Phallic door painting, Tongra, 2002

Phallic door painting, Tongra, 2002

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The Tantric Buddhist world view sees physical as well as spiritual reality as a duality of inner and outer realms—the inner realm female, the outer male.

Inner tantric rights are seen as more important than outer rights as they empower life source and creation. The outer rights (Father Tantra) cultivate protection through the practice of “blissful awareness”; the inner rights (Mother Tantra) focuses on enlightened awareness through the cultivation of “pure light” through desire.

The phallus is a good luck symbol to the Bhutanese. Phallus paintings drive away evil spirits and protect the sacred inner realm of home and hearth—protecting the wealth of the family. Carved wooden phalluses are hung from the eaves in the four corners of a house to further ward off demonic forces.

In Bhutan, the phallus as a religious symbol pre-dates Buddhism and was enshrined in the Drukpa Kagyu tradition by Bhutan’s 16th century “divine madman” and patron saint, Drukpa Kinley. Kinley referred to his phallus as “the thunderbolt of flaming wisdom” and used wine, women, and song to teach “crazy wisdom”.

The hard-drinking dropout monk gained enlightenment at an early age then spent the rest of his time as a licentious beggar, roaming the country, performing miracles, mocking nobility as well as clergy, playing with the girls and singing the path of Dharma.

From BHUTAN: Hidden Lands of Happiness, by John Wehrheim (Serindia 2011)

Prints are on Hahnemuhle heavyweight (315 gsm) 100% archival cotton “Photo Rag Baryta” paper, using archival inks and archival spray coating. They have a 200-year life expectancy before any deterioration of the print will be observed when stored, handled, and displayed under archival conditions.

What is often called “Gallery Wrap Canvas” is a fine art inkjet (Giclee) print on canvas, with printed edges to wrap around a wooden stretcher frame, like a painting. With canvas prints, your print image is still the same size, but given a "wrap effect" around the edges to account for the thickness of the stretcher. Canvas can be rolled and shipped with no effect to the print. Your local framing shop should be able to mount the canvas to stretchers at a fraction of the cost of traditional framing, making for an overall more economical way to get fine art on your wall. The canvas is printed to wrap around a 1-inch stretcher (1.5 inches on larger sizes). Specifications will be provided with your order. Feel free to contact us if you need guidance with your canvas order.

John prints, titles, dates, and signs all of his photos.

CUSTOM ORDERS: For custom orders of prints shipped flat, framed, or as stretched canvas, contact