Independent Study ProjectTitle: An aesthetic journey into the Tibetan Buddhist Meditational Art of BuryatiaBy Carmen Cochior - Plescanu BA Religious Studies and Tibetan Department of Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia, 221618 Word count: 10.000Under the Direction of Dr. Nathan W. HillTable of contentsAbstract I. Introduction1.1 Buryatia - the birth of an ethnos , the atmosphere of the art of the steppeII. The introduction of Tibetan Buddhist art to Buryatia2.1 Buryatia
Independent Study Project
Title: An aesthetic journey into the Tibetan Buddhist Meditational Art of Buryatia
By Carmen Cochior - Plescanu BA Religious Studies and Tibetan Department of Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia, 221618 Word count: 10.000
Under the Direction of Dr. Nathan W. Hill
Table of contents
Abstract I. Introduction1.1 Buryatia - the birth of an ethnos , the atmosphere of the art of the steppe
II. The introduction of Tibetan Buddhist art to Buryatia2.1 Buryatia - the vision of Buddhist Art
2.2Account of schools and stylistic interpretation III. The accomplishment of Tibetan aesthetic grammar in the Buryat cultural milieu 1718th centuries IV. Decomposition and regeneration of Buddhist Art and its revival throughout the 19th century 4.1 The survival of Buddhist Art during the Russian Protectorate V. The Great Revival - the reaffirmation of Buddhist aesthetics in Buryatia 19th to 20 th century VI. Afterword and acknowledgements 6.1 Tibetan-styled thangkas, tsakli, illuminations and dedications from the Matvei Nikolaevich Khangalov History Museum of Buryatia List of Figures i iiiii
iv vvi vii viii
The Tree of Diagnosis, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of Buryatia Kalakuta or Halahaha, poison incarnate, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of Buryatia The Palace of the Healing Buddha, detail, Museum of Buryatia. The Tree of Diagnosis, detail, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of Buryatia Ritual Preparation of Rejuvenation Elixirs, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, of Buryatia A set of four tsakli depicting Garuda, Gubilha, Kurukulla and Vajravarahi, Buryatia, 19th century Guandi - Geser, Painting on cotton, Buryatia, late 18th century Lhamo - Painting on cotton 18-19th century Vaishravana also known as Vaishravana and the Eight Horsemen Painting on cotton, Buryatia, 18th century kyamuni Buddha - Painting on cotton, late 18th - early 19th century
The influence of Tibetan Buddhist aesthetics upon the Buryat artistry consists of an extraordinary array of remarkable sculptures in stone, wood and terracotta, cast bronzes with inlaid stones, gilding and pigment and the beautifully detailed religious, ritualistic paintings - maalas (Tibetan: ; Wylie: dkyil 'khor) and images of gods and goddesses, bodhisattvas, spiritual masters, lamas and other prominent spiritual figures, cosmograms along with representations of various eschatological myths. The organization of the aesthetic adventure into the Tibetan artistic influence in Buryatia is envisioned, at the risk of being simplistic, following the exhibition narrative: the material has been divided in two broad historical and cultural zones with emphasis on the distinct aesthetic cohesiveness, whereas Tibetan influence should be of particular interest. Our knowledge of historicity of Buryat Buddhism is primarily based on very few comprehensive books and articles that provide data for the monastic chronology and for the special artistic motifs which distinguish within the tradition. The growing recognition of the importance of Tibetan patronage in Buryatia is shown in Buyandalai Doorambas chorography bearing the title Buriyad yajar-un burqan-u
sasin ker delgeregsen kiged sasin bariyici kedun blam-a-nar-un cadig tobci tedui ogulegsen selte orosiba,1 (Lubos Belka, 2008) which is a valuable source of basic knowledge on Buryat Buddhism including detailed explanations on the context Tibetan monastic art has taken shape in Buryatia. Noteworthy is the aspect of tentative ideas dealing with the chorography of the artistic movements, in the lack of any official empirical case studies in situ or veritable inventory of Tibetan Buddhism in Buryatia.1
Translated as How the Teaching of Buddha spread in the Buryat land, together with a brief account of some of the lamas who upheld the teaching; the Romanized text in written Mongolian was published by Professor Rincen in 1959, Origin and Spread of Buddhism in Buryatia - A text of Buyandalai Dooramba, Zsuzsa Majer and Krisztina Teleki, Eotvos Lorand University, Department of Inner Asian Studies, Published in Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum, Hung. Volume 61 (4), p. 447-497, 2008 3
Since the history of Buryat Buddhism has been given insufficient attention specifically and paradoxically equally by the representatives of the Western and Buryat Buddhological schools2, the disparate resources will however attempt an unprejudiced reconstruction of the diachronic evolve of Buddhist art within the Buryat mosaic of cultures. In emphasizing the distinctive features and styles of the works created most likely to fulfil the spiritual requirements of the Buddhist religion with an unerring sense of beauty, there will be presented an assemblage of few emblematic masterpieces, namely from Ukhtomskys collection at State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg, Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum, Choijin Lama Temple Museum, Buryat Historical Museum, Bogd Khaan Palace Museum in Ulaanbaatar. The purpose of their visual exploration accompanied by their dedicatory inscriptions is to enhance and bring more insight into the contextual and spiritual significance of Tibetan art within the great monastic establishments of the Buryat culture. While the subject matter of the Buryat Buddhist artwork is primarily represented by the classical personalities of the Buddhist pantheon, the essay will additionally provide commentaries which
correspond with the ability of the Buryat artist to manipulate those features that are unique to the nature of the particular Tibetan Buddhist medium and to integrate them in the ethnic-cultural patterns.
The most significant papers of the Buryat Buddhological school are: K.M. Gerasimova, Lamaism natsional no-kolonial naia politika tsarizma v Zabaikal e v XIX i nachale XX vekov (Ulan-Ude, 1957); idem Obnovlencheskoe dvizhenie buriatskogo lamaistskogo dukhovenstva (1917-1930) (Ulan Ude, 1964); Lamaizm v Buriatii XVIII- nachala XX vv. Struktura I sotsial naia rol kul tovoi sistemy (Novosibirsk, 1983); L.L. Abaeva, Kult gor i buddizm v Buriatii (evoliutsiia verovanii i kultov selenginskikh buriat, Moscow, 1992); Buddizm i traditsionnye verovaniia narodov Tsentral noi Azii (Novosibirsk, 1981); Buddizm i srednevekovaia kul tura narodov Tsentral noi Azii (Novosibirsk, 1980), Buddhism I kulturno-psikhologicheskie traditsii narodov Vostoka (Novosibirsk, 1990); Buddizm i literaturno-khudozhestvennoe tvorchestvo narodov Tsentral noi Azii (Novosibirsk, 1985), Psikhologicheskie aspekty buddizma (Novosibirska, 1991), Filosofskie voprosy buddizma (Novosibirsk, 1984), N.L. Zhukovskaia, The Revival of Buddhism in Buryatia, English translation from the Russian text by M.E. Sharpe, Anthropology and Archaeology of Eurasia, vol. 39, no.4, Spring 2000-01, p. 24 4
Four thousand years ago a remarkable culture, that of the pastoral nomads, emerged in the Eurasian steppes north of the Great Wall of China, in the vast expanse of grasslands that stretches from Siberia into Central Europe. By the first millennium B.C., material prosperity among the nomads had brought about a flowering of creativity and the evolution of a new artistic vocabulary. The pastoral peoples left no written record but the legacy of their art that remained extant provide a key to understanding their culture and beliefs. Beautifully crafted, highly sophisticated and abstract in design, primarily embellished with animal motifs, these objects are the visual representation of the natural and supernatural worlds that guided their lives. The figures that populate the extant artefacts epitomize the animal style that would remain a significant source of inspiration in the decorative arts of the Eurasian continent for years to come. This overview chronicles the legacy of the Buryat primitive art, traditionally relegated to the periphery of art history, in order to prepare the aesthetic interaction between the Eastern part of Eurasian steppes, Buryatia and Tibetan civilization.
1.1. Buryatia - the birth of an ethnos, the atmosphere of the art of the steppe
For the ancient Buryats, the birth of life and art has its origin in the natural and life cycles, considered to be the matrix of conceptualization. Buryat people believe that human being is connected with mother-nature by their navel and worshipping its five elements, the softness of wood, the earths expanse, irons strength, fires heat and5
waters purity was the supreme reflection of the knot of vitality in which life, birth and death are considered to be a natural phenomenon. According to ethnographic studies on the Buryat culture3, the soul4 before taking refuge in the mothers womb, resides in trees, in animals, therefore becoming totems, in stars, in the Sun and the Moon, respected as life-givers.5 The tree revered and worshiped as the souldepositary in the Buryat tradition, is the obligatory element in the material and aesthetic setting of the life-cycle rituals, the wedding ceremonies, funeral rites and most importantly accompanies the conception and birth, acting as a medium for the embryonic life-force to arise.6 The Buryats sacred gnosis pertains to so such a distant historical reference that we must probably interpret these archaic traditional culture claims as example of the mythological thinking. A human of mythological
consciousness, asserts V. V. Fetiskin, doesnt strive for objective knowledge, but his main tendency is the subjectivism which gives rise to anthropomorphism, according to which everything in the world is assimilated to him, is considered in his own image and likeness.7 Therefore, within the Buryat primitive conceptualization of life-forces, humans psychophysical forces are envisioned as the propensity of the natural forces. The idea of the natures sacral substance that nourishes the human beings (Mong.
