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A Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area India or Tibet


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Collection No. Tibetan Garuda Mask
Size Height 36cm (without the sand)
Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area of India or Tibet 
Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area of India or Tibet 
Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area of India or Tibet 
Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area of India or Tibet 
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Australia Aboriginal Bark Painting
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Asian Buddhist Art
The Art of Compassion The Todd Barlin Collection
Asian & Japan Scholars Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Superb Old Garuda Mask Himalaya Area of India or Tibet 

This beautifully carved old Garuda Mask has the most expressive face that is highly three-dimensional making it more sculptural than an average mask. The feathers on the top of the head are depicted as a crown showing its spiritual importance.

Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda was originally an ancient Hindu sun symbol, half vulture, half-man, who served as the vehicle of the god Vishnu and his wife, Lakshmi, and lived on a diet of Nagas (snakes).

It is not known exactly how old the Garuda is, but from the beginning of the universe, Vishnu, who maintains order, rides a Garuda. The Garuda’s body can grow to cover the whole sky or shrink to the size of a canary. Most of the time, the Garuda appears with the body of a bird with a human torso.

In Buddhist belief, Garuda became the vehicle of Vajrapani and, paired with a twin, the symbol of the transcendent Buddha Amoghasiddhi.

Garuda is yet another form in which various buddhas arise to remove disease and injury caused by Nagas and poisoning. Metaphorically the worst ‘poisons’ are desire, hatred and ignorance.

When the Garuda devours snakes and swallows the poisons of delusion, jealousy, and hatred, and then can transform them into renewed strength, illuminating his body and stretching his wings even more to soar into space.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Garuda is seen as a protective image decorating doorways and talismans. We can also see the Garuda as one of the four dignities—the four creatures representing the qualities of lungta, or the Wind Horse, one for each cardinal direction: Garuda in the north; Snow Lion in the east; Tiger in the south; and Dragon in the West (in some regions, the directions may change).

They are commonly depicted on lungta prayer flags, which flutter in the wind in high places so that the prayers written on them can be spread to the whole world. The Garuda is also a yidam, especially in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, which prescribes important specifications about his colour and implements so that the practitioner can visualize the Garuda completely.

Provenance: Old Collection Australia & The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic & Asian Art

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