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Ritual Offerings in Tibetan Art

Ceremonial Offering Cakes (Torma)
Tibet, 17th–18th century
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
5 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (13.3 x 36.8 cm) each

Purchased with funds provided by Daniel Ostroff
LACMA (M.90.42.1a–b)

© Museum Associates/Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Ceremonial offering cakes (torma), such as those depicted in these manuscript folios, are made from yak butter, dried cheese, and roasted barley flour dough and shaped in a variety of elaborate tiered forms and sizes. They are offered to Buddhist protective deities in rituals at the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. The writing beside each torma identifies the particular deity to which it is offered and describes its components and ritual purpose.