S. Zhimbeeva, The concept of vitality and its interrelations with nature in Buryat traditional culture, . , . , Russian Federation, 2008, translation in English provided by the author, p.4-6 4 Noteworthy is the ontological concept of the soul among Mongolian peoples. What is customarily translated as soul by the Western scholars, in both Mongolian and Buryat languages sulde represents the protective spirit embodied in the standard which has been worshipped since immemorial times. The assimilation of the concept of sulde(r) (indwelling spirit; in Written Mongolian and in the modern Mongolian languages and dialects, the form of the word is without final r) to that of the individual 'soul' (Mong. siir, siinesun, siir siinesun) is a much later development, see Igor de Rachewiltz ,The secret history of the Mongols: a Mongolian epic chronicle of the thirteenth century, Volume 1, Brill, 2004, p.330 5 S. Zhimbeeva, The concept of vitality and its interrelations with nature in Buryat traditional culture, . , . , Russian Federation, 2008, translation in English provided by the author, p.8 6 Gerasimova K. M. Concept of human vitality in Tibetan texts on medical magic, Culture of Central Asia: written sources. Issue 2. Ulan-Ude 1998, p. 11 7 S. Zhimbeeva, The concept of vitality and its interrelations with nature in Buryat traditional culture, . , . , Russian Federation, 2008, translation in English provided by the author, p.9 6
sulde)8 is interestingly paralleled to the Tibetan embryology by Scrynnikova to Dandar Dashievs commentary on the Atlas of Indo-Tibetan Medicine. According to the author, the first organ to emerge within the embryo, the vital vessel (Tib. srog-rtsa), has its origin in the nature and particularly in the sacral substance of the solar nature.9 The mystical scenario in the paintings and carvings pertaining to Palaeolithic proto-Buryat time echoes the archetypal imagery of paramount importance in the quest of gaining a deep understanding of Buryat primitive culture. Named Bo Murgel or Bo shazan 10, the Buryat shamanic spiritual system was defined around its distinctive cults of Huhe Munhe Tengeri (Eternal Blue Sky) and Tengeriin (Sky Dwelling Gods), whose energy dimension was appeased, attracted, controlled and harmonized into the human disposition, through the male Bo or the female Utgan shamans. Essentially solitary, the primeval shaman developed empathy towards a highly abstract and symbolic imagination and towards sublimities which he communicated through powerful pictographic zoomorphic and anthropomorphic metaphors. Having attained those impressions of a mythical reality through a visionary entasis resembling to a numinous experience, the shaman artist becomes, paralleling the Hindu etymology, a manifestation of prakti, the primordial matter and the nature itself.11 The shaman attempted to do this by constructing the imago naturae, the archetypal image, in the most archaic form of aesthetic expressions, such as the totemic petrogliphyc art, the circular gold plated burial mounds (Mong. kurgany) or the standing stone idols (Mong. kameny baba). Skkrynniakova in her savant work On sacral and vital by Mongolian
In old Mongolian astrological books the term sulde sometimes is used to translate the Tibetan rlung-rta, usually interpreted as kei morin, wind horse. 9 Gerasimova K. M. Concept of human vitality in Tibetan texts on medical magic, Culture of Central Asia: written sources. Issue 2. Ulan-Ude 1998, p.7-8 10 There is no real semantic difference between murgel and shazhan and their use is similar to Tib. bon and Tib. Chos. Murgel remained closely tied with Bo religion while shazan is nowadays used to designate the Buryatian adaptation of Tibetan Buddhism, see Dmitry Ermakov, Bo and Bon, Ancient shamanic traditions of Siberia and Tibet in their relation to the teachings of a Central Asian Buddha, Vajra Publications, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2010, p.31 11 Michael Ripinsky-Naxon, The nature of shamanism: substance and function of religious metaphor, State University of New York Press, 1993 7
people12 emphasized that petroglyphs all over Buryatia are marked by an antenna on the vertex in the form of a pictogram which denotes the absolute life potency concealed in the subtle spiritual substance of the soul.13
Representations of nomadic art forms denominated as the Central Asia Animal Style reveal connotations to the elementary basis of the body and spirit as they stylistically narrate the interrelations of the inner and the outer, Cosmic and Mundane. The petroglyphic imagery of the sheep and bull speak of the birth, life and death within the Buryat culture. Putting their bones in the burial place was connected with the worshipping of the sacral substance and with the ritual of granting the future return of the soul: The sheeps bone, being a repository of the soul acts as a phallic symbol and expresses the relation with the solar light, while the bulls14
used during the ritual of activating the force of the fore-fathers, embodied in the banner.15 Among the many reliquaries of sacred architectonics, the geometrical shaped mounds remain impressive even today in their overgrown state due to their intricate motifs ubiquitous in the cosmological myths of most major settlements in Siberia. Each image and motif imprinted on the vertically erected plates as if meeting the rising sun and the sharp deer stones as if cutting the sky provide the viewer with a glimpse of the Buryat the two distinctive visions of the divine in a tangible form. The most preeminent zoomorphic imagery reflected in the Buryat primitive art is that which represents the shamans protective spirit, the deer. Ceremonies attending the tribal initiation of the shaman or the consecration of the shamans costume frequently involved the sacrifice of a deer, whose spirit would provide the shaman the vital sustenance during his visionary journeys into the land of the deceased. The12
Skrynnikova . D, Sacral and vital in Mongolian culture, The world of Buryat traditional culture, Ulan-Ude, 2006. P. 6411 13 Skrynnikova . D, 2006 14 The mythical ancestor of the Buryats is considered to be named Buh Baabai Noyon (Prince Father Bull) see Ermakov, 2010, p. 99 15 Gerasimova K. M., 1998, p. 12-20 8
interconnection of the deer and the tree is glimpsed frequently within shamanic imagery and representations that refer back to more archaic beliefs regarding the tree of life and its animal source.16 To use trees bracketed by deer, often in combination with representations of the sun and moon for ornamental stitching was a canonical requirement in the shamanic costume adornment.17 Perhaps the primitive shamans (Turco-Mong., Altaian kam, Bur. boo) were the oldest sovereigns of art in the true sense. During their initiation ceremonials, they employed the full repository of art by sacral play and yohor dance,18 the ritualic silk robe orgoi, toli metal pendants in form of discs embodying the same symbolism and function the Tibetan me long19, the intricately decorated iron crowns embellished with two iron antlers perceived as the roots of a mythical tree, the hese-drum and the ritual shanginuur-bell, the horse-
headed birch staff with whom the shaman used to journey into the underworld, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic amulets, the tug (Mong. lit. pillar) the ritual support for sulde20 or the khur (bowed two-string fiddle) and kuchir (bowed four-string fiddle, resembling the Chinese erhu) musical instruments employed for clairvoyance purposes and for summoning the spirits.21
Gerasimova K. M., 1998, p. 21 Buryatian shamanic costume, amitai (alive) or ezetei (having its own master spirit), see Dmitry Ermakov, p. 155 18 The yohor dance is also performed during shamanist rituals, as a means of raising spiritual energy to help carry the shaman to the heavens. Ancient Mongols used the yohor to celebrate the election of a new khan, see J. Lee Jacobson, Music and Dance Among the Aginsk Siberian Buryats, The World and I, 2009, p. 2 19 Toli were used as a support, container and disseminator of the light energy, as a symbol of mind and soul and represented the warrior-magicians life-force and protective energy. They are identical, then, in function to the melong mirrors of various non-human beings who serve as Protectors of Bon or Buddhism, see Dmitry Ermakov, Bo and Bon, Ancient shamanic traditions of Siberia and Tibet in their relation to the teachings of a Central Asian Buddha, Vajra Publications, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2010, p. 347 20 Here sulde refers to a Mongolian type prayer flag, which is an important ethnic marker alongside the rituals and songs of conjuration (dayudalya) of ecstatic invocations. See Walther Heissig, The religions of Mongolia, University of California Press, Translated from German by Geoffrey Samuel, 1980, p.46 21 Formozovs book A study of the petroglyphs, correlates shamanic rite of summoning of the soul with that similarly practiced in Tibet under the name of Lu-gon Jyabo dung-dri, or Expulsion of the Prince of Devils..see, N. N. Agapitov and M. N. Khangalov, Materials for the study of shamanism in Siberia: Buryat Shamanism in Irkutsk Guberniia, Izvestiia Vostochnosibirskago otdela Russkago geograficheskago obshchestva 14, no. 1-2, 1883, p.1-6, for translation see Andrei A. Znamenski, 2003 9
In many respects the most exquisite transformation of early Buryat art of a purely aesthetic kind, arouse within the framework of Hsiung-nu culture (Chinese: ; pinyin: Xingn) dated between the second and the first centuries B.C.22 The rapid transformation of the artistic scenes demonstrates that within the context of Hsiungnu tribal union in Central Asia, the Near Eastern artistic and mythological cultures were exposed to the unique ethnic, cultural and linguistic proto-Mongolian
environment. Some of the prototypical compositions of the new environment may have been retained, but the principal mythological and epic scenes and images became stylized and transformed by the Hsiung-nu art in conformity with their own aesthetic norms.23 The splendid bronze plates made in the Ordos style techniques still retain the ancient geometric patterns and animal heads ornamented with minerals such as chalcedony, jasper, agate, carnelian, as well as bones of animals rendered in the same manner as those on the buckles from Peter the Great collection. 24 A stylistic analysis of different objects of the later Hsiung-nu art collected from the Buryat sites,25 makes it possible to trace an evolutionary sequence that sees their aesthetic root in the originally Scythe-Siberian zoomorphic style stone carved representations,2622 23
Mouton, Central Asiatic Journal, Volume 39, 1995 Serghey Miniaev, The origins of the Geometric Style in Hsiung-nu art, Corrected by Barbara Hazard, Institute of the history of material culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, Russia, 1996, p. 5-12 24 It is probable that plates of this type were the prototypes for the manufacture of Hsiung-nu bronze plaques, but during the course of repeated copying and re-casting many original details have been lost. The heads of animals, rendered in the same manner as those on gold plates from the Peter the Great Collection, are preserved in the frames of a number of bronze plates; probably the earliest examples of such objects, see Serghey Miniaev, The origins of the Geometric Style in Hsiung-nu art, Corrected by Barbara Hazard, Institute of the history of material culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, Russia, 1996, p. 5-12 25 The first Xiongnu sites were discovered in 1896 by the anthropologist J. D. Talko-Grinzevich in the area around Kyachta, now in the Buryatia Republic, Russian Federation. A subsequent expedition led by P. K. Kozlov excavated several barrows in the Noin-Ula area of Outer Mongolia between 1924 and 1925. These tombs held a rich hoard of silver vessels, carpets and jade objects. Repeatedly studied and published, these finds have until recently defined the typical forms of Xiongnu art. Only in recent years have some Xiongnu sites in the Trans-Baikal area been thoroughly excavated. See Dr. Sergey Minyaev, Art and Archeology of the Xiongu: new discoveries in Russia, Circle of Inner Asian art, Newsletter, Issue 14, December 2001. London, p.1-7 26 The subject had been used in Near Eastern art from time immemorial, the earliest known examples being representations on the cylindrical seals dating from Period C in Susa. This scene continued to be popular in the Near East throughout the period of 1500-900 B.C., when it was depicted on cylindrical seals and bronzes, and even later, as evidenced by a fragment of a ninth-century B.C. vessel from Hasanlu. A similar scene is represented on a golden pectoral 10
culminating with perhaps one of the most original compositions, the so-called lattice bronze plaque-buckle adornments which present clear-cut silhouettes of stylized fantastic animals standing beside a symbolic tree.
