NEWS: 23 06 2023
You may not know what a thangka or tsakli is, but youve certainly heard of mandalas. All these spiritual and artistic objects are connected by Tibetan Buddhism and you can see them now in the Gallery of the Archdiocesan Museum Olomouc, where the exhibition Mandalas in the Wind | Tibetan Buddhist Art from the collection of National Museum – Náprstek museum has started.
By the way - a thangka is a hanging painting that was made for temples, monasteries and home altars. Tsakli, on the other hand, are small votive pictures, a few centimetres in size, which were put in boxes and carried by believers. However, the exhibition will also include metal sculptures or clay offerings.
"In the first room of the gallery, there is a Buddha and a teacher - visitors are introduced to their artistic form. Next, we show the protectors of the faith, sometimes called menacing deities, who are meant to scare away enemies of the faith but not to frighten believers. It is the bodhisattvas who are the worthy deities who help in the journey of liberation in the cycle of life. In the third room there will be sets of offerings and we have placed sculptures depicting tantric couples - a deity with his female counterpart. The last room belongs to paintings and sculptures - depictions of the white and green Tara, which is a female deity, personal, meditative, peaceful and merciful. Very remotely, her role could be compared to the Virgin Mary in Christianity," says Helena Heroldová, the curator of the National Museum.
Of course, the aforementioned mandalas, which also appear in the title of the exhibition, cannot be missing. "Mandala is a term that is often misunderstood. It is any circular shape. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is actually the plan of the palace in which the deity resides. Its a circle, and within it is a square and a host of other abstract patterns. Its kind of like looking at a map or a plan from above, with the deity in the middle," Herold points out, adding that when awareness of this kind of art spread in the 19th century, uninformed viewers often attributed different meanings to mandalas with complex ornaments.