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AAA at Noon: Time Travel by Thangka: Tibetan Treasures at the Asian Art Museum-San Francisco

For six hundred years, Tibet has been home to a religious tradition based on texts called the terma or treasures. Some of these texts occur in the context of thangka paintings or rare illuminated manuscripts; some were even viewed as actual bodies of the figures represented on them. Using the rich visual and narrative sources available in Tibetan thangka paintings associated with the terma tradition recovered from a monastery called Riwoche; this presentation explores how artworks associated with this tradition share many thematic and formal characteristics with tradition of speculative fiction more or less recently produced by Euro-American authors. Among these themes and characteristics are virtual bodies, time travel, altered identities, signs of a special destiny, and coded messages designed to be discovered at just the right time.

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