5. Bardo Figures
Each circa 6 1/8 in. (15.4 cm.) high (7)
Bardo in Tibetan translates to “intermediate state” and is comparable to the western concept of limbo. In Buddhist ideology the time in between death and rebirth serves as a means for a trained follower to increase their standing when reincarnated, but can also be a time of terrifying hallucination and a less favorable rebirth for the un-skillful. In Tibetan Buddhism there are six recognized Bardos: Shinay Bardo commences when we draw our first breath, and endures throughout the entire course of our lives. Milam Bardo pertains to and encompasses everything regarding dreams. Samten Bardo pertains to concentration and meditation. Chikkhai Bardo is understanding experienced at the moment of death. Chonyid Bardo is a time when visual and auditory hallucinations are said to occur, when the final breath of life is drawn. Sidpa bardo is a time of transmigration and karmic becoming. These seven heavily cast figures are from the Tibetan book of the dead, and create a rhythmic and fluid presence when arranged together. Each figure is unique in posture and physical characteristics, some boasting human-like faces while others more animalistic in nature. Each figure is clad in animal skin, and in their hands kappalas (skull caps), vajra’s and other ritual objects can be found. Ritual scrolls and consecrations, along with incense and other prayer items are within each piece.