Tibetan Calendar Leaf c. 1850


A delightfully illustrated original leaf from a mid 19th century Tibetan calendar.  


Recto: Tibetan manuscript text written within red-ruled borders surrounding pen and wash illustrations of the monkey, dog, bird and pig.


Verso:  As Recto, with a further two illustrations of a hare dressed in monk’s robes and accompanied by an elephant, and a dragon in monk’s robes holding a bow and arrow. 




Date:  c.1850


Condition:  The leaf is in good condition.  The manuscript text is sharp and clear and the pen & wash illustrations on Recto are in very good condition. A stain in the bottom margin doesn’t intrude into the text or illustration.  There is age-related edge staining at the edges from devotional use and exposure. Sections of the text on Verso have been obscured. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Mounted in archival materials, ready to frame.  Size of leaf: 80x305 mm.

Postage within Australia $15.  Overseas, ask for quote.  Please note that postage is invoiced separately.


Notes:  The Tibetan calendar is a lunisolar calendar, i.e. the Tibetan year is composed of either 12 or 13 lunar months, each beginning with a new moon.  A thirteenth month is added approximately every 3 years, so that an average Tibetan year is equal to the solar year.  Each year is associated with an animal and an element.  The animals alternate in the following order: Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Ape, Bird, Dog, Pig, Mouse, Bull & Tiger.  The elements alternate through: Fire, Earth, Iron, Water & Wood. The element-animal designations recur in cycles of 60 years, the first of which started in 1027, based on the Sri Kalachakra Tantra (Wheel of Time Tantra), which was translated into Tibetan from Sanskrit in this year.  

The Kalachakra system connects the movements of heavenly bodies, such as the cycles of the sun and moon, with the activities of an individual person.  The rhythms and movements of the astronomical bodies are considered to be an extension of the external and internal self, so that the relationships of the planets and stars, an individual’s physical body and the internal complex of his or her emotions are placed in the context of a unified system.  This system calculates the combination of the element ruling the lunar constellation with the element of the planet governing each day, to determine the suitability of the day for the person’s activities.


In the 13th century, Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to Mongolia by the Tibetan scholar Chögyal Pagpa , who became a teacher of Ghengis Khan’s grandson Khubla Khan -  the ruler of Mongolia at the time.  Subsequently the Mongolian calendar was converted to the Tibetan Kalachra system.

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