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Giuseppe Tucci: Tibetan Painted Scrolls

„Unsere Psychologie muß ans Leben heranreichen, sonst bleiben wir einfach im Mittelalter stecken.“ C. G. Jung

Giuseppe Tucci:

Band I: TIBETAN PAINTED SCROLLS.
Band II: TIBETAN PAINTED SCROLLS || AN ARTISTIC AND SYMBOLIC ILLUSTRATION | OF 172 TIBETAN PAINTINGS PRECEEDED BY A SURVEY | OF THE HISTORICAL, ARTISTIC, LITERARY AND RELI-|GIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF TIBETAN CULTURE. WITH | AN ARTICLE OF P. PELLIOT ON A MONGOL EDICT, | THE TRANSLATION OF HISTORICAL | DOCUMENTS AND AN APPENDIX | ON PREBUDDHISTIC IDEAS | OF TIBET.
Three volumes, the complete set.

Rom: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato for Libreria dello Stato, 1949.

Folio. ca. 420 × 296 mm. I: XV, [1 blank], 327, [1 blank], [1], [1 blank] pp., folding table after p. 84. — II: VIII, pp. (329)-798, [1], [1 blank] pp., genealogical tables after p. 706. With together 134 figures in the text. — III: Large folio. 490 × 332 mm. [4] pp., 25 (numbered A to Z) color phototype plates, 231 black and white phototype plates (numbered 1 to 231), [4] pp.

Volumes 1 & 2: original red silk, gilt, upper edges gilt, others uncut. Volume 3: original red silk portfolio, gilt, with inner folding silk chemise.

First edition. One of 750 numbered copies, of a total edition of 775. Printed on Umbrian Paper (Fabriano). One of the key works in the field. From the library of the American Buddhist poet Gary Snyder, who has signed neatly at the base of each title page, with date of acquisition: 1974.

Very light fading to the spines, one corner of volume three slightly bumped, else near fine copy of this magnificent work. Scarce.

Erste Ausgabe, eins von nur 750 numerierten Exemplaren. Goldgeprägte mattrote Original-Seideneinbände und ebensolche Mappe. Ein schönes Exemplar aus der Sammlung des amerikanischen Dichters Gary Snider mit dessen Besitzeinträgen auf den unteren Rändern der Titelseiten. Unübertroffenes Standardwerk.

First edition. Yakushi T119 - Chand 86 – BibliographienBuddhismus.

 

Die Abbildungen zeigen den Dharmakāya-Buddha, धर्मकाय बुद्ध, Vajradhara, वज्रधर; den Heruka, हेरुक, bzw. Yidam, ཡི་དམ་ (abgekürzt aus ཡིད་ཀྱི་དམ་ཚིག་, yid-kyi-dam-tshig, Skt. इष्टदेवता, iṣṭadevatā, cf. δαίμων), Cakrasaṃvara, चक्रसंवर; und den Dharmapāla, धर्मपाल, Hayagrīva, हयग्रीव.

In Anagarika Govindas: Grundlagen tibetischer Mystik stieß ich auf die Sādhanamālā, साधनमाला, und dieses Buch, das ich mir erstmals in der Berliner Staatsbibliothek anschaute. Die Sādhanamālā kaufte ich noch als Student antiquarisch und übersetzte einen kleinen Teil, der mich besonders interessierte. Diese Ausgabe der Tibetan Painted Scrolls erwarb ich viele Jahre später als Antiquar aus den USA, es folgten einige der ebenso großen Nachdrucke, die auf neueren, teils besseren Photographien basieren.

Psychologie und Selbstfindungsprozesse müssen nicht allein ans Leben reichen, sondern ins Leben, sich einpassen und sich mit ihm ändern. Darum erstarren Religionen ohne Anpassung und Modernisierung, Yoga verkommt zu Gymnastik, Meditation zum Zeitvertreib mit Traumbegleitung. Der tibetische Buddhismus entwickelte sich zum Schulsystem, von Ngöndro, སྔོན་འགྲོ་, sngon ’gro, zu Sādhanas, साधन, oder gleich zum theoretischen Studiengang mit Abschluß Geshe, དགེ་བཤེས་, dge bshes. Europäern liegt der Zugang zu solchen Bildern oder Mandalas, मण्डल, eh fern, es fehlt der geistige Hintergrund aus vielen hundert Jahren, ohne ihn muß er erarbeitet werden und bleibt meist ein Kopfprodukt, wird keine Basis geistiger Entwicklung. Die hier entstandenen Systeme sind weniger verbreitet, eher subjektiv oder von wie für kleinere Gruppen ersonnen, wie z. B. Tarot, Mythologie, Architektur und Gärten, siehe die Verweise unten.

