Four harmonious animals
This is a popular Tibetan scene which is often found as wall painting in Tibetan religious buildings and represents an elephant standing under a fruit tree carrying a monkey, a hare and a bird on top of each other.
The scene refers to a Buddhist legend which tells that four animals were trying to find out who could be considered as being the oldest. The elephant said that the tree was already fully grown when he was young, the monkey that the tree was small when he was young, the hare that he saw the tree as a sapling when he was young and the bird claimed that he had carried the seed from which the tree grew. So the bird was recognized by the other animals as the oldest, and the four animals lived together in harmony, helping each other to enjoy the fruits of the tree.
- Discussion of tale on thedailyenlightenment.com
- Gege Lama, Principles of Tibetan Art. Vol. II, Darjeeling 1983, p 241.
- Sagaster, Klaus: Der weiße Lotus des Friedens. Eine moderne Interpretation Buddhistischer Symbolik. Zentralasiatische Studien, Sonderdruck 12/1978, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1978.