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Fine Art - Thangka Paintings

2007.10.26
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A "Thangka," also known as "Tangka" or "Thanka" (Pronunciation: tänkä [the "a" as in the word "water;" the "g" is silent]) (Tibetan: ཐང་ཀ་, Nepal Bhasa:पौभा) is a painted or embroidered Buddhist banner which was hung in a monastery or a family altar and carried by lamas in ceremonial processions. In Tibetan the word 'than' means flat and the suffix 'ka' stands for painting. The Thangka is thus a kind of painting done on flat surface but which can be rolled up when not required for display, sometimes called a scroll-painting. The most common shape of a Thangka is the upright rectangular form.

Originally, thangka painting became popular among traveling monks because the scroll paintings were easily rolled and transported from monastery to monastery. These thangka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and Bodhisattva. One popular subject is The Wheel of Life, which is a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings (Art of Enlightenment).

While regarded by some as colorful wall hangings, to Buddhists, these Tibetan religious paintings offer a beauty, believed to be a manifestation of the divine, and are thus visually stimulating.

Thangka, when created properly, perform several different functions. Images of deities can be used as teaching tools when depicting the life (or lives) of the Buddha, describing historical events concerning important Lamas, or retelling myths associated with other deities. Devotional images act as the centerpiece during a ritual or ceremony and are often used as mediums through which one can offer prayers or make requests. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, religious art is used as a meditation tool to help bring one further down the path to enlightenment. The Buddhist Vajrayana practitioner uses the image as a guide, by visualizing “themselves as being that deity, thereby internalizing the Buddha qualities (Lipton, Ragnubs).”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thangka
31 Comments
sunshineand very good photos of the subject. thank you for sharing.
sunshineand · 2007-10-25: 20:18
Littlebee Colourful paintings. Good angle for photo #1.
Littlebee · 2007-10-25: 20:42
DancingDolphin I especially like #1 & #2.... nice shots!
DancingDolphin · 2007-10-25: 21:07
agandia Fantastic set, color, light, composition everything is perfect, marvelous historical and cultural document.
agandia · 2007-10-25: 21:34
LisetteT Good work... autant du sien que du tien.
Very nice shots.
LisetteT · 2007-10-25: 21:36
maharba Thank you for sharing this.
maharba · 2007-10-25: 22:32
emmetan paint with love =)
emmetan · 2007-10-25: 23:13
????? These are wonderful Gary - I love Tibetan thangkas. #1 - the Wheel of Life - is magnificent!
????? · 2007-10-25: 23:34
vollenda These are gorgeous. #1 and #2 are my favorites.
vollenda · 2007-10-26: 00:36
millapiim my fav #2 because it suits my bedroom on the wall:)
millapiim · 2007-10-26: 01:19
rolpa These really capture the art of thangka painting and the beauty of the thangkas themselves. Great work!
rolpa · 2007-10-26: 07:26
????? WOW!!! those look so neat, like printed. Such a wonderfl pianting and great photographs by you
????? · 2007-10-26: 08:47
Karibbean They work beautifully, great job!
Karibbean · 2007-10-26: 09:28
AyahAye Such beautiful & great colours...This is awesome gary...
AyahAye · 2007-10-26: 13:04
longimanus Hey, did National Geographic call you yet? You would make a great job for them... These are amazing! So perfect details and so much patience...
longimanus · 2007-10-26: 13:26
????? Great frames and colours. I really like this set.
????? · 2007-10-26: 13:43
????? Wow very inimitable work amazing eyesight just lovely
????? · 2007-10-26: 13:59
LLRui 一个字, "靓".
你知道的东西真多啊. :D
LLRui · 2007-10-26: 14:23
PaulGraham amazing captures stunning colours
PaulGraham · 2007-10-26: 14:51
eljapa Who needs national Geograhic, we have Gary!
Thanks for the extra info.
eljapa · 2007-10-26: 16:44
Biratnagar great frames with details. thanks
Biratnagar · 2007-10-27: 03:02
sandmoon great pics esp 1 and 2...
sandmoon · 2007-10-27: 04:19
KC727 Beautiful colours:))
KC727 · 2007-10-27: 21:42
daidailu520 这是你在尼泊尔看到的?他们也画这些??
daidailu520 · 2007-10-28: 08:14
mystic1 Real interesting
mystic1 · 2007-10-29: 00:32
????? Fascinating images. You work with light very well.
????? · 2007-10-29: 06:05
jendayee Thank you !!!! wonderful set !
jendayee · 2007-10-31: 19:16
????? thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures!
????? · 2007-11-04: 23:42
gagmaba Very nice and colorful set :)))
gagmaba · 2007-11-12: 15:43
Gavin McCloskey reminds me of how much work goes into thangkas, which peop;e rarely appreciate. Than(g)ks!

gavin
Gavin McCloskey · 2008-01-12: 13:39
arnoldinka Wow,wow,woow....such a great gift!!
arnoldinka · 2008-02-20: 01:04
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