On a high plateau in central Asia, hidden behind an almost impassable wall, a gated land cut off by the world's tallest mountains, an extraordinary art took form. The land, austerely beautiful, is demanding and harsh: alternately sundrenched and snowdriven, whipped and scoured by fierce, ceaseless wind--a land where comfort is scarce. Yet despite its starkness, or perhaps because of it, Tibetan visionaries, focused on the perception of invisible, ultimate reality, used art to depict that fundamental truth. With that focus, rather than mirroring the land around them, painting what was literally outside their door, they developed an art of the mind, one of unforgettable energy and beauty.

This DVD presents a photographic survey of the wall paintings of three gompas or monastery-temples of Mustang, an ethnically and culturally Tibetan district in northwestern Nepal, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. The traveler to Mustang passes on foot or on horseback through an elemental world of sand, rock and wind, but finds, on the mud walls of its monasteries, a brilliant explosion of the human imagination. The viewer is transported into a different sphere, a different plane of being, embodied in this art. Wild, unearthly beings stand poised to leap, caught in a frozen moment of dance, by the side of Buddhas sitting motionless in the remote serenity of profound meditation. An invisible universe, a meta-reality, proclaims itself on mud walls where five centuries ago, artists painted a truth seen only by the mind. Mandalas, mystic diagrams, wheeling across the walls, embrace a sacred space; powerful guardian deities cloaked in flame, warriors who combat pernicious, seductive illusions, grimace ferociously and brandish fearsome weapons; intermingled among them are lithe and graceful beings, solemn in their beauty, archangels of the spirit, cosmic heroes, who stand guard over all.

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Copyright © 2003 Philip and Marcia R. Lieberman
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