For more than a thousand years, Tibetan artists have played a key role in the cultural life of Tibet. From designs for painted furniture to elaborate murals in religious buildings, their efforts have permeated virtually every facet of life on the Tibetan plateau.
After cleaning the pigment it had only to be mixed with the binder to become paint. For blending a pigment and binder you can simply mix it.
Paint preparation can take a full day to prepare the five primary colors. Traditionally, the materials included a variety of mineral and vegetable substances minerals, precious stones, bark, leaves, flowers (especially the rock rose), gold, silver, copper, etc.
Each had to be collected from its source in different areas of .
The thangka painter's palette consisted mainly of paints derived from the mineral pigments . Tibetan artists also made some of their paints by mixing the pigments with organic dyes and lakes such as indigo and lac dye. Important mixtures of this type included the blending of each of these two dyes with white. But since the dyes and lakes were mainly used during the shading and outlining stages that followed the initial application of .
Almost every object depicted in a thangka required outlining or linear detail. Outlining proper (bead) served to set off most objects from their surroundings, and it was used to demarcate the main subdivisions within them. Tibetan painters also used line drawings to develop the form or texture inside a given area, for instance within a swirling mass of flames or within the hair of a deity.
Furthermore, fine linear drawings were the main way of .
The brushes (pir) used by our main informants consisted of a brush tip of fine animal hairs attached to the pointed tip of a characteristic type of wooden handle. Brushes constructed in this manner contrast sharply with the Chinese style of paintbrush used throughout East Asia. The latter was usually made by bundling the brush hairs together and inserting them as a plug into a hollow-ended handle. Although many Tibetan artists were familiar with .
The application of colour to the thangkacanvas involved two main steps first, filling in the areas of different base colours, and second, the subsequent shading and outlining of those areas.
To these steps there corresponded the two essentially different types of paint in the Tibetan palette
Mineral pigments (rdo tshon and sa tshon) and
The organic dyes or lakes (tshos)
The mineral pigments had to be mixed with a binder before being applied as paints. .
Another main step is to apply washes for shading and gradual transitions of tone. Shading is called Dang in Tibetan which is one of the special feature of Thangka painting.
Shading is an important feature of thankapainting, taking up a large portion of the time, and is done very carefully and precisely.
Shading in this context does not mean the treatment of light and shadow within the whole composition, for the distribution of light and dark is .
The last main step involving the application of colours was the rendering of the faces of the main figures. This was in effect the final stage of outlining, and sometimes a master painter would step in at this point and complete the painting of his student.
Of all the finishing details, the facial features demanded the most attention, and among these it was the eyes that received the greatest care. The painting of the .
Steps for Preparing a Thanka Painting
The painters of Tibet pursued their art in an orderly and systematic I way. When creating thangkascroll paintings they proceeded through six clearly defined steps:
The first step was the preparation of the painting surface.
Second, came the establishment of a design on that surface by means of a sketch or transfer.
The third step involved laying down the initial coats of paint, and that was followed by .