Any visitor to a Tibetan temple will be impressed by the large number of female images that appear in wall frescos and tangka paintings, as well as in the form of sculptures and other mediums. This strong role of the feminine in Tibetan mystical art is common to the chapels of monasteries and nunneries alike as well as communal meditation hermitages and stands in sharp contrast to the predominance of male images seen in the temples of most other Buddhist countries. But who are these female buddha forms and what do they represent? What is their place in Tibet’s rich spiritual, philosophical and artistic worlds?
This book is a pioneering attempt to find answers to these important questions. It includes over a hundred full colour plates of Tibetan masterpieces from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Collections. These stand as testimony to the exhilarating beauty of the tankgas and other works as well as to the amazing skill and transformative vision of the traditional master artists. Part One also features photographs of Tibet by acclaimed photographer Marcia Keegan.
The book includes an appraisal of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism and an overview of its prominence in Tibetan art by Tibetologist Glenn H Mullin. The book appears in conjunction with the world premiere of the art exhibit, ‘Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mysticism’, which opened at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta and is traveling to several locations around the country.