Publication related to the exhibition “Demons and protectors. Folk religion in Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism” of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. The exhibition displayed artefacts of Tibetan and Mongolian folk religion from the Museum’s collection and from Hungarian private collections.
The exhibition and the publication focuses on a hitherto hardly researched topic: the visual elements of the archaic system of popular beliefs – often referred to as “folk religion” or “nameless religion” by researchers – that functions parallel with Buddhism.
The studies in the catalogue are attempts to reflect the system of the exhibition: walking around the Buddhist Wheel of Life. The volume starts with an Introduction on “popular religion” written by Béla Kelényi. The author of the first study is Gergely Orosz; he sheds light on the earliest concepts and cults of Tibetan folk religion on the basis of references on Old Tibetan Bon ceremonial texts. The next author, Géza Bethlenfalvy gives a comprehensive analysis of the demons’ world and the series of images, displayed at the exhibition and published in the volume on the basis of the system described by the Italian Tibetologist Giuseppe Tucci. Béla Kelényi deals with the cult of good fortune in three chapters, analysing not only the widely known “auspicious symbols” but the basic astrological system and the cult of the prayer flag as well, on the basis of Tibetan texts. In her study, Judit Vinkovics summarises the Mongolian aspects of folk religion and then gives an introduction to the representation of major protective deities. The author dedicates a chapter to the various types of amulets, amulet holders and the techniques of preparing amulets. Alice Sárközy deals with Mongolian depictions of hell, based on a unique painted picture book. Zsóka Gelle gives an insight into the living tradition of ancient Tibetan story tellers.