Thanka Paintings


Thangkas are the composite things created by painters and tailors with differing skills and training. Its an intergral part of a rich heritage of Indian Paintings.sThe imagery of these paintings revolves around the life of Buddha and themes pertaining to the mystic sect of Buddhism i.e. Tantric Buddhism. These paintings are painted on silk or cotton using various bright colors of differnt hues.These are a novel quality work of art hand painted by trained Tibetan and Nepali artists.They are predominantly used for wall hangings.In India Ladakh is a region where thangka paintings are done with great elan, while it also practiced in Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. These paintings have a strong Tibetan influence and have ritual connotations. These wall hangings arae hung in monasteries most

often Generally Thangka paintings are divided into two broad categories: those which are painted (called bris-than in Tibetan) and those which are made of silk either by weaving or with embroidery (called gos-than). The painted thanka are further divided into five categories depending on differing colors of the background. Thankas can be traced in a huge variety of styles, depicting various subjects. Colorful thanka paintings generally represent Buddhist and Hindu Gods, Goddesses, meditating Buddha and his life cycle, Wheel of Life, Mandala, Bhairab, Exotic pictures, etc.

Generally two basic types of thanka paintings are available, Tibetan style and Newari style (Paubha). Bright vegetable and mineral pigments are used in thangka paintings

A Thanka may be a potrayal of Buddha or some other deity, or a concept in Tibetan cosmology, astrology or medicine. A thangka covers an iconographic information about the spiritual practice of Buddhists and the Tibetan world view. A thangka can be a helpful means for a meditator to learn and emulate the qualities of a particular deity, or to visualize his or her path towards enlightenment. Thanka can also bring blessings on the household and serve as a constant reminder of the Buddha's teachings of compassion, kindness and wisdom.

The master artist draws the main images, which are filled with color by his assistants.

Thanka paintings are mainly created on the pattern of Mandala or concentric circles. These circles depict the migration of the soul from worldly and material things, towards spiritual enlightenment. Depiction of tales related to Buddha and his many incarnations etc are laid out in accordance with the Mandala concept.

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