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thangka painting


Thangka is a Tibetan term that has two syllables ‘Thang’ which means ‘A plain surface’ and ‘Ka’ means an image. So, Thangka literally means ‘Image on the plain surface’. So, this artwork is a divine portrait.

As a matter of fact, Thangka Painting is a strict work of art representing consecrated occasions and messages in an extraordinarily treated cotton fabric. Thangka Painting has been created over hundreds of years, molded, and impacted by strict practices.

The compositions depend on the different parts of the psyche that comprise our viewpoints, feelings, burdens, and shrewdness fundamental inside all of us. Mental angles have been embodied in Thangkas.

History of Tibetan Thangka Art

Tibetan Thangka is a Nepalese fine art traded to Tibet, it is said, in the seventh hundred years after Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal, a girl of Ruler Lichchavi and a spouse of Songtsan Gampo. Fine art began in Nepal however more probably came a lot later than the seventh hundred years.

An early thangka was utilized to show individuals the existence of Buddhist figures. It is said that lamas circumvented teaching the dharma and conveyed thangka looks to delineate their message. The Menri type was recognized by its lively tones and a focal figure encompassed by occasions and individuals in his day-to-day existence.

Types of Thangka

Thangkas comes in different types and sizes. Little ones are just a few centimeters wide, and enormous ones are several meters across. The monster Thangka kept in the Potala Castle is in excess of 50 meters in length.

Among the various sorts are weaved Thangka, applique Thangka, woven artworks finished with fine silks and gold strings, Thangka with silk-woven pictures, and Thangka with heaped weaving.

The most trademark is the Thangka with “heaped weaving”. It is made out of painstakingly picked brocade with various tones and plans. Every one of the strings sewn on the fabric is made by tangling shaded silk and ponytail hair.

Some are part of the way decorated with adornments. The masterfulness and craftsmanship can be exceptionally muddled and perfect.

Thangkas can be made in a wide variety of techniques: silk tapestry with cut designs, color printing, embroidery, brocade, appliqué, and pearl inlay. Letters are decorated with pearls, coral, turquoise, gold and silver.

Just to understand Thangka products in a better way, there are four main kinds of thangka and they are:-

1) embroidered thangka
2) lacquered thangka;
3) applique thangka;
4) precious bead thangka.

Materials and background about Thangkas

In terms of the material, thangkas can be divided into two types:1) gos-thang, made of silk, and; 2) bris-thang, made of shade. The gos-thang is imprinted on the material while the bris-thang is painted on the material, the biggest bris-thang is 3 meters in length and 2 meters wide while the littlest one is around 30 centimeters in length and 20 centimeters wide.

The gos-thang thangka is called gos-sku. It is too huge to even consider hanging up and is just utilized in a few exceptional strict customs. At Potala Royal residence, there is a gos-sku that is 55.8 meters long and 46.81 meters wide, made during the fifth Dalai Lama period seventeenth 100 years.

There is a thangka in one of the houses of prayer of Trandruk Cloister, addressing Chenrezi very still, made of pearls. The Thangka is two meters in length and 1.2 meters wide. The heaviness of the entire thangka is over 1.3kg.

Above all, this thangka is made of 29026 bits of pearls, one jewel, two rubies, one sapphire, 0.3 grams of turquoise, eight grams of gold, and different gemstones. The thangka has been passed down from age to age without being harmed or lost during the mayhem of political battles and wars.

Top most popular Thangka Paintings

Thangkas are viewed as Buddhist iconography, each painting will emblematically address divinities and sections in light of the lessons of the Buddha. A few well-known ones incorporate Yama (passing), Kubera (riches), Begtse (war), White Tara (empathy), Manjushri (insight), and Vajrapani (influence).

Tibetan Style Thangka Paintings

In Tibetan Thangka artistic creations Thangkas’ ways can be moved up and looked over, painted, weaved, and can be made of mosaic. The structure taken by Thangka is upward rectangular in shape. First outlined by material for the most part borders (red and yellow) in variety and frequently mounted on the proceeded with Chinese and Nepalese brocade.

Thangkas Tibetans have an extremely characterized ensemble that plays out a level of chance in the lustrous and gleaming regular shade. The flight of Tibetan Thangka could be continued in the eighteenth hundred years.

The Tibetan Thangkas can be submitted types or symbols, Mandala, Buddha and Bodhisattvas, watchmen and Yidams, and Thangka Bardo. Each Thangka is viewed as a contemplation, bringing significance not exclusively to the model and craftsman yet to every single person. Human expressions frequently represented explicit reasons, as a rule, a visual Request to a divinity.

Newari Style Thangka Paintings

Newar is an ethnic group of people in Kathmandu valley and Newari expressions impact the advancement of Tibetan compositions.

Artistic expressions prospered later, in the fifteenth and sixteenth hundred years. Tibetan reliance on Newar in the way of painting was in the long run supplanted by the regular Tibetan style.

