Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tibetan Literary Arts

     Marit Cranmer from New England curated an exhibition at Smith College, Mass., on Tibetan Literary Arts in 2007. A record of the exhibition is here.
     Marit has kindly donated a copy of the exhibition catalogue, with short articles by Namkhai Norbu, Per Kvaerne, Tulku Thondup, Thupten Jinpa, Per Sørensen, Jacqueline Gens, Steven D. Goodman.
(left-click once to enlarge)
     With many thanks to Marit Cranmer.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Carved Tibetan book covers

       A wee while ago, Bodleian received a sutra text cover as a gift from Mr. Colin & Mrs. Charlotte Franklin, for which many thanks to them.
       The 'cover' for the text was a pair of boards, top and bottom. The top board, presented to Bodleian, is decorated with woodcarving:

Text cover woodcarving donated by Colin and Charlotte Franklin.

       The central detail of the carved panel is the seated figure of a Buddha in meditation mudra, cum halo...

(left-click once to enlarge the photo)
          To either side  is what seemed at first to me to be a peacock, but since receiving the points made separately by Dan Martin and Amy Heller - see below in the 'comments' section - I accept that it is most probably a haṃsa goose.

       In earlier times, I was a professional woodcarver, working in European styles of carving (including work done in House of Lords, St Paul's, Westminster Abbey, Oberammergau, etc). However, I have no expertise in this style of carving, so any observations by readers of this posting would be welcome in the comments feature below.

       Meanwhile, this gift put me in mind of other wooden text covers which Bodleian has, and which seemed to have been almost forgotten in the depths of what used to be J floor in New Bodleian. Most of the covers are more or less plain wooden panels, but two of greater interest are shown below, one of which also has extensive woodcarving on it:

Bodleian Tibetan book covers
left side detail of topmost cover above

centre detail
right side detail
           I would welcome any expert observations or suggestions re the artistic style and possible dating of the boards, in the comments feature just below this.

           And thanks again to Colin & Charlotte Franklin for the gift.


update Summer 2014 -
2 further donations of sutra covers from Colin & Charlotte Franklin:

with thanks to the donors.