Sunday, 6 February 2011

Unchanging well being,


The interlocking swastika pattern is called Sayagata in 
Japanese, meaning "gossamer figured-cloth pattern".

The Swastika is estimated to be a 3,000 year old symbol that is important to most of the worlds cultures for its sacred symbolism. A powerful image that in recent history; has been corrupted by a more unfortunate Nazis association.
The word 'swastika' is Sanskrit pronounced 'svastika'. Some of the earliest examples of the  symbol can be found in India.
Below shows the convoluted swastika pattern as part of the elaborate stone carving on the Dharmekh Stupa in Sarnath near Varanasi.
Such patterns are probably the origin of the Sayagata design, as shown above, which as a pattern on cloth, furniture, and architectural decoration, is widely reproduced across Tibet, Mongolia, China and Japan, in fact just about everywhere across the far East.

A detail of stone carving on the Sarnath stupa.

The stupa at Sarnath is built on the spot where the Buddha gave his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, known as the dear park, located North-East of Varanasi. 
The first construction of the stupa was during the reign of Emperor Ashoka (2nd century B.C.). It was later rebuilt to its present form in the early 6th century. 
In more recent times  a stone tablet was discovered in the center of the stupa with the word Dhamekha, this can be translated as Dharma Chakra, meaning "turning the wheel of the Dharma." which coincides with the records of Buddha's first sermon, when he "set the wheel of Dharma into motion."

A phoenix design by Sherab Palden Beru, adapted for Tibetan Table panels
by Tashi Mannox, note a different variation of
the convoluted swastika pattern in blue: གཡུང་དྲུང་པ་ཏྲ།

For Tibetans the swastika is used by both Buddhists and the pre-Buddhist religion called Bön, the symbol is generally differentiated by the direction that the swastika turns. The Buddhist version turns with the arms pointing clockwise  where as the Bön swastika spins anti-clockwise 

Here is an example of a 'heading' character of a Bön script called Zhang Zhung or smar-chen སྨར་ཆེན་ in Tibetan, the swastika used as part of the character is turning anti-clockwise.

More of the Zhang Zhung script spells out 'yung drung'  གཡུང་དྲུང་  in Tibetan, Which is the word used for swastika and translates as "rest unshakably" or "unchanging well-being" 

© Tashi Mannox 2011
Above is a calligraphy art piece by Tashi using the words g.young drung གཡུང་དྲུང་ to form the shape of a swastika. In India, Tibet, China and Japan, the swastika is considered a symbol of good luck. 

Sarnath stupa carving from the 6th century.

A detail from stone carvings found on the site of the Acropolis 

The famous Parthenon Παρθενων has stood proud at the Acropolis in Athens for the past 2,500 years. Like many ancient Greek architectural embellishments, the swastika σβάστικα is popular as a decorative theme. The Above carved detail is perhaps from the Roman occupation of the Parthenon, which demonstrates the favored use of the swastika as design feature.

Contemporary swastika design by Myoshka

The personal water tiger seal of Tashi Mannox
is repeated and turned to form a swastika like design.

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