II. The introduction of Tibetan Buddhist Art to Buryatia
2.1 Buryatia - The Vision of Buddhist Art
The greatest contribution to the shift in Buryatias artistry after the 16 th century27, from the highly figurative style of autochthonous aesthetics to the Buddhist ritualistic mentality and iconographical imperatives is held by the Tibetan Tantric system which exported not only its system of faith, of meditational and yogic praxis, but also its aesthetic language which could express most vividly its spiritual visions and aspirations. Questions of iconography, while important for the understanding of the artefacts themselves and their identification, ought not to shadow the explanation of the profound religious and philosophical tradition of which they are a physical manifestation. A noteworthy aspect for the understanding of the sacramental art is that within Tibetan Buddhist milieu the artworks serve solely religious purposes andfrom the Sakkyz hoard, which in a way may be viewed as an intermediate link between Scythian art and that of the Near East. Scenes of this type were adopted and modified by Scythian artisans, the outcome of the process being seen on buckles from Peter the Great's collection. These, in turn, were copied and remodelled by Xiongnu jewellers. See Dr. Sergey Minyaev, Art and Archeology of the Xiongu: new discoveries in Russia, Circle of Inner Asian art, Newsletter, Issue 14, December 2001. London, p. 1-7 27 Although earliest encounters with Tibetan Buddhism are likely to have occurred before 17th century: For already four centuries and not 250 years, as the republics society celebrated in 1991, the Buryats have professed Buddhism; one set of views, found in literature, holds that Buddhism was known to the Buryats as early as thirteenth, sixth, and even second century B.C.-that is, from the time of the Hunnu state in Central Asia, N.L. Zhukovskaia, The Revival of Buddhism in Buryatia, English translation from the Russian text by M.E. Sharpe, Anthropology and Archaeology of Eurasia, vol. 39, no.4, Spring 2000-01, p. 23 11
they rigorously conform to the iconographical precepts often contained in the sdhan meditational and invocational formulae. Thus, the deity takes a concrete embodiment in the form of images, which is further gazed and employed in preliminary and advanced visualization stages, until the very essence of Tantric praxis, the unio mystica between the worshipper and the deity is accomplished.28 An artistic depicting Vajrayna (Mongolian: ) would follow the basic stylistic descriptions found in the compositions of the mystics and theologians, as well as precise aesthetic proportions of so called handicraft style, with ornamental and plastic inclusions of detailed gestures - mudras, clothing and accessories. The transformation of Buddhist Art in Buryatia was unconscious and gradual, which would seem in the first stance to contradict the injuction to absolute integrity in the transmission of the teachings and canonical imperatives of ones master or school, a condition which apply all the way through from meditation to painting in the Tibetan tradition up to 21st century. (Heather Stoddard, Early Sino-Tibetan Art, 2008, p.4)
This accounts for the extreme conservatism as well as the survival of the entire range of Buddhist teachings in Tibet and where it had travelled. To work upon the form within the canonical limits, asserts B. Badmazhapov, is an indication that belongs to a special union marked with the knowledge of the sacred rules and that the attitude towards the form along with its didactics and splendour can only determine the skill of the religious artist and his purity of style understood as a standard of harmony. 29 Tibetan Tantric art is dominated by a type of highly ritualistic mentality, where the faith exhibits a prerequisite condition of transformation of the sacred form into emotional expression. (Heller, Tibetan Art, 1999, p. 12) However, despite such well established aesthetic conventions, which are imperative in providing the necessary28
Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, Art of Buryatia, Buddhist Icons from Southern Siberia, Spink and Son Ltd., London, 1996, p.5 29 Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, Buddhist Paintings in Buryatia, Buddhist Himalaya: A Journal of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, vol. VII, no. I, II, 1996, p. 2 12
consistency to the form, the Buddhist artefacts of Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva were allowed a certain amount of morphological and stylistic experientials or originality in the modern sense.30 Consequently, the artistic techniques applied in Buryat religiousaesthetic milieu are only partially recognizable to the connoisseur, due to its seldom mingling with the individuality of style born of ethnologic distinctions. A marked increase in the frequency and the number of participants in the missions from Buryatia to Tibet from the beginning of the 17th century period onwards is of great significance given the proliferation of images from different schools; however in the lack of dated pieces and uncertainty surrounding inscriptions, the attribution of an exact chronological reference would be at least hazardous. Indeed, one of the fundamental problems in Buryat art history is the lack of dated objects, which has given rise to difficulty of deciding who was actually responsible for the execution of a given work and within what temporal sphere it was created. Since many Buryat artefacts today bear no inscription to elucidate the monastic affiliation or the date, they were customarily expertised within a cross cultural context, solely on stylistic estimation.
The close homogeneity of style of the extant early images, their Tibetan aspect and iconography, the continual presence of Tibetan hierarchs in the Buryat land, all tend to point to a precise origin for what we generically call the Buryat style, beyond that of the already established Tibetan styles. In many respects the Buryats acquired a mature Tibetan style characterised by a long assimilation of foreign styles and elements adapted to its aesthetic. The thangkas (Tibetan
produced in Buryatia from the 17th century and throughout the latter half of the 19th century continued to reflect closely the developments taking place in Tibet itself and30 31
Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, 1996, p.3 Thangka literally means 'thing that one unrolls. Unique to Tibetan Buddhism, a thangka is a portable painted or embroidered banner or scroll made of linen, cotton, or silk; thangkas are categorized by their background colour and serve as aids to and focuses for meditation. 13
already in the 19th century, both Mongolian and Tibetan patterned sculptures of ritual subjects were being abundantly produced in Buryatia. Local skilled craftsmen were excellent in wood carving and metal treatment as well as in painting with distemper on cloth and wood, in modelling with clay and papier-mch and in the carpet weaving from horse hair. This is how the first centres of professional art appeared, resulting from a blend of original artistry with that of the master-darhans.
