Thangka Painting

figure with 11 heads and 6 arms at center, flanked by 2 white dogs; 5 figures on lotus blossoms at each side; figures in clouds above at top corners; musicians and figures offering food and objects at bottom.
figure with 11 heads and 6 arms at center, flanked by 2 white dogs; 5 figures on lotus blossoms at each side; figures in clouds above at top corners; musicians and figures offering food and objects at bottom.

A Thangka painting is a type of Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton or silk appliqué. A thangka depicts a specific deity, scene, or symbol, and is often used as a devotional object. Thangka paintings are usually brightly colored and highly detailed. The paint is typically applied to the fabric using a brush, and then the design is embroidered over the top. This technique allows for a great deal of detail and color variation. Thangkas are often hung on walls or placed on an altar in order to be venerated. They may also be rolled up and carried with pilgrims as they travel. In Tibet, it is said that if you keep a thangka in your house, the deity depicted will protect your home from harm.

Large Buddha at center holding a rolled scroll in his PL hand and seated on a lotus blossom throne; attendant figure at L holds a box in his PL hand and is seated on a smaller throne; 2 other smaller figures at LL corner; white elephant at bottom center.
Large Buddha at center holding a rolled scroll in his PL hand and seated on a lotus blossom throne; attendant figure at L holds a box in his PL hand and is seated on a smaller throne; 2 other smaller figures at LL corner; white elephant at bottom center.

A Thangka painting is a type of Tibetan Buddhist art that is used as a devotional object. The paintings are often of buddhas, bodhisattvas, or other important figures in the Buddhist pantheon. They can be either statuettes or scrolls, and are usually painted on cloth or canvas. Thangkas originated in India and were brought to Tibet by the 8th century CE. They became a popular form of devotional art, and were often used as teaching tools in monasteries. Many Thangkas were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in China, but there has been a resurgence in interest in the paintings in recent years. Thangka paintings are typically very detailed and colorful, and often incorporate gold and silver leafing. The paintings can be done in a variety of styles, but all strive to depict the figures realistically. In addition to religious scenes, Thangkas can also depict landscapes or scenes from Tibetan folklore.

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