Carpet of Flayed Man, 19th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

This type of carpet is a rarely seen example of Tibetan Buddhist art, which emphasizes ritual as a means toward heightened spiritual awareness. Each rite is believed to remove obstacles on the path to enlightenment. Often depicting either flayed animal or human skins, these carpets were reserved for the highest order of initiated monks, placed within the ghorkong, a cloistered monastic site dedicated to fierce protective deities, and serving as a sacred seat of power for the practitioner. While the imagery may prove gruesome—many have elaborate borders with severed heads—the finely woven compositions manifest a form a meditational practice in which one visualizes bodily detachment on the path to a release from human suffering.

Carpet of Flayed Man
Accession Number
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