Account of schools and stylistic interpretation
The stylistic interpretation and analysis of the Tibetan pictorial scrolls in Buryatia is intimately connected with the Tibetan Buddhist iconology which traditionally is a stylistic blending with the Indian aesthetic expressiveness typified in the plasticity of the slight toned natural elements and restrained clouds, with the Nepali style richly decorated with
characterized by the abundance of mountains, birds, trees
garlands and strings of jewellery and the Chinese, characterized by the purity of painting, impulsive contours, flowers, trees and ponds as well as birds in colourful plumage.32 The Tibetan thangka styles imported by the Buryat artists exhibit a plastic decorative quality within the limits of several schools including the early classic Kadampa33 (Tibetan: ; Wylie: Bka'-gdams-pa), characterized by simplicity, extensiveness and richness of the decorum. The spiritual and artistic legacy of Kadampa is attributed to the Indian Buddhist scholar Atia, who was not only accomplished in liturgical interpretation, composition and translation, but he was both a skilled artist and calligrapher (Eimer, 1979, section 092).The didactic illuminations found in the manuscripts used as teaching tools and the esoteric meditative visions32
Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, Art of Buryatia, Buddhist Icons from Southern Siberia, Spink and Son Ltd., London, 1996, p.6-7 33 Kadampa school, those of the oral teaching, emphasizing the primordial imperative of the guru (Skt.) or lama (Tib.) who directly reveals the teaching to his disciples, see Amy Heller, Tibetan Art, Jacka Book, 1999, p. 124 14
accounted in his treaties reveal Atias aesthetic ideals which would eventually be established in new iconographies in his original fashion. Atisas presence in the Tibetan artistic reaffirmation at the end of 10th century may be viewed as the importation of eastern Indian visual ideals and intellectual discourses, to complement the Kashmiri and Nepalese currents already exerting their influence on art and spirituality (Heller, Tibetan Art, 1999, p.60). Ulteriorly, the Menri School34 (Tib. sman bris) stemmed out of the vision of the reputed painter Menla Dondrub (Tib. sman bla don-grup, 1425-1505). With his skilful contrivance he fertilized the artistic milieu with an almost baroque abundance in detail and with unusual pitoresque curved lines and twinkling space. Working in the second half of the fifteenth century, Menla and his disciples designed and fulfilled the liturgical and decorative needs of Tibetan sanctuaries, acquiring such fame that later histories attributed them the transmission of the iconometric system of Buton Rinchen Drub (Tibetan: ; Wylie: Bu-ston Rin-chen Grub) (Heller, Tibetan Art, 1999, p.177) and described their style as such:
The coats of pigment and shading are thick. In most respects, the layout is just like a Chinese scroll painting, with the exception that this is slightly less orderly... The bodily posture, skeletal structure and musculature/flesh contour are excellent. Necks are long, shoulders are withdrawn, and clearness predominates. There is much shading. The colours are detailed, soft and richly splendid. Malachite and azurite pigments predominate (these give green/blue tonalities). From distance the painting is very splendid, and if one approaches, it is detailed... This is the tradition of (Menla). (Jackson, A history of Tibetan painting, 1996, p.119)
The third major influence on Buryat religious fine art was the Karma Gadri school of painting which developed during the second half of the 16 th century and which is34
Amy Heller, Tibetan Art, Jakabook, Antique Collectors Club, 1999, p. 189 15
intimately affiliated to its first Kagyupa spiritual patron the 7th Karmapa Mikyoa Dorje (Tibetan ; Wylie: Mi-bskyod Rdo-rje, 1507-1554). The characteristics attributed to the Karma Gadri style are the distinctive Sino-Indian aesthetic imprint reflected in purity, the remarkable sense of ethereal space due to nuanced shading of vast fields of colours surrounding the central figure, as well as the great pictural elevation in employing pastel colours.35 The founding artist was Namkha Tashi, who studied under the Menri virtuoso master artists and who further complemented the style by including iconometric proportions copied from older Indian metal sculptures, probably Pala Style and a completely distinctive use of diluted colours as an imitation of the subtle washes used in certain Chinese landscape paintings. (Heller, Tibetan Art, 1999, p. 188)
The plastic embodiment of the iconic symbols in the thangkas depends of numerous aspects including worship rituals, iconometry and on the mastering and reproducing experience of the canonical standards of materiality, sensibility and preciousness. However, in the modus of style as well as in the reproduction of the standard metric patterns, there remains a considerable space for personal creativity, as in the icons, the central religious figures can enter the secondary theme, the interpretation of which depends upon personal taste of the artist. Very often the Buryat Buddhist iconographic patterns present this very peculiarity of style derived from the early Tibetan Buddhist-shamanist syncretism as resulting from the specimens of the early laconic religious paintings. Although local artists were subject to the same iconographical and iconometrical cannons as the Tibetan master-artists, they have not conceived clich reproductions of identical types but rather delineated themselves by commingling styles rooted in folk art as evidenced in the charming naivety of the
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Visual Dharma. The Buddhist art of Tibet, Shambhala, Berkley and London, 1995 16
early thangkas, and their subdued turquoise-blue palette.36 Although many aesthetic elements in Buryat architectonic or plastic art are created with a high amount of spontaneity, their spontaneity actually reflects a mastery of complex rules of the form and proportion vocabulary. Some religious artefacts achieved such great heights of poignancy, passion, elegance and wit that they all serve to make the Buryat tale more real than history itself.
III. The accomplishment of Tibetan aesthetic grammar in the Buryat
cultural milieu, 17-18th centuries
Art and political historical narratives of Tibetan Buddhism in Buryatia often juxtaposes disparate or isolated elements rather than stating a connection between them, leaving up to the reader to observe and define the relationship of their values that accommodated within the aesthetic cradle of the steppe lands. Once scattered artefacts, the Buddhist Tibetan are now visually organized and displayed within the Buryat museums or temples, revealing the evolve of the tradition more vividly and accurately than any historical documents and conveying countless details of its sufferings, failings and its grace. Despite the discrepancies within the academic discipline regarding the historical realities within Buryat religious and cultural milieu, given the dominance of statist socialist discourse, we should allow the stories of the artefacts become an object of reverent and unbiased understanding. Therefore, with these observations in mind, we have the opportunity to take this perspective as the nucleus of the further research.
Since the region along Lake Baikal (Buryat Pribaikale) and the eastern region (Buryat Zabaikale) was assimilated to Russia in 1658-59, consequent to the Nerchinsk Treaty36
Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, Art of Buryatia, Buddhist Icons from Southern Siberia, Spink and Son Ltd., London, 1996, p.7 17
which defined the borders between the Sino-Russian Empires, we may speak of a harmonious blend of religion and politics (Tibetan chos srid zung brel),37 a dictum which prevailed and stigmatized the Tibetan history likewise. Not only did the Russian Empire implemented the Orthodox Christianity and the religion of Old-Believers (Buryat Semeiskie) in the Altaic region, as a substitute or antidote against the folk beliefs and customs, namely the shamanistic tradition but has also implemented governmental constrains which limited the legitimacy of Buddhist practice. With conformity to extant historical accounts38 we acknowledge that by the second half of the 17th century, Buddhism in Transbalkania was not yet methodized and
conventionally tailored, but rather responded to autochthonous nomadic migrations which determined the lamas to perform their rituals in felt temples (Buryat dugans) situated in the portable yurts of local princes as well as in large communal tents. By the end 1720, the two first stationary Buddhist monasteries (datsan) Tsongol (Buryat Tsongolski) and Sartulski, were built in the eastern part of the sacred Lake Baikal, and in the proximate period Empress Elisaveta Petrovna signed a tolerance decree
(Rus.ukaz), by which the Buddhist religious, educational and artistic presidium in Buryatia was strictly regulated.39 The political aim of this officious act along with the tsars legitimization of Bandido Khaambo Lama40 on the priors of Gusinoe ozero datsan37
Namkhai Norbu, The necklace of Gzi, A Cultural History of Tibet, Ch. V Religion and Politics, A note on Tibetan Theocracy, Narthang Publications, Dharamsala, 1989, p.28 38 Galdanova, G. Gerasimova, Lamaism in Buriatia, Nauka Publishing, Novosibirsk, 1983, Ch. 3, p. 12 39 Tzarina Elizaveta Petrovna decreed the Tolerance Patent as early as 1741; the existence of this decree has often been referred to in Russian literature, but real evidence has not been found in the archives, see Lubos Belka, The Revival of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Asia: A Comparative Perspective, Asian and African Studies, 11, 2002, p. 18 40 The First Khambo Lama Damba-Darzha Zaiaev (1711-1776), a Buryat from the Tsongol clan, is considered to be the founding father of Buryat Buddhism. Having received his monastic education at the Drepung monastery in Lhasa, he started active propagation of Buddhism among the Selenga Buryats, having built the first monastery in Buryatia, called Baldan Braibun (Buryat pronunciation of Lhasas Drepung), also known as the Tsongol Monastery. In 1764 Empress Catherine the Great granted him the title of the first Pandito Khambo Lama of the Transbaikal, after which this date became known as the beginning of the formation of the official Buddhist church in the Russian empire. In 1768, on the request of the Empress, who was fascinated with his stories about Tibet, Zaiaev composed one of the first Buryat written works describing his journey to the Land of the Snows. This unique document provided an early glimpse into Buryat pilgrimage routes through the Gobi desert to Tibet (Russian translations are available in Sazykin 1986; Vanchikova 2006), Anya Bernstein, Doctor of 18
as the accredited leader of Buryat Buddhism was to guarantee de facto the status of constitutional monarchy and autocephality of the Buryat ecclesiastical institution, vis-a-vis the authority of the Tibetan Dalai Lamas and the Mongolian Jebdzundambas.
Although engulfed by the Russian Empire, Buryatia sublimated its desire for real sovereignty by focusing on the construction of an ethnic emblem and on its cultural augumentation. This drew upon an aesthetic revival consolidated in the Buryat national school of Buddhist architecture, painting and sculpture, among which the most refined are the complex of temples of the Gusinoe ozero (Tamcha) datsan, the thangkas of the renown lama-iconographer Osor Budaev41 or the wooden sculptures of the Orongoi masters from the Yangazhan datsan. 42 This, during the reign of the Seventh Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso (Wylie: bskal bzang rgya mtsho, 1708-1757) was to be the last Buddhist major dynamics from one country to another until modern times. From then on, a tradition was established for promising young Buryat monks to travel to Drepung Monastery in Lhasa in order to receive instruction on the aesthetic theories, their application and interpretation, on iconometry, iconography and technical finesse. The typological stylistic atmosphere of the 18th century Buryat
Buddhist paintings unfolds in the mellifluous convergency of the Nepali-Tibetan, SinoNepali, Sino-Tibetan, Tibetan-Mongolian and Sino-Mongolian styles.43 Throughout the Northern Buddhist belle poque, the cult of Tsongkhapa (Tibetan: ; Wylie: Tsongkha-pa, 1357-1419) the Tibetan regenerative of the 14th century Tibetan Buddhism,Philosophy, Department of Anthropology, Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism, New York University, May 2010, p. 170-171 41 Osor Budaev (18861937) was an outstanding representative of the school of Buryat zuragchins-monks and icon-painters, that flourished until the end of the 19th century. His composition of the traditional themes Sansarin-hurde, or the Wheel of Life shows both the causes of sufferings and the ways to salvation. It is the circle of the wheel which has neither beginning nor end that is an exact symbol of absolute movement and that characterizes the sensual world where nothing is eternal and constant but rather everything is in a state of flux, see Gennady Bashkuev, Buryatia: Tradition and Culture, Soyol Publishers, LTD, Russia, Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, 1995, p. 3 42 Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, 1996, p.9 43 Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, Art of Buryatia, Buddhist Icons from Southern Siberia, Spink and Son Ltd., London, 1996, p.4 19
found fertile ground in the passionate Buryat artistry. The new diversity of Tibetan chromatic as well as its new balance of style enhances the richness of the composition of two painted 18th century Buryat scrolls depicting Tsonkhapa. 44 These two strikingly different scroll compositions impersonate the accomplished master having a transparent cold-pane complexion including dense tones of dark blue, dark blue-liliac, gray, gray-blue, coral-red and green details seated on a triple lion throne, corresponding to the Buddhist archetypal motifs the Sun, the Moon and the Lotus flower, engaged in padmasana pose, exhibiting a Vajra mudra gesture. The particularity however, stands in the absence of the traditional accustomed mandorla.
