Buddhist auspicious symbols (part 2)

Here are the remaining paintings in the set; Infinite Knot, Treasure Vase, Lotus and Parasol.

auspicious2

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Buddhist auspicious symbols (part 1)

I’ve been trying to find some Zen (and getting away from the news) for the past week by working on these small-scale paintings of the traditional 8 auspicious symbols used in Buddhism (and also in some areas of Hinduism). They each have a specific purpose/meaning and you often see them pictured on prayer flags. I could not find one definitive reference for the order in which they are supposed to appear, so here are the White Conch, Victory Banner, Dharma Wheel and Golden Fish. These paintings have a lot of metallic details, which unfortunately don’t translate well for screen.

auspicious1

Wet Paint: The Mask of Eternity

I have carried this image in the back of my head of a sculpture found in the Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, India. Art historians have dated the caves in the range of late 5th to late 8th century AD and they are full of Hindu and Buddhist carvings. This one is commonly known as “The Mask of Eternity”- that name alone evokes so much!

Joseph Campbell interpreted this image as being “The Mask of God; the metaphor through which eternity is to be experienced as radiance.”  The statue is a triptych piece representing a female figure on the left, God in the center and a male figure on the right. The balance of masculine and feminine, allowing us to experience the divine within.  As Campbell said, “Whenever one moves out of transcendence, one comes into a field of opposites.” Pretty powerful stuff! I’ve included a photograph of the statue as well to show the majestic scale of the original. Breathtaking!

Mask of Eternity painting by Sabina Espinet www.sabinaespinet.com

 

Mask of Eternity, Elephanta Caves, India