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Art of the traditional Tibetan thangka painting

  • Source : VTIBET.com Author : Tenzin Woebom Time : 09/02/2018 Editor : Tenzin Woebom

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    Photo shows an exquisite thangka painting with Mahakala on it. In Buddhist Vajrayana tradition, Mahakala is considered to be one of the dharmapala, protector of the Teaching. Boddhisatva Avalokiteshvara used this terrifying manifestation to protect Buddhism and practitioners. Usually Mahakala is depicted with the dark-blue or even black color and shown in a very menacing way. [Photo taken by Tenzin Woebom/VTIBET.com] 


    With a history of more than 1,300 years, Thangka painting is an amalgamation of both art and faith. Delicate skills are required for this traditional art form. The composition of each piece is geometric, and all the elements and the various ritualistic implements are laid out on a systematic grid of angles and lines, which can not be changed casually.


    Tibetan arts, especially the thangka, are well protected and developed. Thangka painters have faithfully passed down the art from masters to apprentices in a heritage chain. Some painting institutes even offer thangka courses to students, and the tradition of learning teaching skills from masters is still tightly controlled today.


    "Generally, it will take a student five years or more to master the skill. And most importantly, painting a thangka needs lots of patience, time and effort, otherwise you cannot paint them well," said Lhakpa Tsering, thangka expert and deputy secretary general of Tibet Artists Association. 


    With high artistic value and unique painting style, thangka artwork is the epitome of traditional Tibetan folk culture. People can better understand Tibetan history and culture by viewing and enjoying thangka. So far, Tibetan thangka has different schools of paintings such as Manthang School, Karma Gardri School, Chintse School, Regong School and so on.



    A thangka artist fills in color on a thangka painting with Green Tara on it. The Goddess Green Tara is a gentle female embodiment of universal compassion. In a Thangka painting, not only the main character, but also every single detail is drawn vividly. [Photo taken by Tenzin Woebom/VTIBET.com]



    Photo shows an exquisite thangka painting with Palden Lhamo on it. Palden Lhamo is one of the major protector deities in Tibetan Buddhism and the only female among the powerful group of the Eight Dharma Protectors. [Photo taken by Tenzin Woebom/VTIBET.com]

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