So great was the concentration on Tibetan aesthetics in Transbalkania that the Russian diplomat and true connoisseur of Buddhist art, Prince Esper Esperovich Ukhtomsky (1861-1821) managed during 1890s and 1917s, to salvage and acquire a considerable part of his famous collection of Tibetan art in Buryatia, nowadays housed and staged at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.45 The German scholar Albert Grunwedel in his innovating Mythologie du Buddhism en Tibet et Mongolie sur la collection lamaique du Prince Ukhtomsky described Ukhtomskys collection as being so perfect and complete that it can almost serve as the basis for the history of Lamaist art.46 Intricately elaborated thangkas, gilt bronzes and copper sculptural aesthetics (Mongolian burhans), incrustations of lapis lazuli, turquoise and corals, depictions of various Buddhist deities (dokshits, dakinis), the votive stamped clay tablets (Tibetan tsha-tsha) and a vast palette of ritual artefacts crafted in multifarious Buddhist art styles, prayer-wheels (Buryat maniin-hurde), cone-shaped suburgas, conches, bells,44 45
Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, 1996, P.4 A.I.Andreyev, Some reflections on Buddhist art collecting and collectors in Russia in the 18 th century-early 20th century, Buddhism and Nordland, 2010, p.1 46 citing Albert Grunwedel, Mythologie du Buddhism en Tibet et Mongolie sur la collection lamaique du Prince Ukhtomsky, Leipzig, 1900 20
vajras, gabals, purbas , amulet-holders (Tibetan gau) pertaining to Tibetan art were introduced to the Buryat artists, thus providing a strong impetuous for the development of local artistic schools.47 Osor Budaev (1886-1937) was a distinguished representative of the school of Buryat zuragchins - monastic figures and icon painters, whose compositions cultivated traditional motifs such as Sansarin-hurde (lit. Wheel of Life), Tsagan Ubugun or the Majur (Skt: , Tib.), the patron of arts reflected a superior standard of harmony both in the colouring skills and in the beautiful transformation of the sacred-schematic form into a refined emotional expression (Badmazhapov, 1996). The typically heterogeneous iconography depicting Tsagan Ubugun (Buriat cayan ebiigen) is presented with great recurrence in all Buryat schools as he embodies the magical, transmutative force of Buddhism in the Buryat land. The exact emergence of this ancient shamanistic chthonic god (Buryat
sabdakov) of fertility and longevity in the Buddhist pantheon is difficult to determine, considering that there are very few dated examples to compare them against. 48 A stylistic comparison of the thangkas crafted within the temporal boundaries of 18th and 19th centuries certainly indicate an earlier accommodation of the deity within the Buddhist ceremonial practices, however not earlier than this period did the pictural representations of Tsangan Ubugun, namely the White Elders, found their place inside the temples or in the canonical iconography. On the propagation of the cult in Buryatia, N. L. Zhukovskaya (Zhukovskaya, 1998) documented the prevalence of the cult among certain archaic groups and determined that the function of this ancestral character was later acculturated in Buryat milieu in agreement to the paradigmatic47
A.I.Andreyev, Some reflections on Buddhist art collecting and collectors in Russia in the 18th century-early 20th century, Buddhism and Nordland, 2010 48 Walther Heissig , New Material on East Mongolian Shamanism, Asian Folklore Studies, Bonn Vol. 49, 1990, p.225 The stability of mythological figures, with their old traits, os much more significant because Mergen gegen Lubsangdambjalsan (1717-1766), the famous author of a Buddhist liturgy in the Mongolian language, attempted already in his time to substitute the exclusively Lamaist divinities Mahakala, Tara, Sridevi, Esrua qormusta tngri, and Ginggis Khan for the ancient shamanist pentad of the five Jayayaci tngri (fate gods) [...] some shamans call her (the Chinese mother goddess Wang mu niyang niyang) White Mother (caran emege) or Holy Mother (borda emerge), imploring her together with the old god of fertility and longevity, the Cayan ebugen (Sarkozi 1983, 357-369; Hessing 1987, p. 589-616), for the help against illness and death for many children. 21
keepers of the faith (Buryat srunma) models, such as Chinese Show-syn, the Tibetan Pehar Gyalpo (Tibetan: ; Wylie: rgyal po dpe har ,also spelt: pe kar, dpe dkar) and to the Tibetans mysterious Tsam49 (Wylie: cham) ceremonial dances divinities.50 Despite the fact that the White Elder cult was included only in the third level of the official Buddhist pantheon, it often assumes a preeminent aesthetic role though the majestic sculptures and the various innovative compositional thangkas and texts preserved in Ivolginsk, Kizhinginskom, Aga and Tsugolskom datsans.51 Some idea of sophistication of both style and technique can be gleaned from the archival aesthetic materials in the Museum of the History of Buryatia containing twelve multi-temporal matrixes of iconographic images of the White Elders: flat as shell, Tsagan Ubuguns body is clothed in Chinese dress giving him a motionless look with the finger gestures similar to those of peaceful deities; visually, he is marked with a green halo and a crown-like head-dress plus a dragons head staff and shoes of a stylized decoration and the periphery of the scrolls are separated from the centre by the decorated compositions similar in form to the back of a throne reminiscent of a temple entrance (Skt. torana)52 The transposing of Tsagan Ubugun in Buryat Buddhist visual expression in the scrolls of 19th century was materialized in the graphism combined with a gradually thickening of the colours alongside the edges, as if powdered with lazurite dust, which refract through the pale and watery paint consistency. There is a certain proclivity among the Buryat artists for suave masses with linear, elegant light-malachite shaded silhouettes49
The ancient religious mask dancing Tsam is one of the significant religious rituals reflecting Buddhist teaching through correct apostolic images and essence. Tsam mask dancing is included in the art form called Doigar depicting independent imagination as one of the 10 kinds of wisdom according to ancient Indian philosophy. 50 N. L. Zhukovskaya, Cagan Ubugunov, M,N.M., 1988 51 Nemanova Eleanor Allekovna, The Semantics of the image of the White Elders in the traditional culture of the Mongolian peoples,Library catalof of Russian and Ukrainian Theses , Ulan-Ude, 2004, p. 2 52 L. Zhukovskaya, Cagan Ubugunov, M,N.M., 1988, p.13 22
and native red and black suave sartorial details, illuminated by light white outlines. The Buddhist symbolism emblematized here, such as the rosary, in addition to the usual set of attributes, such as a dragon heads staff and a boo, indicate the artists pronunciation of the sacred canonical plastic directives. The symbolic dominative specificity of Tibetan Buddhism emerged in the late 19th and beginning of 20th century, when the emblems of longevity are introduced - such as the Jina Amitayus (Tibetan rgyal-ba Tshe-dpag-med) peripheral portrayal in the upper corner of the thangkas - a fact that substantiate the rarefication of the autochthonic elements in the virtue of the assiduous blossoming of embodied Tibetan Tantric art in Buryat artistic tradition.53
IV. Decomposition and regeneration of Buddhist Art and its revival throughout the 19th century 4.1 The survival of Buddhist Art during the Russian Protectorate
The incipiency of Buryat Buddhist art fracture began under the Russian propagandist directive, namely the construction of the first socialist state in the world, vociferated during the October Revolution of 1917. The significant secular and religious literature, the artistic fulfilment of architecture, painting and sculpture within the framework of Buddhism and beyond that, the knowledgeable laical or religious individuals (Rus. narody) suffered severe consequences which ultimately conduced to a mass annihilation:
From 1941 to 1946 , not a single Buddhist monastery existed on the territory of the region of the east of Lake Baikal (including the Aga [Bur.Aginsk] Buriat Autonomous Okrug of Chita Oblast) and the region to53
Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, 1996, p.9 23
the west of Lake Baikal [Bur.Predbaikale] (including the Ust-Orda Buriat Autonomous Okrug of Irkutsk Oblast).54
However, in the proximity of year 1946 the Soviet Union, on the fictitious clisheistic pretexts of freedom of consciousness and of religious practice, has allowed rebuilding and reopening of two ritual settlements, Aginski and Ivolginski, nonetheless suffocated by Russian Committee on Affairs of Religions and Cults strict watchful eye. As a result of neglect and destruction many bronzes, thangkas and religious books were destroyed and those which survived were either hidden private households or locked away in small provincial museums, where they were hardly ever exhibited (Zhukovskaya,2001). In retrospect, this dramatic period of coercition, censorship and devastation of the religious and aesthetic destinies of the Buryats, has called for, following the disintegration of the Soviet machine of repression, a return to remembrance, restoration and revival. De facto, the first glimpses of revival, additionally entitled microrevival55, was rather a restorative endeavour of the almost extant Buryat religious life. Atsagat Datsan was once a revered scriptorium and
centre of Buriat Buddhist scholarship, whose extant fine manuscripts are displayed in Ulan-Udes Literary Museum was completely eradicated in 1930s, yet taking rebirth under the patronage of Agvan Lobsan Dorzhiev (Tibetan Ngawang Dorji), the Atsagat Tsanid-Hambo Lama, who became the devoted confidant, and one of the seven mentors to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.56 The multi-architectural religious complex , Ivolginski (Ivolga) Datsan was founded as epicentre of Siberian Buddhism, hosting not only Tibetan aesthetic atmosphere but also a Korean-style wooden Etigel Khambin Temple honouring the 12th54
Khambo Lama of all Russia, Pandito Khambo Lama
A.I.Andreyev, Some reflections on Buddhist art collecting and collectors in Russia in the 18 th century-early 20th century, Buddhism and Nordland, 2010, p.2 55 The first restoration, also called microrevival took place from 1946 until the end of late 1980, W.Kolarz, Religion in the Soviet Union, Macmillan Press, 1961, 457-458 56 Stephen Batchelor, Article. The Trials of Dandaron, Buddhist Perseverance in Russia, Tricycle, 1992, p. 1 24
Itigelov, whose undecayed body is presently exhibited as a remnant of extraordinary spiritual attainment.57 However, revival did not meant merely a matter of
rehabilitation of datsans or restoration of the ecclesiast tradition, but rather a transformative process of maturation of Buddhist tradition, whose spiritual eminence acted as an adjuvant and parasol for the Buryat community during the socialist domination. In Buryatia, the Tibetan Buddhism which had fallen into oblivion until the perestroika, emerged again from obscurity and begun to attract attention to both scholars and Tibetan spiritual school leaders.
