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This web page was updated in October 2012
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Tibetan monastic boxes or chests were originally used in the store rooms of monasteries to hold the brocades, hangings, ornaments, Cham costumes, masks and other precious objects that were not used every day. These chests were often offered to the monastery by a sponsor, so each donor would try to use the best materials and the best artists of the time to make the box a worthy offering. They were also commissioned by the monastic authorities themselves, and would have been painted by the thankha painters of that monastery. Often large amounts of gold and the best mineral colours were used in the execution, hence some of the best examples of Tibetan furniture decoration are found on these chests. Dragons, lotus flowers and flaming jewels are amongst the most popular motifs on the boxes.

 

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