Rare Tibetan Torgam

17th/18th c, pine, mineral pigments.  Rare as not many “torgams” survived; unique form and interesting auspicious decorations.
21½” h. 10¼” w. 14½” d.

Antique Buddha figure with Torgam

A torgam is a type of cabinet used to store ritual offering cakes called “torma.”  This one is an extremely rare piece because not many of this type of religious relic survived, and also because of its form and auspicious painted decoration.  It has a scalloped back panel at the top but no side ones and seems to function as a platform for a Buddha statue.  The double-doors compartment below is for holding offering cakes.

The vividly colored paintings seem to tell some folk stories, maybe of some fortuitous encounters that bode good fortune and longevity, as indicated on one panel by a deer and cranes; on another the appearance of a dragon to a scholar is a sign of achieving high status; and then cloud-forms signifying wishes to rain down from heaven.

This attractive torgam was likely commissioned by a person of high rank to be placed in a private chapel dedicated to some guardian deity in his home.  It would be an altar on which a deity figure would be placed for worship.  Such an altar/cabinet is very rare today as most would not have survived the ravage of the cultural revolution the country encountered, and Tibet has banned any antiques, especially ones of religious significance, to leave the country.  This small antique Torgam, in superb condition and with indisputable patina of old age, is a gem to collect.  (Inquire about the inclusion of a vintage seated Buddha).

Price: $7,900