As part of resurgence of national sentiment which marked the second revival58 period since the 1988 onwards, the painful echoes of repression and of forced mass isolation into the Soviet gulags operated as an in memoriam nourishment among the Buryat Buddhist representatives. Through the prism of Stalinist socio-political dictatorship, the castigated lamanate has submitted itself to a metamorphosing process rising philosophy and art beyond the narrow ideological space. The great revival of Buryat Buddhism began at the end of 1980 when under the influence of perestroika and in the context of the gradual thawing of the formerly repressive regime, ritual and artistic life recommenced its restoration. Despite the massive destruction of monasteries and temples, the main repositories of the countrys artistic heritage, throughout the Stalinist poque, a considerable number of metal and wooden sculptures, devotional paintings of appliqud fabrics and illuminated books on paper were salvaged by both monastic figures and the bourgeois Russian collectors.
The 12th Khambo Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the Lama Damba Dorja Zayayev the first Khambo Lama, born in 1702, Naj Wikoff, Pandito Khambo Lama Itigelovs Most Precious Body, North Country Public Radio, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, 2005 58 Lubos Belka, The Revival of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Asia: A Comparative Perspective, Asian and African Studies, 11, 2002, p.10 25
Apart from the resurrection of surviving material in the Buryat Buddhist shrines, the primary concern of enhancing the spiritual lives of eminent monks ultimately contributed to a strong experience of artistic and educational interchange with the cognate Buddhist nations. Indeed, this is a period, when, not only that Ivolginskyi and Aginskyi Monasteries effectively recommenced their activity, but were allowed a cultural, religious and artistic interchange with the Mongolian educational entities such as the Gandantegchinling Spiritual Academy in Ulaanbataar and with the paramount Buddhist higher education institutions in Dharamsala. 59 Following the Tibetan erudition systematization, the Buddhists temples were reconverted into universities where Tibetan, Mongolian languages and Sanskrit, the Five Great Sciences (religious philosophy, grammar, Tibetan and Mongolian medicine,
technology of arts and craft) and Five Small Sciences (poetry, stylistics, metrics, dances and music, astrology) were intensely studied. It may be recalled that
throughout the 19th century religious restoration, several of the worlds ancient sacred objects delivered from Tibet and India were kept in Buryatia, among them the a colossal metal statue of Buddha Maidari,60 the wooden Sandal Buddha statue Zandan Zhuu located in the Egita Monastery - Yeravin Aimak, proclaimed by the Buryat Buddhist Sangha one of the three National Buddhist Treasures Sacraments and the canonical Kangyur (Wylie: Bka'-'gyur, lit. translation of the word) of 113 volumes and Tengyur (Wylie: Bstan-'gyur, lit. translation of treaties) of 300 volumes, containing encyclopaedic manuscripts of medieval Buddhist teachings in philosophy, medicine, logics, linguistics, astrology and other fields of knowledge. Buryatia acted as a
Bolsokhoeva Natalya Danilova, Iroltuev -Pandita Khambo- Lama, philosopher, founder of the Ashagat Mamba Datsang and Emchi, Buddhism and Northernland, 2010, p. 3 60 Buddha Maidari, Buryat nomination for Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pli), or Jampa (Tibetan), is a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva. Maitreya is unique in Buddhism because he is the only other figure besides Gautama Buddha who is universally accepted in all Buddhist traditions. In Buryatia, he has been associated with predilection with the Shambhala myth, as he would come as defender of the faith and of the khan of the three kingdoms, the head of the theocratic state, see Caroline Humphrey, Marx went away but Karl stayed behind, University of Michigan Press, 2001, p.118 26
repository for the preservation of Tibetan medical knowledge along with other related Asian systems. The iconic illustrations epitomised in the unique medical Gyu-Shi (Wylie: rgyud bzhi)61 and Vaidurya-onbo (A treatise on Tibetan Medicine)62 and the only full copy of Atlas of Tibetan Medicine of the two preserved in the world, presently at rest in the Museum of History in Buryatia.63
A special attention should be given to the Buryat iconography of the Sandalwood Buddha (Bur. Zadan Zhou) dated from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, since the exquisitely carved and polished statues, along with vivid paintings offer a priceless experience which have no verbal analogies. Aesthetically, the beautifully proportioned sculptures emerge from the sacred atmosphere of Buddha kyamunis life. Although according to the hagiographic tradition, these sculptures were crafted by the divine Visvakaraman (lit. the omnificent) out of sandalwood, gold and seven precious stones, no visual prototype has yet been found in Buryatia or Tibet, which makes the aesthetic experience from both the form and the composition, both intriguing and complex (Ts.-B.Badmazhapov, 1996). While the61
The Four Medical Tantras (Root Tantra-rtsa rgyud, Explanatory Tantra (bshad rgyud), Instructional Tantra (man ngag gi rgyud) and Subsequent Tantra (phyi ma'i rgyud) were compiled by Yuthok Ynten Gnpo in the ninth century and then rediscovered by Drapa Ngnsh in the eleventh century. 62 Beginning from the middle of the XIXth century the philosophical, medical, tantric and astrological faculties were founded in many Buryat datshangs. Within the classical Tibetan education the study of medicine was very significant, as it belongs to one of the five major sciences In the medical faculties the students learn a great number subjects of the Science of Healing. Fundamentals of Tibetan medical education include learning by heart the main guidance on the theory and practice of Tibetan medicine rGyud bzhi (Four Medical Tantras). Tibetan tradition dates this text from the XIIth century. It too is accompanied by the numerous commentaries, among of them the most detailed Vaidurya - onbo, (1687-1688), written by Desi Sangye Gyatsho. In addition pharmacological and pharmaceutical guidebooks, pharmacognostical treatises and prescription books were one of the most important components of medical education, see Bolsokhoeva Natalya Danilovna, Ch. D. Iroltuev Pandita Khambo - Lama, philosopher, founder of the Ashagat Manba Datsang and Emchi, Buddhism and Nordland, 2010 63 Through the courtesy of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama who encouraged the proliferation of Tibetan Buddhist Medicine to Siberia, the edition of the most famous medical thangkas illustrating a commentary on The Gyu-shi known as The Blue Beryl or the Blue Lapis Lazuli were offered as instructional tool to the Buryat practitioners. After having been removed from the Buddhist Collection of the Museum of Atheism in Ulan-Ude during the Soviet period of repression, the thangka collection has been rediscovered in 1958, however remained undisclosed to the public, see Peter Fenton, Tibetan healing: the modern legacy of Medicine Buddha, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1999, p.10-11 27
quintessential Tibetan styled sculptural representation is addressed to Buddha Candana-prabh, often denominated as Sandalwood Shining or King Udayana Buddha, the painted iconography presents two compositional patters with diversity in both the decorum and the secondary figures: kyamuni Buddha surrounded by his disciples riputra (Sanskrit: ) and Maudgalyyana (Pali: Moggallna) in the Chinese style temple interior on a high carved altar framed with columns and railing including a canopy and a full set of altar precious ones and offerings, and secondly, Buddha with his retinue in a natural atmosphere, a landscape with blooming trees, golden veined rocks, clouds resembling coral brush and flowing dense dark-blue waters.64
In the canonical Tibetan Buddhist iconography the structure of form corresponds to the coordination and symmetry, paying minute attention at the placing of the centrum and the peripheral elements into the iconic space. A specific arcane esoteric ritual enables the mutual reversibility of the two space elementals and allows the artist to journey between the many levels and enforce several types of sacred meanings. (Ts.B. Badmazphavov, 1996) The linearly-chromatic composition of the Buryat Zandan Zhuu65 thangkas, could be distinguished from the particularities of garment of the central figure and the abundance of gold as a graphic simulation of the water surface, the visual effect of which is one of opulent grandeur and ostentation. Apart from the seductive gold, the Buryat artists adopted the ribbed lines arranged in rhythmical transitions between thick purple rigs and vibrating, iridescent colours which illuminate the crown, halo, strings, jewellery. This particular qualitative style in the Buryat iconographic development unambiguously ascertain that the commitment to
canonical rigour and the high degree of mastery did not suffice for accomplishing a perfected sacred art. A fine representative example which reflects the Buryat exalted64 65
L. Sh. Dagyab, Tibetan Religious Art, Wiesbaden, 1977, p.30 Zadan Zhuu or the Sandalwood Buddha, transliteration by Lubos Belka, Zandan Zhuu and the Buryat Sangha: History and Present State, The Ecological Problems and Spiritual Traditions of the Peoples of the Baikal Region. Ulan -Ude : Izd -vo GUZ 2006 28
style is the visual expression of Bodgdo Zonkhobae66, or the Precious Teacher Sumatikirti (Tibetan Blo-bzang grags-pa, Lozang-dragpa, Vajra Keeper), which indicate that the inspiration came largely from the Gelug establishments 67 with unconventional incorporation of reconstructed autochthonic traditional values.68 During the 19th century, Menri Sarma remained influential and further integrated Chinese landscape devices such as billowing clouds and architectural motifs to break up as compositional divisions of the painted surface in addition to the ornate brocade styles emulating the Chinese silk upholstery. (Jackson 1996, p.34-40) The New Menri was esteemed particularly during the poque of the Fifth Dalai Lama 69 who reinforced the authority of Gelugpa aesthetic beyond the monastic confines. The importance of the cults of protective deities is reflected by the numerous paintings and sculptures of the guardian deities of the Buryat Gelug tradition which is an area where the individual artists followed the iconographic stipulations but achieved great expressive liberty. Following the nag thang genre (literally black ground paintings), in which the illuminated manuscript of the Fifth Dalai Lamas visions is painted, the Buryat artists popularized the black or indigo manuscript illuminations complementing them with gold and silver ink. Some of the most refined examples of Buryat nag thang extant today in the Buryat Historical Museum, are 18th and 19th century thangkas illustrating the wrathful deities and the ritual diagrams employed in meditational or worship practice. The ceremonial paintings reflect the ritual stipulations which categorize white as the base colour for peaceful deities, yellow as the colour for deities associated with development of wealthy and worldly aspirations, red for deities
Bodgdo Zonkhobae, transliteration by TB Badmazhapov, Buddhist Paintings in Buryatia, Buddhist Himalaya, A Journal of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, Vol. VII No. I & II, Ulan Ude, 1996 67 Since Gelugpa acquired the official status of the state religion and was legitimized by the Dalai Lamass presidium, it was mainly from this source that Buryat Buddhist iconographic milieu was primarily fertilized. 68 Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, 1996, p.10-11 69 Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (Wylie: Blo-bzang Rgya-mtsho, birth name: Knga Nyingpo) the Great Fifth Dalai Lama (16171682) 29
worshipped for subjugation of evil influences and black or dark blue for fierce protective deities or coercitive rites. (Heller, 1999, p. 193)
Among other features inspired by the art of the famous Gelug East Tibetan Labrang Monastery, are the low mossy hills of the taiga, occasionally covered with pine trees, the distinctive linear or cumulous clouds floating above them, and the rich and varied textile designs which cloth the deities.70 The mount of the Gelugpa female Dharmapala,71 Sridevi (Tibetan dPal ldan lhamo) along with the White Tara (Buryat Sagaan Dara Ehe, Sanskrit: Sitatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-dkar) whose presence are central in the Buryat lyrical compositions and rich coloured thangkas of 19th century, reflect the authentic Tibetan tastes and its aesthetic mannerisms: the refined delicate balance, the colouring with pale-pink predominating instead of the ubiquitous reds of earlier styles.72 Ornamented with abundant leaf, bright contrasting colours and strict proportions, these Tibetan Gelug inspired artefacts were and continue to be regarded as the most prized achievements of Buryat aesthetics.
