Thanka with a red background
Thanka with a black background
Thanka whose outlines are printed on cotton support and then touched up with colors
Thankas come in a huge variety of styles, depicting various subjects. Colorful thanka paintings are generally represent Buddhist and Hindu Gods, Goddesses, meditating Buddha and his life cycle, Wheel of Life, Mandala, Bhairab, Exotic pictures, etc. Two basic types of thanka paintings are generally available, Tibetan style and Newari style (Paubha) i.e. Thanka each having its own fundamental style of painting. A Thanka may portray the Buddha or some other deity, or a concept in Tibetan cosmology, astrology or medicine. The iconography of the thanka is rich in information about the spiritual practice of Buddhists and the Tibetan world view. A thanka can help a mediator to learn and emulate the qualities of a particular deity, or to visualize his or her path towards enlightenment. Thanka can bring blessings on the household and serves as a constant reminder of the Buddha's teachings of compassion, kindness and wisdom. Thanka of particular deities may be used for protection or to overcome difficulties such as sickness. Most thanka are scroll paintings usually framed in a rich colorful silk brocade and have thin silk veil covering the front surface. They are distinctively Tibetan, highly religious, and possess a unique art style of their own. Tibetans have always considered the thanka a treasure of tremendous value.
There are different kinds of thanka employing various canvases. However, most are painted on cloth or paper. The white cloth is first mounted on a frame and water-based colloid chalk is applied to the surface. It is polished with talc when dried. The canvas is thus ready for painting. Apart from this, there are thanka which are webs of embroidery, woven silk, silk tapestry or appliqué. Embroidered thankas are done with multi-colored silk threads. Silk woven thanka take the warp of brocade as the base and applies the method of jacquard weaving with colored silk threads as the weft. With appliqué thanka, human figures, designs and patterns are cut out of colored satin and glued onto the canvas. The resulting work is also called “embossed embroidery.” Tapestry thanka are woven with the method of “complete warps and broken wefts: which calls for the application of the weft threads on the warp only where the picture or design needs it. The “hollowed out” work produces a three- dimensional effect. Tapestry thanka are thick, closely woven, delicately designed and gorgeously decorated with colored silk threads. There is yet another kind of thanka in which beautifully designed colored fabrics decorated with pearls and precious stones are attached to the fabric with gold thread thereby creating a resplendent and dazzling effect.
Although always religious in nature, Tibetan thanka cover a wide range of subject matters. Some depict the social history and customs and habits of Tibet . Others illustrate the Tibetan calendar, astronomy, and Tibetan traditional medicine and pharmacology. Biographical thanka describe the major events in the life of religious figures and historical personages.
Thanka painting involves mastery of many demanding techniques: mastery in sketching the illustrations and numerous deities according to formal iconography rules laid down by generations of Tibetan masters; learning to grind and apply the paints, which are made from natural stone pigments; and learning to prepare and apply details in pure gold. From the canvas preparation and drawing of the subject, through to mixing and applying colours, decorating with gold, and mounting the finished work in brocade, the creation of a thanka painting involves skill and care at each stage and displays meticulous detail and exquisite artisanship.
A spiritual and religious expression as much as an art form, the process of learning to paint thanka is rigorous. In the first three years, students learn to sketch the Tibetan Buddhist deities using precise grids dictated by scripture. The two years following are devoted to the techniques of grinding and applying the mineral colors and pure gold used in the paintings. In the sixth year, students study in detail the religious texts and scriptures used for the subject matter of their work. To become an accomplished thanka painter, at least ten years training is required under the constant supervision of a master. After the training process, students still need five to ten years to become experts in thanka painting.
Thanka painting requires extended concentration, attention to detail, and knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, and must be carried out in a peaceful environment.
ThangkaPaintings.Com is oline thanka store for collection of best Tibetan Thanka , Japanese Thanka and Newari Thanka. Like: Buddha Life History Thanka, Buddha Mandala Thanka, Avai Lokiteshwor Mandala Thanka, Kalachakra Mandala Thanka, Wheel Of Life Thanka, White Tara Thanka, Green Tara Thanka etc.
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