 

Giuseppe Vincenzo Tucci

Giuseppe Vincenzo Tucci, geboren 5. Juni 1894 in Macerata; gestorben 5. April 1984 in San Polo dei Cavalieri bei Rom. Autodidaktisch erlernte er Hebräisch, Chinesisch, Persisch und Sanskrit, besuchte die Universität von Rom, studierte ab 1925 Buddhismus, Tibetisch und Bengalisch an der von Rabindranath Tagore gegründeten Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West-Bengalen, und unterrichtete dort Italienisch und Chinesisch. Zusammen mit dem Philosophen Giovanni Gentile gründete er 1933 das Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, IsMEO, mit Sitz in Rom, dessen Präsident er von 1947 bis 1978 war und das 1955 mit dem Istituto italo-africano zum Istituto italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, IsIAO, zusammengelegt wurde. 1948 erhielt Tucci die Erlaubnis, den jungen Dalai Lama in Lhasa zu treffen, er war der dritte Italiener, der diese Stadt des Lamaismus betrat. Zwischen 1926 und 1954 unternahm er mehr als dreizehn Reisen und Expeditionen nach Nepal und Tibet, ab 1955 mehrere archäologische Grabungen im Swat-Tal im heutigen Pakistan, in Ghazni in Afghanistan, in Persepolis im Iran sowie im Himalaya. Zahlreiche der von ihm gesammelten Fundstücke befinden sich im 1957 gegründeten Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale zu Rom. Er unterstützte den italienischen Faschismus und Benito Mussolini. 1978 erhielt der den Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, 1979 den Balzan Preis für Geschichte. Er verfaßte mehr als 360 Bücher und Zeitschriftenbeiträge. Der Tibetologe Donald S. Lopez schreibt: „For Tucci, Tibet was an ecological paradise and timeless utopia into which industrialized Europe figuratively could escape and find peace, a cure for western ills, and from which Europe could find its own pristine past to which to return.“ Am 8. Oktober 1973 schrieb Tucci in Il Tempo: „io non credo in Dio, non credo nell’anima, non credo in nessuna Chiesa ma in tre principi soltanto: retto pensiero, retta parola, retta azione“.

Giuseppe Tucci’s Tibet, Photographs from the 1930s expeditions.

 

Aldous Huxley: Tibet

In moments of complete despair, when it seems that all is for the worst in the worst of all possible worlds, it is cheering to discover that there are places where stupidity reigns even more despotically than in Western Europe, where civilization is based on principles even more fantastically unreasonable. Recent experience has shown me that the depression into which the Peace, Mr. Churchill, the state of contemporary literature, have conspired to plunge the mind, can be sensibly relieved by a study, even superficial, of the manners and customs of Tibet. The spectacle of an ancient and elaborate civilization of which almost no detail is not entirely idiotic is in the highest degree comforting and refreshing. It fills us with hopes of the ultimate success of our own civilization; it restores our wavering self-satisfaction in being citizens of industrialized Europe. Compared with Tibet, we are prodigious. Let us cherish the comparison.

My informant about Tibetan civilization is a certain Japanese monk of the name of Kawaguchi, who spent three years in Tibet at the beginning of the present century. His account of the experience has been translated into English, and published, with the title Three Years in Tibet, by the Theosophical Society. It is one of the great travel books of the world, and, so far as I am aware, the most interesting book on Tibet that exists. Kawaguchi enjoyed opportunities in Tibet which no European traveller could possibly have had. He attended the University of Lhasa, he enjoyed the acquaintance of the Dalai Lama himself, he was intimate with one of the four Ministers of Finance, he was the friend of lama and layman, of all sorts and conditions of Tibetans, from the highest class to the lowest — the despicable caste of smiths and butchers. He knew his Tibet intimately; for those three years, indeed, he was for all practical purposes a Tibetan. This is something which no European explorer can claim, and it is this which gives Kawaguchi’s book its unique interest.