V. The Great Revival - the reaffirmation of Buddhist aesthetics in Buryatia, 19th to 20th century
Although Buddhism has not been deprived of its moral purpose during the repressionist regime, it has been infused with substantial ideological agreements, as a consequence of the Soviet cynical divide et impera policy towards the satellite
Lubos Belka, The Revival of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Asia: A Comparative Perspective, Asian and African Studies, 2002, p.11 71 In Vajrayana Buddhism, a dharmapla (Tibetan: chos-kyong) is a type of wrathful deity. The name means Dharma-defender in Sanskrit, and the dharmaplas are also known as the Defenders of the Law (Dharma), or the Protectors of the Law. The two main types of dharmapalas are mahakalas (male) and mahakalis (female), on the one hand, and lokaplas on the other. All dharmaplas, with the exception of most lokaplas, appear within the iconographic representations as wrathful, see Chgyam Trungpa, Visual Dharma: The Buddhist Art of Tibet, Hayden Gallery, Taylor and Francis, 2001, p.22 72 Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, 1996, p.4 30
ethnoses as a means of ensuring its political quintessence. In this course of time, the ministerial appointments and the progressist lotus essences (Rus. obnovlentsi) became more mingled and a utopian-political magical character permeated the Buryat Buddhist milieu. The idea of a great Buddhist Tibeto-Mongolian-Russian confederation, accentuated at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, was broadly based upon the most preeminent utopian expectations, the Shambhala myth. Mythogenesis for the Buryat society, as Lubos Belka asserts, especially of an eschatological and chiliastic nature, reinforces and amplifies in the times of constrainment, when otherwise disparate, heterogeneous myths and rituals are joined and mobilised.73
Certainly, the reaffirmation of support for the orthodox Buddhism and of the salvic mythology surrounding it was ubiquitously reflected in the nature of aesthetics popular in Buryatia at the turn of 20th century. One can perhaps understand the Buryat desire to participate in the international appeal of Buddhism as well as the conscious desire to repeat the earlier, original aesthetic models and climate of orthodox Buddhism. Three major personifications were elevated to the soteriological status by both Tibetan and Buryats and became the resolute iconographic leitmotif of the late 19th and early 20th century: the future Buddha Maitreya (Tib. byams pa, Mong. Bur. Maidar, literally The Loving One), the 25th Kulika Rudra Chakrin Shambhala ruler (Tibetankhor lo can, Mongolian Buriat Rigden Dagpo, Eregdyn Dagbo Khaan, literally The Wrathful One with a Wheel) and the reputed mythological character Gesar from Ling.74
Lubos Belka, The Myth of Shambhala: Visions, Visualisation, and the Myths Resurrection in the Twentieth Century in Buryatia, Brno, research paper supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange grant, Archiv orientalni, Quarterly Journal of Asian and African Studies, Praha, Czech Republic, 2003, p. 249 74 Lubos Belka, The Myth of Shambhala: Visions, Visualisation, and the Myths Resurrection in the Twentieth Century in Buryatia, Brno, research paper supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange grant, Archiv orientalni, Quarterly Journal of Asian and African Studies, Praha, Czech Republic, 2003 31
Although the eschatological myth of Shambhala was rarely expressed visually, the very few extant Buryat artefacts such as stupas, thangkas and in the tsakli (Tibetan Tsak li xylographed paintings)75 display an impressive unconventional aesthetic of the three intermingling mythological-eschatological characters. However, within the
Northern Buddhism and particularly in Buryat artistic expression, solely the two characters - Maitreya (Buriat Maidar) and Rudra Chakrin - and their associated eschatology are concentrated on specific types of sacral architecture and colossal sculptural and pictural representations. The adulation of these two deified apocalyptic deities can be discerned in older east Tibetan and Mongolian thangkas, which are the very source of the necessary consistency to the form that the Buryat artistic aesthetics later achieved. I would go further and state that not in the phenomenon of political radicalization but within its spiritual and esoteric aesthetic communication, the Buryat artists understood the recovery of the Shambhala myth in the first third of the 20th century.
VI. Afterword and acknowledgements
The collection of religious items that are now exhibited to the great public, is unprecedented not only in the uniqueness of artefacts complied with great taste and mastery but also in its extraordinary significance for any research on the history of Buddhist religion and art in Buryatia. The Buryat Historical Museum possesses a unique collection of Buddhist ritual art which survived the depredations of the 1930's, at which time most of the monasteries were destroyed and only a small fraction of the abundant artistic and spiritual heritage survived. By studying the style of the75
Tsakli pictures are used also as miniature thangka, but their principal purpose is rather different from the thangkas; they are used as cultic cards (see Gerd-Wolfgang Essen - Tsering Tashi Thingo, Die Gotter des Himalaya. Buddhistische Kunst Tibets. Systematischer Bestandskatalog, Prestel-Verlag, Munchen 1989, p.263), or they are used as consecration cards (see Amy Heller, A set of thirteen century tsakali, Orientations, November 1997, pp. 28-52) 32
artefacts, one is able to shed light on unbiased history of this remote regions embrace of Tibetan Buddhism and of its artistic legacy. More than simple artistic treasure, the exquisite Buryat Buddhist artefacts remain even today vectors for acts of piety, meditation and spiritual accomplishment, and are thus a vivid, mysterious testament of faith that punctuate the Tibetan spirituality among the Buryats.
6.1 Tibetan-styled thangkas, tsakli, illuminations and dedications from the Matvei Nikolaevich Khangalov History Museum of Buryatia
Fig. 1 The Tree of Diagnosis, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of BuryatiaIn this painting we have the visual representations of the three humors (Tib. nyes-pa gsum); the blue leaves symbolize rlung, the yellow leaves mkhris-pa, and the white leaves bad-kan. The root of diagnosis has three trunks: visual observation, pulse reading and questioning. This painting shows how Tibetan doctors diagnose illness when the three nyes-pa are imbalanced.
Fig.2 Kalakuta or Halahaha, poison incarnate, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of BuryatiaAccording to prophecies in the Tibetan medical texts the age in which we now live is a time of great disruption in the environment and the five natural elements. These factors create the causes for eighteen new types of malignant diseases that threaten the lives of human beings. This painting shows the three different types of poisons: compounded poisons, food poisons and naturally grown poisons. The creature in the centre is called Kalakuta or Halahala, poison incarnate.
Fig.3 The Palace of the Healing Buddha, detail, Museum of BuryatiaThe painting illustrates Prajnapatidaksa, physician of the gods; a member of the retinue of the Healing Buddha first explained the medical teachings. Lord of Living Beings, he is among the founders of the art therapy. The detail shows the attendants of the Master of Remedies in the medicinal City of Irresistible Beauty, believed to be located in the land of Oddiyana.
Fig.4 The Tree of Diagnosis, detail, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of BuryatiaThe root of diagnosis includes, left to right, visual observation, palpation and inquiry.
Fig.5 Ritual Preparation of Rejuvenation Elixirs, Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, History Museum of BuryatiaThe theme of this painting deals with the generation of the Lesser Elixir of Rejuvenation through visualizations of the light-ray emanations from the celestial palace of medicine depicted in the centre. The monk seated to the left of the palace is instructed to visualize himself as a meditational deity as he gathers the rejuvenation elixirs from the realms of gods, antigods, humans, animals, tormented spirits and the hell realms shown below the palace. In the lower part of the paintings is a panel showing the ideal surroundings that enhance sexual pleasure and therefore, fertility.