The presence of the osmosis steady, and the reception of groundbreaking thoughts in social elements prompted two improvements in Tibetan canvases from the fifteenth century in light of Newar Indo-Chinese and first components. Newari craftsmanship has a huge impact apparent in the model on Tibetan canvas

Main Types of Thangka Paintings

The subjects of the compositions incorporate history, strategy, culture, public activity, etc. The Thangka gave over from old times are for the most part works of Tibetan.

Wheel of Life Thangka Paintings

Wheel of Life is a detailed representation of the basic Buddhist belief in Tran’s migratory existence or the theory of rebirth. The wheel is held in the embrace of Shenje, ruler of the dead, showing that all beings must eventually death. It is said to symbolize the people of the fear of death and hideousness to cling to life.

Outside the wheel is a figure of Buddha, which is free of all moral and mental barriers that may prevent all living beings to attain enlightenment. His presence outside the wheel implies his escape life cycle. The wheel is divided into three parts: the axle, spokes, and rim.

The axle affirms the first noble truth of Buddhism which holds that suffering exists; the purpose of the Mahayana Buddhist teaching is to relieve all beings from suffering.

The axle outside, or rim, the event shows a white sky and a black hell. The spokes of the wheel divide the world into six areas sensual, the gods, demi-gods, men, hungry ghosts, animals, and hell.

Mandala Thangka Paintings

Mandala (which in a real sense implies a circle) is an arrangement of contemplation, frequently utilized in reflection. It tends to be utilized as a visual guide for fixation and reflection introversive prompting the improvement of instinct and the enactment of powers that prompted “Siddi” and obviously, the Mandala is a realistic portrayal of this interaction.

It is a down-to-earth instrument for the acknowledgment of the actual interaction. There are many sorts and assortments of mandalas relying upon the idea of holiness Focal.

Life of Buddha Thangka Artistic creations

It shows the phases of the existence of Buddha from birth to death. He portrays his life since its origination, youth as a youthful ruler from Kapilvastu in Nepal (Lumbini), who is his disappointment with this life who accompanied how he might interpret the intrinsic human misery, has invested his energy meandering as a plain, his definitive fulfillment of illumination under a Bodhi Tree, and its endeavors to teach his kindred people.

Thangka Painting School in Boudha Stupa Kathmandu

The Thangka Painting School in Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu is a renowned school that teaches the traditional art of Thangka painting. Thangka painting is a unique art form that originated in Tibet and has been practiced for centuries. It involves the painting of intricate and detailed Buddhist religious images on silk or cotton using natural pigments and gold leaf.

The Thangka Painting School in Boudha Stupa is located in the heart of the Boudhanath Stupa complex, which is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal. A group of Nepalese artists established a school in 2008 with the aim of preserving and promoting the traditional art of Thangka painting.

The school offers courses for both beginners and advanced students, with a focus on the traditional techniques and styles of Thangka painting. The courses are taught by experienced artists who have studied and practiced the art for many years. Students learn the skills of sketching, coloring, and painting, as well as the traditional iconography and symbolism of Buddhist art.

Additionally they offer short-term courses and workshops for tourists and visitors who want to learn the basics of Thangka painting or create their own Thangka paintings. These courses are taught in English and provide an introduction to the history and philosophy of Thangka painting.

In general, the Thangka Painting School in Boudha Stupa is a great place to learn the traditional art of Thangka painting in a supportive and inspiring environment. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and learn a valuable skill that has been passed down through generations.

Top five schools for Thangka Paintings in the Kathmandu Valley.

Thangka painting School is a community of artists creating traditional Buddhist and Hindu paintings called Thangkas and Mandalas. And here are the top five school that is famous for Thangka and Mandala Paintings in Nepal.

i) Sunpati Thangka Painting school, Changu Narayan.

ii) Tsering Art School, In Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal•

iii) Rincheling Thanka Gallery and Art School, (Near the Swayambhunath) Kathmandu, Nepal•

iv) Old Monastery Thanka Painting Art School, (Art gallery) Kathmandu, Nepal.

v) Heritage Thangka Gallery & Art School, Boudhnath Stupa.


Thangka paintings are important tools to depict Buddha and his teachings as well as that of other deities and bodhisattvas. The most prominent subject is the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life) which is how the art of enlightenment is visually represented.

Painting on Thangkas is not an easy job as you should maintain several steps to follow to make ready a Thangka. Basically, it takes a week to make ready a Thangka painting but of course, it depends on the quality and objects. However let us know who else wants to know the mystery behind THANGKA PAINTING.

About Author

I am Ammar Raj Guni, a university graduate and also a licensed holder trek tour guide, and mountain guide working since 2001 AD. I am a photographer, and an entrepreneur, that loves finding new places and getting out in nature.

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