This is a unique time in the history of Tibetan furniture, and this is the only comprehensive book on the subject. Tibetans value their painted furniture highly, but their reverence antiquities for their own sake is not particularly strong. The result is that antique Tibetan furniture is more highly valued outside of Tibet than it is within, and it is becoming increasing popular among Western collectors. Contacts with peoples all over Asia can be traced in the designs found on Tibetan furniture, recording a rich history of cultural and trading exchange. In recent centuries the dominant artistic and cultural force has been China and the influence of Chinese decorative arts is a constant theme running through Tibetan painted decoration from the 16th century onwards. Despite this influence Tibetan artisans rarely copied designs precisely; rather they adapted and modified the motifs and the decorative styles they saw to suit their own ends and to reflect their Tantric Buddhist outlook, so that Tibetan furniture cannot be mistaken or confused with work from other cultures. The first several chapters of this book explain the forms and uses of Tibetan furniture, the construction and decoration of the main types, and the history of many designs. Examples illustrate the range of types of furniture in Tibet and the range of decoration, both painted and carved. The last, largest chapter presents examples with descriptions that expand on themes developed earlier. In most cases aesthetic considerations have been the primary criterion for inclusion, but the book is more than a catalogue of attractive pieces. Attentive readers will learn to: identify the main types of Tibetan furniture; appreciate their origin and their uses; identify and understand the most common designs; judge the quality of pieces; and derive increased pleasure from Tibetan furniture they have bought.
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animals Asia bodhisattvas border Buddha Buddhist butter lamps Cabinets Painted carved central Tibet chapel characteristic Chests Painted wooden China Chinese textiles cm 18th century colors construction depicted Dharma wheel doors dragon designs eastern Tibet eighteenth century example fabric facing feature fierce deities floral folding table frame front gakyil Gelug gesso gold leaf gonkhang Gyantse Indian ironwork Jambhala leather chests Lhasa lotus low tables Mahakala medallion Ming dynasty monasteries monastic monks motifs murals nomads offering cabinets Painted wooden chest pair panels pattern pegam prayer wheel Precious Objects probably protector deities regions religious scrolls seen Selected Pieces seventeenth Shalu monastery shapes shrine cabinet sides silk skullcap bowl skulls sloping-sided snow lion sometimes straps symbol Tantric Buddhism teenth century thangka Themes and Decoration Tibetan art Tibetan artists Tibetan Buddhism Tibetan chests Tibetan furniture Tibetan temples types of furniture Vaishravana wrathful zeeba