Fig.6 A set of four tsakli depicting Garuda, Gubilha, Kurukulla and Vajravarahi, Buryatia, 19th centuryThe tsakli are miniature paintings which are used in Tibetan Buddhist rituals of divination or initiation rites. They are considered portable icons due to their miniatural size and traditionally are housed in gaus (amulet boxes). Garuda is fine example of painting on cotton with applied gold leaf in the Labrang style. Gubila is the name of a fivefold group of deities considered to protect people in every aspect of their lives. The central figure in this tsakli is the goddess Molha, the only female-deity of this group, whose name in Tibetan means woman-goddess. She rides an antelope and her attributes are happiness invoking arrow and a divination mirror. The corners are occupied by Polha (lit. man-god), Yulha (lit. country -god), Dalha (lit. war-god) and Srog-lha (lit. the god of life). Red Tara, also known as Kurukulla, is according to M. Foucher, 'the heart of Tara' (Etude sur l'Iconographie bouddhique de l' Inde, Paris, 1900). She is worshipped by unhappy lovers, and is believed to be particularly successful in bewitching men and women. Her mantra repeated ten thousand times is said to bring about all of one's desires. The Goddess Kurukulla is invoked for the controlling activities of subjugating, magnetizing, and attracting. She is extremely seductive: her red colour and subjugating flower-attributes emphasize her more mundane activity of enchanting men and 34
women, ministers and kings, through the bewitching power of sexual desire and love (Skt. vashikarana). Vajravarahi, the Daimond Sow is worshipped as a protectress of hidden teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism. Four manifestations of Vajravarahi encircle the main image; she holds a kapala (skull-cup) in her left hand and a kartika (ritual knife) with her right hand.
Fig.7 Guandi - Geser, Painting on cotton, Buryatia, late 18th centuryGeser the son of the celestial ruler was sent to his father to Ling to become its king. According to the epic he defeated his enemies and achieved much glory and fame. The Mongolian version of the epic refers to Gesar as the master of ten directions, who uprooted ten evils in ten countries of the world (Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, 1996, p.30). Worshipped by the Buryats mainly as a god of war, Geser acts also as a protective deity who patronises soldiers, cattle and grants well-being. In the 18 th century the cult of Geser in Buryatia was intermingled with that of the Chinese god Guandi - the protector of the Manchus - so much so that Geser took a totally distinctive Chinese appearance. Guardi is depicted in this thangka astride his horse Chitu (lit. red hare) and is accompanied by two characters, respectively his adopted son Guanping and his minister Zhoutsang. Although the deities are rendered in a Chinese style, they are placed within a distinctive Buryat setting.
Fig. 8 Lhamo - Painting on cotton 18th- 19th centuryThe thangka reproduced here depicts Magzor Gyalmo, Palden Lhamo (Skt. Shri Devi), the goddess of music and eloquence according to Vajrayana tradition. Wrathful in appearance with one face and two hands, she rides atop a yellow mule inside a bone and skeleton palace surrounded by a host of fierce retinue figures: two-animal faced dakinis, the four Queens of the Seasons, the makara-faced dakini Makaravaktra on the frontispiece and the lion-faced red dakini Simhavaktra with a kartrika and a snare in her hands in the upper extremity. The goddess is intimately consociated with the Gelug Tibetan order, since as female guardian of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, avowed the First Dalai Lama Gendun Drup (13911474) who in one of his visionary experiences, postulated that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas.
Fig. 9 Vaishravana also known as Vaishravana and the Eight Horsemen Painting on cotton, Buryatia, 18th century
This composition demonstrates a clearly indigenous Buryat style, considering the unusual subdued turquoise and blue palette and the use of naive aesthetic vocabulary. The spacious composition and the stylistic execution of elements such as the upturned lotus petals of Vaishravanas throne can be ascribed to Mongolia and East Tibet. The cult of Vaishravana, (Tib. Rnam-thos sras) the leader of the Yaksha race and worldly Guardian of the North, was extremely illustrious in Buryatia, since it is to the north of Mongolia and Tibet that the Buryat steppes and mountains are located. The deity Vaishravana Riding a Lion has a retinue of eight armour clad horseman. Seven of the eight horsemen (Skt. Ashvapatis), protectors of the eight directions, face forward but one always has the head turned away. At the upper part of the thangka resides the blue-faced ferocious Vighnantaka in his two arm form, standing in the Pratyalidha attitude, carrying the Tarjanipasa in his left hand and Vajra in his right hand.
Fig. 10 kyamuni Buddha - Painting on cotton, late 18th- early 19th centuryThis particular thangka presents an interesting amalgamation of Sino-Tibetan and Buryat styles. The fine and compound polychrome painting is complete with a precious setting characterized by the liberal use of gold for the ornamentation of Buddhas clothes, exemplary of the 18th century Sino-Tibetan paintings. Separately, the linear shapes of the cumulus
clouds, the mossy hills, the triangular regulation of water and the use of ground mica added to blue pigment in order to create a lustrous visual effect, are distinctive elements of originality essentially rendered in most Buryat paintings.
Anya Bernstein, Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Anthropology, Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism, New York University, May 2010 A.I.Andreyev, Some reflections on Buddhist art collecting and collectors in Russia in the 18th century-early 20th century, Buddhism and Nordland, 2010 Amy Heller, A set of thirteen century tsakali, Orientations, November, 1997 Albert Grunwedel, Mythologie du Buddhism en Tibet et Mongolie sur la collection lamaique du Prince Ukhtomsky, Leipzig, 1900 Bolsokhoeva Natalya Danilova, Iroltuev - Pandita Khambo - Lama, philosopher, founder of the Ashagat Mamba Datsang and Emchi, Buddhism and Northernland, 2010 Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Visual Dharma. The Buddhist Art of Tibet, Shambhala, Berkley and London, 1995 Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, The necklace of Gzi, A Cultural History of Tibet, Ch. V Religion and Politics, A note on Tibetan Theocracy, Narthang Publications,
Dharamsala, 1989 David Paul Jackson, A History of Tibetan Painting. The Great Tibetan Painters and their Traditions, J.W. De Jong, Verlag der sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996, p.362 Eimer Helmut, Berichte uber das Leben des Dipamkarasrijnana. Eine Untersuchung der Quellen, Bonn: Ph.D. Thesis for the Rheinischen Friendricyh-Wilhelms Universitat, 1974 Gerd-Wolfgang Essen Tsering Tashi Thingo, Die Gotter des Himalaya. Buddhistische Kunst Tibets. Systematischer Bestandskatalog, Prestel-Verlag, Munchen, 1989 Gennady Bashkuev, Buryatia: Tradition and Culture, Soyol Publishers, LTD, Russia, Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, 1995
Galdanova, G. Gerasimova, Lamaism in Buriatia, Nauka Publishing, Novosibirsk, 1983 Heather Stoddard, Early Sino-Tibetan Art, Orchid Press Publishing Limited, 2009 John F. Avedons The Buddhas Art of Healing, Tibetan Paintings Rediscovered, Rizolli, New York 1998 Lubos Belka, The Revival of Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Asia: A Comparative Perspective, Asian and African Studies, 11, 2002 Lubos Belka, The Myth of Shambhala: Visions, Visualisation, and the Myths Resurrection in the Twentieth Century in Buryatia, Brno, research paper supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange grant, Archiv orientalni, Quarterly Journal of Asian and African Studies, Praha, Czech Republic, 2003 Stephen Batchelor, Article. The Trials of Dandaron, Buddhist Perseverance in Russia, Tricycle, 1992, p. 1 Serghey Miniaev, The origins of the Geometric Style in Hsiung-nu art, Corrected by Barbara Hazard, Institute of the history of material culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, Russia, 1996 Sergey Minyaev, Art and Archeology of the Xiongu: new discoveries in Russia, Circle of Inner Asian art, Newsletter, Issue 14, December 2001 Skrynnikova . D., Sacral and vital in Mongolian culture, The world of Buryat traditional culture, Ulan-Ude, 2006 Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, Buddhist Paintings in Buryatia, Buddhist Himalaya: A Journal of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, vol. VII, no. I, II, 1996, p. 7 Ts.-B. Badmazhapov, Buddhist Paintings in Buryatia, Buddhist Himalaya: A Journal of Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, vol. VII, no. I, II, 1996, p. 2 Loden Sherab Dagyab. Tibetan Religious Art, Wiesbaden, 197749
(2nd volume), Otto Harrassowitz,
Mouton, Central Asiatic Journal, Volume 39, 1995 Michael Ripinsky-Naxon, The nature of shamanism: substance and function of religious metaphor, State University of New York Press, 1993 N. L. Zhukovskaya, Cagan Ubugunov, M.N.M., 1988 Nemanova Eleanor Allekovna, The Semantics of the image of the White Elders in the traditional culture of the Mongolian people, Library catalogue of Russian and Ukrainian Theses , Ulan-Ude, 2004, V. Ovchinnikov, Shambalyn-sereg-lamaistskaya svyaschennaya voina (Shambalyn sereg a holy war of Lamaists), Nauka i religiya 15/12, 1973, translation Lubos Belka Victor M. Fic, Professor Emeritus, Brock University, Book review: Tibetsky buddhismus v Burjatsku, by Lubos Belka Journal of Global Buddhism, no. 4, 2003 Walther Heissig, New Material on East Mongolian Shamanism, Asian Folklore Studies, Bonn Vol. 49, 1990 W. Kolarz, Religion in the Soviet Union, Macmillan Press, 1961
The presented works are extracted from the recent exquisite catalogue, a restored version of the Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, John F. Avedons The Buddhas Art of Healing, Tibetan Paintings Rediscovered, Rizolli, New York 1998 and Deborah Ashencaen and Gennady Leonov, The Art of Buryatia, Buddhist Icons from Southern Siberia, Spink, 1996