Melong – Altar Mirror

Melong Tibetean mirror

This is Melong, altar mirror from Tibet/Nepal. Melong is Tibetan term for looking glass or mirror. Melong is seen as a symbol reflecting things as they are, kind ofGanesh in Melong reality check.

This mirror is about 33 cm in height and meant for home worship/altar. This has four tier base with perforated design. Just above the narrow portion, flanked by the scroll work, sits Ganesha. Somewhere Ganesha was incorporated into Buddhism. Some people consider Ganesha as one of the Bodhisattvas.

The mirror is circular raised or convex surface. There are three concentric raised parts forming the rim. The rim is surrounded by decorated paisley pattern. The top portion, which includes the mirror, is designed like a flame.

Use of mirrors in home altars and in ritual worship is not uncommon in India.  The mirror is supposed to reflect right thoughts.

The mirror in this blog shows signs of age. Notice the bronze disease right at the top. This may not date prior to mid-nineteenth century.tsakli-melong

On the right is Tsakli, an initiation ritual card from Vajrayana Buddhism, showing Melong. The Tsakli paintings are similar to Thangka paintings but simpler and smaller. The example here measures 10.5 cm by 8.5 cm.

These cards are used as visualisation aids and substitute the objects depicted. In this card, the back has some inscription and hand drawn pattern.


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