TYPE: Tibetan wood and hide (leather) painted chest

CIRCA: 1700’s / 18th Century


This small Tibetan chest is made of wood with leather trim fastened by metal tabs and painted with a graphic illustration known as “Mongol leading a tiger”, rarely seen on Tibetan ‘furniture’*. It depicts, as the term implies, a Mongolian lama or elder leading a tamed tiger and is more often seen on wall paintings in Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet (than on furniture). This lifelike depiction is said to have sectarian overtones that represent the supremacy of the Gelugpa (or ‘yellow hat’) school of Tibetan Buddhism over the Nyingma, or old-school ‘red hat’ sect. The illustrations on the panels are still remarkably clear, especially those on the sides, if a little surface soiled from years of use, while the chest itself is structurally sound and in very good condition for its age. (If one so desired the paintings could of course be professionally conserved to bring them back to their original glory, but overall this chest has a wonderfully aged patina as is.) An uncommon and powerful piece with a significance all its own.

*For more information on Tibetan furniture, two of note are Wooden Wonders edited by David Kamansky, and Tibetan Furniture by Chris Buckley.


SIZE: approx. 31cm x 30cm x 30cm

MATERIAL: Wood, leather, metal, paint