Sculptures Celebrate the Lineage of the Karmapa

7 March, 2016 — Tergar Monastery, Bodhgaya

Each year at the Kagyu Monlam, and continuing afterward in the shrine hall at Tergar Monastery, tall sculpted images known as tormas grace the altars with their lofty elegance. Both new and experienced artists worked for over a month to create these exquisite images. The artists make many of their own tools and spend the first couple of days preparing their colorful wax-butter palette. The wax butter is made from a combination of paraffin, Dalda (a brand of Indian margarine), imported pastry margarine, and oil paint.

This year the tormas portray all sixteen Karmapas, each one distinct in personality, in the emblems they carry, and in their setting. The central figures of the four elaborately decorated tormas are the First to Third Karmapas and, in harmony with the theme of celebrating the life and deeds of the 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, he is the main image in the final one. In addition to the Karmapas, each torma depicts a set of traditional offerings, placed below the main image. At the base of the torma, are four powerful animals—a white lion and an ox from the usual world of animals, and the precious horse and precious elephant from the special world of the mandala offerings.

The diagrams below show the arrangement of the images of the Karmapas in the tormas as well as the offerings and the animals.


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