Altars and Furniture

Artist Ngawang of Potala Paintings spent two years doing art work for the restoration of Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, one of largest of the more than 6,000 monasteries destroyed by the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. He is expert in design, woodworking, and constructing altars.

Artist Jamphel was also trained in the arts in Lhasa. After he left Tibet, he received intensive training in painting, design, woodworking, and altar construction from master artists at the Norbulinka Institute in Dharamsala, India.

Both artists are masters in painting and decorating all types of furniture.

Carved Altar

Carved Altar

Expert craftsmen carved this altar out of wood. It is ready to be decorated. Glass panes will enclose and protect the sacred images that will be placed within each cubicle.

Altar with Sacred Images

Altar with Sacred Images

This decorated altar in a Tibetan temple contains sacred images. Katas (white ritual scarves) give honor to the holy lamas encased in the glass enclosed cubicles. Traditional Tibetan symbols such as the dharma wheel, the double dorje and snow lions proclaim the importance of the teachings of the lamas. Vases of flowers on the bottom part of the altar give homage to the three jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sanga

Decorated Altar

Decorated Altar

The top part of this section of an altar is decorated with the Eight Auspicious Symbols: the Parasol, Joyful Fish, Treasure Vase, Lotus, Conch shell, Endless Knot, Victory Banner, and Dharma. The artist has painted a lion and the Tibean snow lion on the middle panels. He has decorated the bottom of the altar with lotus flowers and curving vines.

Door Details

Close-up of Painted Doors

The artist has painted the bottom doors of this altar with exotic birds. The door knobs are the centers of blossoming flowers.