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Tibet

Astrological Wheel

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Object Details

Culture

Tibet

Medium

Thangka: opaque watercolors and gold on cloth

Dimensions

Image: 4 5/8 x 3 1/2 inches (11.7 x 8.9 cm)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase Fund

Object
Number

62.3350

This diagram shows Yama , Lord of Death, holding an astrological wheel within a ring of fire. Tibe(…)

This diagram shows Yama , Lord of Death, holding an astrological wheel within a ring of fire. Tibetans followed the same system for reckoning time as the Chinese did, that is based on twelve-year cycles within sixty-year cycles. An animal represents each year within a twelve-year cycle. Clcokwise from the top the astrological wheel shows all twelve zodiac animals: horse, ram, monkey, cock, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon and snake. In the center a blue lotus blossom, each of whose petals contains one of the eight Daoist trigrams. Its center is divided into nine compartments, each housing a sanskrit number. Colors signify the five elements: green for wood, red for fire, yellow representing earth, white symbolizing metal and blue for water. Such diagrams would serve as aids to divination.

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