The piece that sits next to me is the front inside cover of “Shambala, the Sacred Path of the Warrior,” by Chogyam Trungpa. The description of the piece is that it is “the Shambala dragon.” I’ll attempt to be a little more descriptive.
The paper looks very much like it’s been waterlogged or aged with water. The fibers are wrinkled and almost wavy, giving it the look and feel of finding a treasure at the bottom of someone’s safe deposit box, underneath the gold coins, firearms, cassette tapes with all that blackmail and an old lock of hair, still tied with a black elastic hair tie.
More interesting is the fact that the color of the paper is the most royal blue I’ve ever seen. It seems to radiate indigo, royal purple and caribbean ocean blue just by looking at it. The Shambala dragon and accompanying sky designs and framing is produced in flat bas relief, meaning the dragon is rendered in the frankly amazing blue color, etched out of the background by gold leaf, with no depth or perception lines. The page lends itself to looking like a rough draft of a new kind of money or decree by monarch, meant to relieve some felon of their head or keep them from that fate.
When studying the objects that are occupying the attention of the flaming, flying water dragon, it looks very much like a ball of perception and knowledge exploding from the gaze of the gorgeous mythical goatlionwolfkoiram, almost like the flames, or tendrils of attention, or rainbows of mind-thoughts from the object induce a further experience that the dragon wants to enjoy.
This all fades as I move the paper through the direct sunlight, changing the reflection of the gold leaf and reversing the image, lending yet another point of view. I may sign up to be a Shambala dragon on some future incarnation…