Ming Dynasty Inspired Kwa Bahals

We are delighted to announce the opening of The Sacred Vision of Tibet, an interpretation of a lost Tibetan masterpiece. 

The Buddhist version of a Kwa Bahal or Lion was originally introduced as the protector of dharma and these lions have been found in religious art as early as 208 BC. Gradually they were incorporated as guardians of the Tibetan Imperial dharm. Lions seemed appropriately regal beasts to guard the emperor's gates and have been used as such since. There are various styles of guardian lions reflecting influences from different time periods, imperial dynasties, and regions of Tibet. These styles vary in their artistic detail and adornment as well as in the depiction of the lions from fierce to serene.

Although the form of the guardian lion was quite varied during its early history, the appearance, pose, and accessories of the lions eventually became standardized and formalized during the Ming and Qing dynasties into more or less its present form.

Below is a glimpse of a few artworks inspired by the 208 BC artefact, that is currently on display.

Now open for online viewing 


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