is the second of the  trinity of holy flowers, sprouts from the holy water-font of the Amitayus, one of the forms in which the Buddha Amitabha appeared (symbolizing the transformation from greed to discriminating wisdom).  The sprout materialized from a tear that Buddha Amitabha shed when hearing of the deeds of the great warrior Ashoka that overcame all of his enemies to win freedom for his oppressed people. Cintamani are wish-granting jewels and additionally represent wisdom.  When depicted in sets of 3, they represent the body, speech and mind of Buddha such as the practitioner may possess.  Cintamani are also referred to as the “Thinking Jewel” and symbolize the importance of teaching and as well as the enlightened mind. Pictured here are 6 flaming jewels.   Elephant tusks, when depicted, are symbolic of the whole elephant and almost always refer to Chakravartin's Precious Elephant. Chakravartin, or Wheel Turner, the term in Hinduism refers to an ideal ruler, but in Buddhism, Chakravartin has come to mean a Buddha whose all-encompassing teachings are universally true.  Chakravartin has an army of 4 divisions, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots. Chakravartin is the lineage of 25 Kulika kings or enlightened monarchs, the 25th of which will finally defeat the "non-believers." The Precious Elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the precious elephant serves as a symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha, which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis. The red coral is used as a jewel for ornamentation, decorating jewelry.  As Mala bead, it depicts a symbolic offering and also a wish for acquisition. It is a precious offering of great value. In this case we have gold coral, which is a symbolic offering of the highest value.

The border of the door is done in a layered look, the side layers, like mats are red, white and blue Chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn & the gathering of the harvest. In this case, it is a metaphor for achieving the goal of enlightenment & its accompanying peace. The blue represents compassion. Red is the transmutation of passion into compassion. The white tips denote purity.  The top mats of this layer are the 6-syllable Mantra of Avalokiteshvara, OM MANI PADME HUM; which is sometimes explained as ”The jewel in the heart of the Lotus.” The first OM refers to Buddha’s body, speech & mind, as in possessing this oneself; the MA of MANI is a jewel or treasure, (wisdom/thinking). The NI of the MANI is the altruistic mind. PADMI is the lotus flower, the nature of reality of Buddha’s wisdom. HUM is the determination and resolution to acquire and retain these qualities.

The panels flanking the doors have a very ornate 4-petaled flower in a mandala representation. The 4-petaled flower is symbolic of the 4 Noble truths, the middle way and the first teaching of Buddha. 1. Life is suffering. 2. Ignorance is the cause of suffering.  3. The cessation of suffering is the goal of life because it transcends pains and pleasure.  4. The way to the cessation of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which aligns with the eight spokes of the Dharma Wheel.