Thangkas

Shakyamuni Buddha and His Disciples

Shakyamuni Buddha and His Disciples

Thangkas are similar to chinese scroll paintings, they are widely painted on cotton cloth or paper and brocaded into rollable pieces. Traditionally, Thangkas are sent to monastery for qualified monks for consecration after they were brocaded.  The making of thangka involves many complicated processes and there are certain prerequisites and stringent requirements to adhere to as it is viewed as a religious object for religious purposes. The color pigments are all grinded and pounded into fine powdery, raw precious stones such as lapis lazuli, agate, rubies, pearls, etc are sourced and broken down into grindable pieces before it can be use as pigments. The use of natural pigment as paints did not origin from thangka paintings but was originally applied on wall and cave murals.

Pieces of Precious Mineral Stones Used to Make Jewellery

Pieces of Precious Mineral Stones Used to Make Jewellery

 

Workers Drilling Them Into Smaller Pieces

Workers Drilling Them Into Smaller Pieces

Manual Pounding Them Into Pieces And Then Into Powdery Form

Manual Pounding Them Into Pieces And Then Into Powdery Form

 

They are stored into glass containers and some colors still need to be pound even finer before it is ready to use

They are stored into glass containers and some colors still need to be pound even finer before it is ready to use

Majunatha Tsongkhapa with brocade

Majunatha Tsongkhapa with brocade

 

It was said that the first thangka appeared in 7.AD during the reign of Songtsän Gampo. According to the Archeological research and writings related to the history of tibet and a book written by the 5th Dalai Lama in one of the paragraph, it said, ‘This Palden Lhamo was drawn by the King of tibet, Songtsan Gampo using his blood from his nose’. The word Thangka was not derived to represent paintings of this form but rather as an descriptive word of ‘mobile painting’, ‘scrolled’ or ‘rolled up’.

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