Title:Temple BannerArtist:Artist UnknownDate:early 19th centuryCreation Place:Asia, TibetCredit Line:Anonymous gift in honor of David CredzensAccession Number:93.17
The Tibetan priesthood extensively used imported silks from China to decorate their monasteries. Temple interiors were exceptionally colorful with their silk canopies, banners, and altar frontals. This banner is typical of those that were suspended from pillars or hung from roof brackets in image rooms and lecture halls. The lower section, made from several different types of silk fragments, has such auspicious Chinese motifs as dragons, clouds, bats, and lotus flowers. Like most Tibetan banners, however, the top is dominated by a large stylized lion mask in silk appliqué. This angry manifestation protects both Buddhist doctrine and the temple where it was displayed. The mask, in turn, is topped by a circular mirror, the standard reminder that the reality we see is an illusion.