by Bob Schwartz
See correction below.
Celestial Gallery is simply the most astonishing visual book I own.
Words are not even close, but here is the publisher’s description:
Boldly reinterpreting the age-old Tibetan and Nepalese art form known as Thangka, Celestial Gallery offers beautifully detailed representations of mandalas, or celestial spheres. Simply gazing upon the mandalas is meant to inspire in the viewer a heightened state of intention and clarity. Master painter Romio Shrestha and his team of artisan monks have created postmodern versions of these enlightened Buddha realms from hand-ground malachite, lapis, marigolds, and other rare substances. Painted at times with a mere three hairs from the tail of a cat, these multifaceted scenes of otherworldly deities are rich with hauntingly powerful detail. Depictions of White Tara, Green Tara, the Medicine Buddha, and many other celestial beings invite and inspire meditation and reflection.
Really, those words are not even close.
Two things about the book:
It is big, 24 in. x 18 in. So you will be looking at it on a table or on the floor.
Correction: No. The edition I own is the magnificent size mentioned. The edition linked to in the post is a shelf-sized version that is still big and beautiful, just not that big. Still way worth the price.
2. It costs less than $20 on Amazon. So take out a $20 bill, if you are fortunate enough to have one to spare. Stare at the picture of Andrew Jackson for a while. Turn it over and stare at the picture of the White House for a while. Then look at the tiny pictures from the book in this post. Then think of them really big and bright and beautiful. Then buy the book.