Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Illuminated Manuscripts exhibition

From the 6th April -September 3rd 2012, The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City presents the exhibition 'Illuminated': The art of sacred manuscripts explores the aesthetic and technological approaches in creating and adorning books from a variety of cultures and features illuminated Tibetan manuscripts dating as early as the 13th century.

A detail of a 17th century Tibetan manuscript.
Take the link here for more details on the exhibition.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Creating a golden world

The word gser in the Petsug script
meaning 'gold'.

The Creation process of the calligraphy art piece called "Primordial Purity, Golden World"

First calligraphy in black ink that is set out with ample space to draw in a swirling leaf like pattern to be later painted and gilded. This particular calligraphy style is called Petsug script, that has a compact square bold character, purposely placed irregular as if to dance across the paper. The text translates as "the mythological golden basis/ground of our know world, that is glorious and magnificent"

Other calligraphy painted with a latex rubber masking fluid that resists any water based paint. The above detail shows the rubber mask being removed with an eraser to revile the clean white paper below. The below image shows the calligraphy in full, these words at the top of the piece are painted in a long tailed form of the cursive Drutsa script, known as 'round tailed Drutsa', that translate as 'universal, common ground of primordial purity'.

Shades of yellow ochre pigment provides a suitable base to apply both gold and copper leaf. The top and bottom calligraphy together translates as 'The universal basis of primordial purity (of our mind/being). The glorious golden ground (of our world).

Above, a detail showing gold and copper leaf mapping out the swirl pattern.

A mass of swirling gold and copper leaf reflects the light brightly on the rough texture of the water-colour paper, where light is not reflected the swirl pattern appears darker than the background yellow ochre. 

Primordial Purity, Golden World.

The universal basis of primordial purity (of our mind). The glorious golden ground (of our world)
The splendor of the universe, our world, from where we are born and return, can be experienced by us from a sacred viewpoint of our innate purity that is naturally within us. This interrelationship between heaven and earth evokes the creativity of man, expressed in words and the beauty of calligraphy.
The uppermost line of Tibetan cursive script that soars high in the sky translates as “universal, common ground of primordial purity”. Below, as if dancing among the swirling energy of the earth are black letters that translates as “the mythological golden basis of our known world, glorious and magnificent”. 
ⓒ Tashi Mannox, 
53x76 cm Dutch gold and copper leaf on a ground of acrylic paint.

Limited edition prints are also available of this art piece and two others that feature in the Sharjah Calligraphy exhibition, for all enquires and to place an order for a print, please contact Tashi Mannox here.

The word 'truth' in an ornamented Petsug script style, this is a detail of a larger art piece created for the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial 2012. this is also available as a limited edition print and is shown in full, featured here.

All images shown in this post ⓒ Tashi Mannox 2012

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial 2012

From April 1st to May 1st The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum in the United Arab Emirates hold its biennial exhibition of not only Islamic calligraphy, but for the second term running has invited internationally celebrated calligraphist of other traditions including Tibetan calligraphy to participate.

Tashi Mannox -
"i am delighted to be invited back to exhibit with the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, as i have always held a high regard for Islamic art. Islamic Calligraphy could be argued to be one of the most evolved and decorative writing systems of the world, so i feel particularly honored to be exhibiting along side such excellence. 
This time the theme "Universe" see below was given to inspire the participants in their creations for the exhibition. This lead me to create three pieces for the exhibition, exploring the interrelationship between heaven and earth, the ultimate and the relative spirit of mankind".

Two of three art pieces submitted by Tashi are shown below, the second piece "The Great Perfection Aa" can be seen in an earlier blog post here.

The Absolute and Relative Truths.

When speaking of the spirituality of man, this implies an ultimate or absolute that is pure and next to godliness. If there is ‘absolute’ then there must be ‘relative’ which can be considered mundane and unholy. These two ways of existence can be called the two truths of absolute and relative.

Psychologically in the realm of heaven and earth, the ‘absolute’ is symbolically placed above and the ‘relative’ is placed below. Just as the calligraphy, the words ‘absolute truth’ is above and ‘relative truth’ is placed below.
The Tibetan script style used is a form of ornate Petsug, typical of holy manuscripts. The lower most line of text translates as “The thatness of the two truths”.

Especially created for the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial 2012 ⓒ Tashi Mannox, 57x84 cm Chinese ink and Japanese mineral paint on Bhutanese Tsasho paper.


The Absolute and Relative Truths. ⓒ Tashi Mannox 2012

As given as a brief to the participants of the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial 2012

The letter remains not only as a means of expression within the linguistic context but also it is used as an instrument for research in the spaces of light which rules the making of time and space. This is due to the interrelationship of antitheses of the knot of existence or to the merger of components in the splendor of the universe and nature.
The artist, who through his consciousness, gets his inspiration from those possible and potential relationships, embodied in the mosaics of this great universal painting, takes the spirituality of his soul and creativity, to bring these facts closer to each other, and, discovers the individuality of the letter, being an image and an echo of the greatness of the creator and Man.
The rich experience of the artist shows that the letter is a universe by itself, from which all meanings of existence stem. It is a mirror that reflects all the visual revelations that are enriched with knowledge and infinite light, revealing a spirit extending towards psychological and subjective links.
The letter, therefore, is the key of reflection and search for similarities and differences to gain more faith.

