May 09, 2011

Art: The World's Biggest Wheel of Life

via Himalayan Art Resources, (HAR homepage / HAR on Facebook)

The Wheel of Life stone carving in the Dazu Grotto is very likely the largest depiction in the world. This particular model of the Buddhist cosmology, the environment and inhabitants, is based on the interpretation of one particular Chinese monk in the 12th century. Wheel of Life depictions are usually based on the Abhidharma literature of the Theravada and Sutrayana vehicles and the artistic examples that are copied or used for inspiration such as the famous Ajanta Cave depiction. Within the Vajrayana system various divergent models are presented with the foremost being that of the Kalachakra Tantra. At the Dazu Grotto we have what is possibly the worlds largest and most idiosyncratic Wheel of Life - carved from stone.

Six Interesting Things About the Wheel of Life:
1. The Earliest (oldest) painting: Ajanta Cave
2. The most correct personification of death (no ornaments)
3. The best depiction based on drawing and line work
4. Briefest symbolic depiction of the Wheel of Life
5. Most unique depiction
6. The biggest depiction (carved rock relief): Dazu, China
*From HAR

The team at Himalayan Art Resources has been quite busy recently! In the month of April alone they created over 50 news items and write ups on their site, adding around 2,000 new images to their database, which already contained over 40,000 works of art. Whether you're someone with a budding appreciation of Himalayan Art or a learned scholar within the field, there is something for everyone on HAR. Just this Sunday they revamped their Himalayan and Tibetan Masterworks Main Page, which I recommend as a good starting point for art enthusiasts who are not yet familiar with the site.

Manjushri - White
HAR 15137
Eastern Tibet
1800 - 1899
Gelug Lineage
Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Karma Gardri Painting School
Collection of Shechen Archives - photographs

*The HAR gallery of Rubin Museum of Art pieces is where we chose the works of Himalayan Art for the Tricycle Gallery!

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