New exhibition unveils the mysterious veil of Tibet and reveals its secrets

The mysterious veil of Tibet has been unfolded among dozens of fascinating and priceless artefacts in a new exhibition at West Lake Gallery.

The mysterious veil of Tibet has been unfolded among dozens of fascinating artefacts in a new exhibition at West Lake Gallery. 

Around 117 pieces of ancient antiquities gathered from the palaces and museums in Tibet will reveal the intriguing history and culture of a mystical time in the past.

Throughout the last millennia Tibet has integrated Chinese culture with its counterparts from neighboring Nepal and India, forming a unique bond that is centered around Buddhism and Caesaropapism.

Tibetan culture and its snow-covered plateau landscape have allured thousands of tourists every year. And the West Lake Gallery exhibit will bring you close to that and explore Tibet’s azure sky and magnificent peaks, as the display presents the very essence of the land.

The exhibition is divided into three segments: the link between Tibet and central government throughout dynasties, Tibetan Buddhism culture and ceremonious vessels in Buddhist etiquettes.

A gold-gilded Buddha figurine

From the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Tibet was officially been placed under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, who created the Phags-pa script that was used as a unified script for the written languages within the dynasty, was entitled as first Imperial Preceptor of the Yuan Dynasty. 

One of the exhibition’s highlights shows a jade seal engraved with a Phags-pa script and decorated with two twisted dragon motifs, which was awarded to a Tibetan Buddhism leader at the time.

Tibetan Buddhism incorporated features from the local Bon religion, Chinese, Indian and Nepalese Buddhism, and then developed its own aesthetics and styles. The elaborated Thangka, sophisticated pagodas, beautiful designed Buddhist scriptures, and exquisite fresco all epitomize their rich culture and ancestors’ wisdom.

The displayed Buddhist scripture was written in Sanskrit. Every page is painted with pagodas and Buddha. Ancient India did not have paper so people wrote scriptures on a variety of leaves. Today, Tibet still conserves more than 60,000 leaves of scriptures that were made during the 8th and 14th centuries.

Ceramic items, metal vessels and musical instruments were all used in rituals, celebrations and worshipping. They played a vital role in these ceremonial sites and added a mysterious ambience to Tibetan Buddhism.

One featured bowl, made from a monk’s skull, was used in these rituals. The tradition originated from the local Bon Religion’s sky burial ceremony. The bowl body is carved with sun and moon patterns and scripts, while the handle is ornamented with lotus motifs. A gold-gilded coppery lid and bottom match it, forming a set of ritual vessels in Buddhist ceremony.

Date: Through April 15

Address: 25 Gushan Rd

Admission: 30 yuan (US$4.74)

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