Azar (Tsam figure)

  • Азар / Ajar
  • Aǰari
  • A tsa ra
  • Ācārya
  • Tsam figure
  • begin 20th century
  • Wood
  • Height: not filled / Width: not filled / Depth: not filled
  • Collection: Hans Leder, Inv. Nr.: 74719
  • Weltmuseum Wien
  • © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM
Several small wooden figures depicting expressively characters of the Tsam dance ceremony (T. ´cham), one of the most important Buddhist festivities, form an extraordinary group within the Leder collections. Twelve figures are housed in the Weltmuseum Wien (the former Museum für Völkerkunde Wien).Two masks represent the Azar, religious scholars of India. According to old photographs there may be two or four Azar. Their masks have human faces with distorted grimaces. They are dressed in gowns of reddish-brown silk with a dark (black) fringe, belted by a dark (black) sash. Their hair is tied upwards in a bunch. Often they carry a red stick, which is missing in this figure. Being touched by the stick of an Azar was meant to be auspicious for the spectators. During their dance the drums are played. Like the figure of the White Old Man they were regarded as friendly and comic characters within the spectacle, contributing to the amusement of the audience. (cf. Pozdneyev 1978: 511-512)
© M.-K. Lang
Azar (Tsam figure)
/ Mongolia / begin 20th century / Weltmuseum Wien / © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM