matthieu ricard

La libation d'or

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About the artwork

The sacred Dance of the Golden Libation (serkyem) at Shechen Monastery, Nepal. Cham, the Tibetan Buddhist sacred dance form, uses masks, costumes, and visualization to combine meditation and pure movement in a form of prayer. The dance must spring forth from emptiness, free of attachment, as a rainbow forms in space, wrote a great seventeenth-century Tibetan master. In this particular dance, twenty-one dancers wear large black headdresses surmounted by a sun and a moon, and carry silver mirrors on their breasts. They dress in brocades and multicolored scarves and also wear a black apron embroidered with a terrifying face. The dance is intended to bless the monastery?s courtyard: during the annual festival, it will become the mandala inside which the dancers will perform. 1988

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