Sharjah, as usual, opens this forum, Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial, to be a source for the creative art of calligraphy, revealing the renewable and infinite worlds of innovation in this field. In its new session, the biennial presents a new space for reflection, and  re-production, leading to an intellectual and innovative spheres, revealing an infinite artistic creativity.

Tashi Mannox looking at traditional calligraphy pens
during the opening of the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial

Islamic Calligraphy, practiced here with a bamboo pen,
Just as traditional Tibetan calligraphy.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The practice of the Bodhi

ⓒ Tashi Mannox 2012


All suffering, without exception, comes from the desire for happiness for oneself
While perfect Buddha-hood is born from the desire to make others happy. This is why completely exchanging one's happiness for that of others is a practice of the bodhisattva.

This calligraphy is based on the above prayer to develop bodhicitta, written in full of the smaller བྲུ་ཚ་ཞབས་སྒོང་མ 'round tailed Drutsa' script, a style popular in Tibet from the 1200s. The Circle of larger Uchen script is a repeat of the first line of the decree, while in the very center is the Sanskrit word 'bodhi' in uchen phonetics.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Great Perfection རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ

The Great Perfection of 'Aa'. 57x76 cm, Black Chinese ink
on heavy water-colour paper.   Tashi Mannox 2012.

The central character illuminates white and resplendently pure among aura like swirls spinning from the blackness of limitless space.
As this is the root syllable ‘a’in the classical Uchen script, the last letter of the Tibetan alphabet, from which all other sounds are produced, it is considered essentially pure and stainless. It represents the ultimate true nature of mind, which is equaled in all beings, who are countless as all the stars of the universe.
The lower line of calligraphy in the Tibetan Petsug script translates as “The ultimate true nature of the uncontrived great perfection dzogchen that is embodied and expressed in the sound of the essential syllable ‘a’.”


The above art piece "The Great Perfection Aa" was especially created for the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial April 2012, the exhibition called “Universe” hosts celebrated Islamic calligraphy artist along with a few international artist of other denominations. 

This image is now available as limited edition prints of three sizes:
Large size 57 x 60 cm or 22½" x 30" inches
Medium size 50 x37.5 cm or 19¾" x 14¾" inches
Small size 35 x 26 cm or 13¾" x 10¼" inches

The reproductions are premium-quality giclée printed, on a heavy weight museum conservation rag paper, ensuring stability and a colorfast longevity.

Each image is carefully colour matched and in sharpness to the original artwork. The prints are edition numbered and hand signed and stamped with the artists’ personal seals. 

To place a print order, please follow this link to the TashiMannox on-line store.

Constructing the art-piece,  January 2012.

The art of writing Tibetan

 Learn the art of Tibetan calligraphy with Tashi Mannox
For Beginners

From Saturday, 4th February to Sunday 5th February 2012 

Following the unprecedented success of our introductory course in Tibetan Calligraphy in June last year, The Shang Shung Institute of Tibetan Studies are very happy to be able to offer this beginners course for those who are new to the art or who wish to refine their technique by going back to basics. Tashi will explain and demonstrate the art of writing the classical Uchen script style, he will also guide participants through their own hand at forming the letters of the Tibetan Alphabet and more. This course will be followed in June by an intermediate / advanced course, as indicated below.

Saturday 4th - 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sunday 5th - 10.00am - 5.00pm
Location: Haverstock School, Room B213, 24 Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm, London NW3 2BQ 
See Map

Price: £125 (Discounts for Students / Low Income and Dzogchen Community members)

 Learn the art of Tibetan calligraphy with Tashi Mannox
For intermediate/advanced

From Saturday, 23rd June to Sunday 24th June 2012

This intermediate / advanced course follows on from the beginners course held earlier in the year also with The London Sang Shung Institute of Tibetan Studies.

For bookings as above.

The above two diagrams show the proportionate grid that the classical Uchen script style is based on.
The size of the grid is determined by the width of the brush or pen nib. One width equals one part, two parts 3 x 3 makes a grid of nine squares that the main body of each letter of the alphabet is applied to. There are 9 of the 30 letters of the Tibetan alphabet that have long tails, an addition of 6 parts is measured below the grid to allow the uniformed length of the tails and the subjoined letters. Likewise, 6 parts are marked above the grid/head of the letters to allow uniformed placement of the 3 of the 4 vowel signs.

For calligraphy that is pleasing to the eye, especially of the classical Uchen script, much like the proportionate beauty of the classical Roman script, that both traditions depend on the discipline of the proportionate construction, it is important to form the letters within the bounds of the grid, yet not shy to fill the grid space generously.

- Tashi Mannox 11-1-2012