Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

12.19 Mongolian Maitreya Festival

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This painting was created by Dharmapala Thangka Centre on basis of a painting of the Mongolian modern painter G. Dorj *]. It shows the so called "Maitreya Festival"

The Maitreya Festival was created by the Gelugpa founder Tsongkhapa on New Year's Day, 1409. The Maitreya Festival was placed in a landscape studded with flowers, sacred jewels, and peaches. Two groups of monks, wearing pointed hats rimmed in black fur, lead the procession (above and below). A central group of five lamas stands in front of the Maitreya cart. The head lama is dressed in a maroon pleated robe with a double dorjee on his back and yellow cockscomb hat. The four others who tend the riderless white horse that also marks Maitreya's royal status-precedes the green horse headed cart carrying his image.

Two monks steady the Maitreya, who appears as a youthful bodhisattva, while the Future Buddha himself; seated on a lotus in the European position, legs down, hovers above the statue, as if he if descending into it. This apparent sacralization of the figure of Maitreya recalls an incident recorded by the nineteenth century monk-historian Dharmatala, who wrote that the Sixth Dalai Lama urged his followers to worship a certain image of Maitreya because "the true Maitreya Buddha descended from Heaven and sank into this image" and added that "whatever happens, do not forget that I have entered this Maitreya circle and become one with it."

Ranks of monks surround the central group of lamas who represent the yellow, religious side of the Mongol hierarchy. They roll drum carts, play hand drums, blow on Iong horns, carry elaborate parasols, and hand out strings of prayer beads. Behind Maitreya's cart are elegantly dressed representatives of the black, secular government and other lay devotees, including women in the classic cow-horn headdress.

The Maitreya Festival was one of the most splendid in Outer Mongolia, it was held near the end of spring.

Crafting and renovating the horse-headed cart and the other accoutrements of the ceremony were regular monastic responsibilities.

*] published in ""Mongolia - The Legacy of Chingis Khan", catalogue of an exhibition organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, page 172 - 175. Some Parts of the description are used above.

Measurements: 13.8 x 46.1" | 35 x 117 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Color: Color Version
Material: Natural Stone Colors