03 April 2008

Tibetan Woodblock Proof


I couldn't resist taking a proof from the Tibetan woodblock I bought a couple of weeks ago. The block has ink residue on it, or perhaps has been treated, so that there's a waxy quality that repelled my water-based ink a bit, but I love how it looks. I found an internet site that describes the method of woodblock printing used in Tibet and it says that, like the Japanese and Chinese, Tibetans traditionally have used water-based inks.

In Tibetan language the woodblock is called parshing. Par means print and shing means wood. I believe that this design is called "The Wind Horse," although there seem to be two types of Wind Horse flags. One type has a horse in the middle and in the 4 corners are the four majestic mystical animals: the snow-lion, garuda, dragon and tiger. The other type has only prayers or mantras on it without the animals. This block seems to be a blend of the two, as it has both the 4 animals and some mantras, but no wind horse.

I have an idea for working with this block that I'll be starting tonight...


Sue said...

That's so interesting, I bet it will somehow find it's way into a Tibetan print! I see it also bears the endless knot and the conch, two of the eight auspicious symbols.

I'd love to wind some prayer flags about the branches of our apple tree, to catch the wind off the fens...maybe I will, one day.

Annie B said...

Hi Sue,
Yes, it's finding its way into a print this weekend...

Dan said...

The first line is the mantra

Om vagishvari Mum. (Repeated again on line 4.)

It's mantra of Sarasvati, who is like the Indian patron goddess of arts, especially literary arts and music. She's usually depicted in iconography holding the Indian musical instrument the Vina.

I'm not an expert at reading this form of Indian 'ornamental' scripts (done in Tibetan style of course), but I can see that much clearly.

Line 5 reads the famous Om mani padme hum.

inkessential said...

Dan is right on the mantra identification, the Script is an ancient form of Sanskrit called Lanza, which in this woodblock, has been 'Tibetanized' somewhat.

did you ever do a woodblock based on this ? i would be interested to see.

Annie B said...

Hi Inkessential. Click here to see what I did with this Tibetan block.