"Utterly false, utterly undeniable" visual strategies in the Akanistha Shrine murals of Takden Phuntsokling monastery

Rob Linrothe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This essay argues that the design strategies of the murals in the Akanistha Shrine, the top-floor shrine at Tāranātha's Takden Phuntsokling, were intended to provoke in the viewer a type of absorption compatible with Tibetan Buddhist values. This would have been in line with contemporaneous recognition of the potential for consecrated works of art to provide direct contact with the deity depicted. By eliminating framing and boundaries between scenes, minimizing inscriptions, employing the gaze to foster internal and external coherence, and using detailing, highlighting, and a painterly illusion of proximity, the murals invite the beholder to engage with an aesthetic of presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-187
Number of pages45
JournalArchives of Asian Art
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • 'Og min lha khang
  • Absorption
  • Akanistha Shrine
  • Kālacakra
  • Takden Phuntsokling
  • Tibet
  • Tibetan art history
  • Tāranātha
  • Visionary experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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