The Vienna Exhibition | The way to the throne


Object Title
Object Description


Thangka; 19th century; size 125 x 77 cm.; loan from Josette Schulmann
Mahakala, literarily »Great Black One«, is interpreted as »large wrathful guardian«. Surrounded by his power in the form of a wreath of fire, he wears a five-skulled crown as token for the five wisdoms of Buddha, a chain of human skulls as a symbol for the principal of emptiness, and a garland of looted skulls as a symbol for the principal of form. As »divine personification of knowledge«, he has a third eye on his forehead.

The wrathful Mahakala
The Raven Crown

Usha charok dongcen, Chinese and English silk brocade and silk damask, silk velvet, cotton cloth inside, silk embroidery, silver-plated brass alloy, gilt sheet copper; around 1840; H: 25 cm, diameter: 23 cm; loan from the Royal Government of Bhutan
The blue body of the helmet is embroidered at its side with the legs of a bird, the folded wings of which reach up to the back of the head. The three eyes on the front reminds one of a tsen illustration. The sun-moon symbol, made of metal, is attached to the side of the forehead. Holy Buddhist syllables are engraved in gilt sheet copper right above the forehead. The bird's head is covered by half a vajra*, preserved in pieces only.

The Raven Crown

Throne cover (thrikheb), napped wool, cotton, silk embroidery; size: 130 cm x 130 cm; loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
The raised seats of secular and clerical rulers were covered by richly decorated cloths. A phoenix in the central medallion is alternately surrounded by four dragons and four kinnara, musicians with human upper bodies, wings and birds' legs. The four corners show garudas with tamed snake deities in their beaks. The cover is framed with swastika symbols which stand here for firmness and unalterability. They call upon the person on the throne to stay firmly in this world to guide the living beings to their release from the cycle of rebirths.

Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Silver, iron, animal skin; length 80 cm; on loan from a private collection
Until the beginning of the 20th century swords like this one were used as battle weapons by aristocratic, high-ranking officers. Today, only political dignitaries carry swords on official occasions. Pieces of this quality have been handed down from father to son for generations.

Against the British

The Vienna Exhibition
.  In the monastery ..
.  Gods and sacred ..
.  The teachings of Buddha
.  The becoming of Bhutan
.  The fortresses - monks ..
.  The way to the throne
.  Modern monarchy
.  Ethnic mosaic
.  The south
.  The midlands
.  The house altar
.  The kitchen
.  The high alpine ..

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