All you need to know about the types of Thangka Paintings

Shakyamuni buddha Thangka

All you need to know about the types of Thangka Paintings

The origin of or may be attributed to the Nepalese responsible for creating a number of special metal and wall- as well as in .

Realizing the great demand for icons in Tibet, these artists, along with and traders, took with them from not only metal sculptures but also a number of manuscripts.

To better fulfill the ever-increasing demand Nepalese artists initiated a new type of religious on cloth that could be easily rolled up and carried along with them.

This type of painting became very popular both in Nepal and Tibet and so a new school of evolved as early as the ninth or tenth century and has remained popular to this day.

One of the earliest specimens of Nepalese painting dates from the thirteenth /fourteenth century and shows surrounded by .

Another Nepalese Thangka with three dates in the inscription (the last one corresponding to 1369 A.D.), is one of the earliest known Thangka with inscriptions.

Types of Thangkas

While the Majority of Thangkas are painted on , there is also a small group of Thangkas which are not painted and which consists of other materials.

Block Print Thangkas

Block Print Thangkas

These paintings are produced on a regular Thangka canvas however, before painting the outline of the depicted is printed with a engraving on the canvas.

This simplifies the painting process and takes care of unique results. This kind of Thangka is called “dpar ma” in .

Embroidery Thangkas

Embroidery Thangkas

This antique scroll painting was embroidered. It shows the “Vaisravana”. These special thangkas were not painted. They were embroidered with colored .

Embroideries with subject matter were executed in the far eastern part of Tibet and .

Applique Thangkas

Applique Thangkas are not painted. They consist of many single pieces of cloth. We find this category especially among the giant Thangkas, which are hung down on special large of the monasteries on special festival days.

This type of Thangka is a particularly Tibetan style, as testified to in pre-17th-century texts. Fragments of cloth of various colors – most often silks, traditionally imported from China or even from – are cut into desired and juxtaposed to form a kind of mosaic.” The pieces are either sewn onto a background or to each other.

Rigid bands of golden binding, made of or sometimes of horse or yak hair mixed with threads of gold, hide the seams and the contours. Certain details are embroidered or even painted on. A-frame or border similar to those of painted Thangkas gives further support for the finished work.

Wooven Thangkas

Wooven Thangkas

Wooven Thangkas

This Thangka is woven. There is no historical background for this category. Because of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the destruction of the , there are very few Thangka painting artists remaining, especially in Tibet.

Thus this kind of Thangka gives Tibetans the opportunity to possess their own Thangka for the family .

Wooden Craved Thangkas

Wooden Carved Thangka of shakyamuni buddha

Wooden Carved Thangka of

wooden carved thangkas are 3-dimensional thangkas. The figures are carved in wood by the special woodcarver.

Metal Thangkas

This is a thangka made of bronze. The Bhavachakra, or Wheel of Becoming, is a thangka which is a complex picture representing the Buddhist view of the . To Buddhists, existence is a cycle of life, death, rebirth, and that they seek to escape altogether.

Paper Mache Thangkas

Paper Mache Thangkas

Mache Thangkas

This Thangka is made of Paper Mache, therefore a special form is used. After pressing and drying the paper pulp the colors are put on.

This special manufacturing gives the Thangka a small three-dimensional appearance.

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About sadiksha

Namaste! I am a Nepali Art Dealer specialized in Mandala and Thangka paintings. I love to write articles about the monastic culture of the Himalayas. If you like this post or have any question please leave me a comment or use the contact page to reach me.

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