The Japanese, like people of every other nationality except the Chinese, are not permitted to enter Tibet. Mr. Kawaguchi did not allow this to stand in the way of his pious mission — for his purpose in visiting Tibet was to investigate the Buddhist writings and traditions of the place. He made his way to India, and in a long stay at Darjeeling familiarized himself with the Tibetan language. He then set out to walk across the Himalayas. Not daring to affront the strictly guarded gates which bar the direct route to Lhasa, he penetrated Tibet at its southwestern corner, underwent prodigious hardships in an uninhabited desert eighteen thousand feet above sea-level, visited the holy lake of Manosarovara, and finally, after astonishing adventures, arrived in Lhasa. Here he lived for nearly three years, passing himself off as a Chinaman. At the end of that time his secret leaked out, and he was obliged to accelerate his departure for India. So much for Kawaguchi himself, though I should have liked to say more of him; for a more charming and sympathetic character never revealed himself in a book.

Tibet is so full of fantastic low comedy that one hardly knows where to begin a catalogue of its absurdities. Shall we start with the Tibetans’ highly organized service of trained nurses, whose sole duty it is to prevent their patients from going to sleep? or with the Dalai Lama’s chief source of income — the sale of pills made of dung, at, literally, a guinea a box? or with the Tibetan custom of never washing from the moment of birth, when, however, they are plentifully anointed with melted butter, to the moment of death? And then there is the University of Lhasa, which an eminent Cambridge philosopher has compared with the University of Oxford — somewhat unjustly, perhaps; but let that pass. At the University of Lhasa the student is instructed in logic and philosophy; every year of his stay he has to learn by heart from one to five or six hundred pages of holy texts. He is also taught mathematics, but in Tibet this art is not carried farther than subtraction. It takes twenty years to get a degree at the University of Lhasa — twenty years, and then most of the candidates are ploughed. To obtain a superior Ph.D. degree, entitling one to become a really holy and eminent lama, forty years of application to study and to virtue are required. But it is useless to try to make a catalogue of the delights of Tibet. There are too many of them for mention in this small space. One can do no more than glance at a few of the brighter spots in the system.

There is much to be said for the Tibetan system of taxation. The Government requires a considerable revenue; for enormous sums have to be spent in keeping perpetually burning in the principal Buddhist cathedral of Lhasa an innumerable army of lamps, which may not be fed with anything cheaper than clarified yak butter. This is the heaviest item of expenditure. But a great deal of money also goes to supporting the Tibetan clergy, who must number at least a sixth of the total population. The money is raised by a poll tax, paid in kind, the amount of which, fixed by ancient tradition, may, theoretically, never be altered. Theoretically only; for the Tibetan Government employs in the collection of taxes no fewer than twenty different standards of weight and thirty-six different standards of measure. The pound may weigh anything from half to a pound and a half; and the same with the units of measure. It is thus possible to calculate with extraordinary nicety, according to the standard of weight and measure in which your tax is assessed, where precisely you stand in the Government’s favour. If you are a notoriously bad character, or even if you are innocent, but live in a bad district, your tax will have to be paid in measures of the largest size. If you are virtuous, or, better, if you are rich, of good family and bien pensant, then you will pay by weights which are only half the nominal weight. For those whom the Government neither hates nor loves, but regards with more or less contempt or tolerance, there are the thirty-four intervening degrees.

Kawaguchi’s final judgment of the Tibetans, after three years’ intimate acquaintance with them, is not a flattering one:

“The Tibetans are characterized by four serious defects, these being: filthiness, superstition, unnatural customs (such as polyandry), and unnatural art. I should be sorely perplexed if I were asked to name their redeeming points; but if I had to do so, I should mention first of all the fine climate in the vicinity of Lhasa and Shigatze, their sonorous and refreshing voices in reading the Text, the animated style of their catechisms, and their ancient art.”

Certainly a bad lot of vices; but then the Tibetan virtues are not lightly to be set aside. We English possess none of them: our climate is abominable, our method of reading the holy texts is painful in the extreme, our catechisms, at least in my young days, were far from animated, and our ancient art is very indifferent stuff. But still, in spite of these defects, in spite of Mr. Churchill and the state of contemporary literature, we can still look at the Tibetans and feel reassured. — On the Margin. Notes and Essays. New York: George H. Doran, 1923. pp. 106-111.