Jonathan – tome 17 – La Piste de Yéshé – planche 9, vignette 1
  See it in the Museum
India and Nepal
Orientation 1
Wall object 3

ABE 001

 Code: ABE 001

  Country: Switzerland


  Date: 2021

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: Unknown

  Materials: Reproduction couleur

Enter Tibet with Jonathan
Coming out of a valley and desert landscape, the traveler, welcomed by stupas, arrives in a small village overlooked by a monastery. Chemrey in Ladakh inspired Yeshé monastery represented on this image.

In Buddhism, stupas represent the Buddhas’ awakened mind. These are essentially reliquaries and funerary monuments containing relics. The different parts composing a stupa symbolize the five elements and the wisdoms of the five Buddha families: 
-       The square base known as the “throne” symbolizes the earth and stand for the wisdom of equality. 
-       The cylindrical bulb symbolizes water and stand for the mirror-like wisdom.
-       The conical spire symbolizes fire and stand for the wisdom of discriminating awareness.
-       The parasol crowning the spire symbolizes air and stand for the all-accomplishing wisdom.
-       The sun, moon and jewel symbolize space and vacuity, and stand for the wisdom of absolute expanse. 
Stupas come from India, and in Tibet, they are called chörten. They are the most widespread Buddhist architectural constructions and can be found across Asia in different shape and size. If the first stupas were built to enclose the physical relics of the historical Buddha, soon they were used to contain the remains of saintly religious figures of Tibet, such as Dalaï lamas, accomplished masters, and scholars. There were thousands of stupas scattered across Tibet, many of which were destroyed during Chinese Cultural Revolution. Stupas can also exist in smaller size, as portable reliquaries. The examples presented in the museum are consecrated with religious texts, mantra formulas semiprecious stones long-life pills, grains, and so forth. In Tibet, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sikkhim, stupas possess domes shaped as bulbs. Their apparent simplistic shape possesses complex symbolism with many different levels of interpretation.

You can find many examples of stupas inside the museum, especially in the Emporium. 
Outside the museum stands a beautiful modern custom-made stupa buit on the personal request of Alain Bordier. It was installed and duly consecrated during a ceremony in 2014 (more information are available in the ABR 039 record and on the museum’s blog at