Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques


Painted Mahakala Torma

Torma [tib. གཏོར་མ - gtor.ma] are figures made mostly of flour and butter used in tantric rituals or as offerings in Tibetan Buddhism. They may be dyed in different colors, often with white or red for the main body of the torma. They are made in specific shapes based on their purpose, usually conical in form. A very large, central shrine torma may be constructed for festivals, though typically they are small and placed directly on a shrine, on a plate, mounted on leather or held on a special base like a skull.

The Tibetan term comes from the root gtor-ba which means to cast away, break up, or scatter. This implies both a sense of offering and of letting go or non-attachment.

Tormas are made with food and also metals such as copper, silver, gold and wood [like this one] The benefit of the metal and wood based tormas is that they are more durable than a perishable food torma.

Torma Top. Tse-Tra is the Tibetan word for Torma Top. Torma top are use for torma that are made at home as a temporary one time use or a permanent one that are made from clay or wood.

The Tibetan word «torma» has two parts. The first syllable «tor» is a verb that means to «throw out». In the Vajrayana sadhana practices, tormas made of barley flour, butter and other ingredients are literally placed outside as a gesture of making offering and generosity. The inner sense of throwing out is understood as the severing of attachment to desirable things - cutting through one’s entrapment in desire.

The second syllable «ma» is a feminine ending, which evokes a maternal, nurturing quality. Understanding the true meaning of this simple syllable is a means of cultivating loving kindness for all sentient beings much as a mother feels love for her children. So, with the first syllable one severs attachment to self-center. Having removed that obstacle, with the second syllable one may radiate love and sympathy to others. This is the rich inner meaning of offering torma.

On very few Tormas are deities [like this copy] depicted. With these illustrations it concerns then always wrathful deities. On this torma Mahākāla is depicted. Mahākāla is a deity common to Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. In both religions, he is a fierce manifestation of Shiva. Mahākāla also appears as a protector deity known as a Dharmapala [protector of the Buddhist Dharma].

Tormas have different uses. Some are created and placed on shrines for ceremonies or to represent deities. Others [food tormas] are used in feast practice and consumed by practitioners during the practice. Others are made to appease spirits, accumulate merit, or remove obstacles. They are mostly made of barley flour and butter, but traditionally other ingredients such as egg, milk, sugar, honey, and even meat may be included depending upon the purpose of the torma.

Age: unknown


PropertyValue
Measurements: 6.1 x 3.7 x 0.3 " | 15.5 x 9.4 x 0.8 cm
Price: 208 $ | 185 €
Material: Painted Wood
Download: High resolution [0.7 MB, 1135 x 1867 px.]
Inquiry / Order