Metal and Stone Vestiges
Religion, Magic and Protection in the Art of Ancient Tibet
This unusual red ochre composition appears to be a ‘flaming jewels’ (norbu membar) symbol. It was probably created before 1300 A.D. and the disappearance of the Bonpo from most parts of the southeast Changthang. Like many of the Bon symbols we have already encountered, this depiction is at variance with more recent Buddhist design conventions. The pair of spirals and the pair of circles near the base of the painting seems to represent jewels and the seven points, flames. The ‘flaming jewels’ motif however typically has three jewels, not four. Alternatively, this enigmatic composition could possibly be a torma, a diverse class of sacrificial offerings. Like this painting, some torma have multiple points or peaks.
all text & images © John Vincent Bellezza