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Soo Tze Oriental Antiques

Thangka Painting Depicting Begtse
Mongolia
19th c.
Pigment and applied gold on cotton
Dimensions: 9 ¼" x 12" (23.5cm x 30cm)

This particularly fine thangka painting executed in exquisite detail so beloved of the Mongolians dates from the 19th century. Between the sun and the moon, appears Begtse, the protector deity of Mongolia in his skull palace, constructed entirely of bleached human bones. Within a flaming nimbus, he stands in the 'militant archer' pose upon a sun disc supported by a lotus pedestal. Brandishing his scorpion-handled flaming copper sword he tramples upon the corpses of a human and a horse which lie prostrate on his sun disc. The sword is for slashing those who break their vows, and in his other hand he carries the wrenched-out heart of the enemies of the Faith. He wears a crown of five skulls; his armour is of copper and he wears a swirling garment which is of delicately patterned red silk, while the skin of a sea monster dangles from his waist. He also wears fantastical makara-headed boots and is girdled by a garland of severed human heads. He holds a bow and arrow, as well as a leather banner with an impaled human head, in the crook of his arm. His countenance is red and angry, his three eyes glaring wildly; he is bearded and moustached, with flaming brows and flying hair. His open mouth has bared fangs and his tongue moves wildly. To his left within a flaming aureole is the Red Master of Life Leken Marpo, charging on his mad blue wolf as he holds his spear aloft with one hand, while the other yanks a noose which drags along an enemy of the faith.To his right is his sister/consort Rikpay Lhamo, or Red Faced One.

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