Hardcover, 456 pages, 630 illustrations, Stuttgart 2020, new
Tibetan Buddhist art is not only rich in figural icons but also extremely diverse in its symbols and ritual objects. This first systematic review is an abundantly illustrated reference book on Tibetan ritual art that aids our understanding of its different types and forms, its sacred meanings and ceremonial functions. Over eighteen chapters, several hundred different implements are documented in detail, in many cases for the first time and often in their various styles and iconographic forms: altar utensils and amulets, masks and mirrors, magic daggers and mandalas, torma sculptures and prayer objects, vajras and votive tablets, sacrificial vessels and oracle crowns, stupas and spirit traps, ritual vases, textiles, furniture, and symbolic emblems. These are accompanied by many historical and modern text sources, as well as rare recorded oral material from high-ranking Tibetan masters. This long-awaited handbook is a must-have for all those with a profound interest in Buddhist art and religion.
Michael Henss is an art historian, scholar and author focusing on Asian art - particularly on that of Buddhism and Tibet - who has also contributed articles for Asian art journals, seminars and books. He currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2005-2006 he was co-curator of the exhibition The Dalai Lamas at the University of Zurich Ethnography Museum. His latest books include Buddhist Art in Tibet: New Insights on Ancient Treasures (2008) and The Cultural Monuments of Tibet, 2 volumes (2014).