Buddhist Art from Tibet



Right from the period of Ashoka many saints were sent as missionaries to tibet and other parts of world to spread the teachings of Buddhism. And since then, Buddhist Art from Tibet has grown to splendid proportions, incorporating varied art forms.

The earliest surviving Tibetan Buddhist images date from the ninth century. However, since the Chinese occupation in 1949, the magnificent wall paintings and sculptures have been largely destroyed. Fortunately, however, some temple wall paintings still survive in both Tibet and Tibetan cultural areas. Most of these art forms were made as aides for Buddhist meditation. Others were commissioned for various occasions such as celebrating a birth, commemorating a death, for encouraging good health and longevity, and prosperity.

The images depicted are those of Buddhist deities such as Shakyamuni Buddha , Medicine Buddha , Laughing Buddha , Green Tara, White Tara, Maitreya Buddha .

The Art of Painting

The most well-known of this form of Buddhist art from Tibet is the Thangka painting . Apart from these, astrological charts, illuminated manuscripts, images of hands and feet of famous teachers, block paintings ,

Mandalas (geometric models of the universe), murals and frescoes, Parmas (wood block painted pressed prints) and scroll paintings are other forms of Buddhist paintings.

The Art of Sculpture :

Buddhist sculptures have been made of various materials, including metal, clay, wood, stone, and even butter. The most popular of these materials is metal. Sculptures and statues of Buddhist deities in copper, bronze, brass , and even gold and silver, are hallmarks in the tradition of Buddhist art from Tibet. These sculptures are often gold-plated and adorned with precious and semi-precious stones.

Butter sculptures are perhaps the most intriguing of the lot. These are not made entirely of butter; rather, they are constructed on wooden and leather frames. On these frames are applied butter dough and barley flour. Once the image is sculpted, it is painted.

Some Buddhist sculptures are as high as three storey buildings.

Apart from statues, the art of Buddhist sculpture includes masks, repousse (hammered metal medallions), and tsa-tsa (stamped clay images)
The various forms of Buddhist art from Tibet evoke feelings of religious fervor and admiration for the skill of their craftsmen.

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