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  Tibet Online > Message > Focus > 2014 > Tibetan Thangka

Introduction

A thangka, also known as tangka, thanka or tanka is a painting on cotton, or silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala of some sort.

History

Thangka is a Nepalese art form exported to Tibet after Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal, daughter of King Lichchavi, married Songtsän Gampo, the ruler of Tibet imported the images of Aryawalokirteshwar and other Nepalese deities to Tibet.

Types

Based on technique and material, thangkas can be grouped by types. Generally, they are divided into two broad categories: those that are painted (Tib.) bris-tan—and those made of silk, either by appliqué or embroidery.

Process

Thangkas are painted on cotton or silk. The most common is a loosely woven cotton produced in widths from 40 to 58 centimeters (16 - 23 inches). While some variations do exist, thangkas wider than 45 centimeters (17 or 18 inches) frequently have seams in the support.

Keeping Tibetan thangka art alive

People have now more access to the secrets of Tibetan thangka art after two practitioners of the national intangible cultural heritage set up classes in their homes.

Tibetan Thangka reaches out to the world

Thangka is a traditional Tibetan painting usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene or mandala and embroidered by a textile mounting. It is intended to serve as a guide for contemplative experience or praying.
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