Elikhina Yu. Tangkas from the Aninsky Datsan in the Collection of the State Hermitage
The State Hermitage Museum
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
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ABSTRACT. The article examines four objects of traditional painting (thangka) stored in the State Hermitage Museum. They belong to the collection of Esper Ukhtomsky (1861–1921), chamberlain of Nicholas II, connoisseur of Orient and collector. In 1900 at the World Exhibition in Paris his collection was awarded the Large Gold Medal. All these objects come from the Aninsky Datsan, one of the largest in Buryatia; it was destroyed in the 1930s. Since the 1990s restoration of the datsan began. All the thangkas have complex iconographic compositions. Two of them belong to the Buryat School of painting; two more were painted by Chinese artists. The first thangka depicts Avalokitesvara, the deity of mercy and compassion, one of the main deities in Tibetan Buddhism, in the form of Khasarpana, with a retinue of seven bodhisattvas. The second shows the Buddha of healing, Bhaishajyaguru, surrounded by seven Buddhas. The next thangka depicts the eighth of the fifteen miracles of Buddha Shakyamuni. The last work represents an iconographic composition of the Twenty-One Taras. All the images have silk frames, are quite large and were intended to decorate temples. Therefore, these thangkas are unique objects of Buddhist art, which place of origin is known according to the tags preserved on them, which have inscriptions in the Tibetan language.
KEYWORDS: Buddhism, traditional painting, iconography, Buryatia, Aninsky Dastan
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