Thangka Painting Upsc

Thangka Painting

Thangka paintings are commonly practiced in the states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Thangka painting plays a significant role in showcasing the artistic traditions of the region. Thangka paintings in Arunachal Pradesh often depict various aspects of Buddhist iconography, including representations of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and other deities.

These intricate paintings are created using a combination of vibrant colors, intricate details, and precise brushwork. The process of creating a Thangka painting in Arunachal Pradesh follows a traditional method that has been passed down through generations.

The artists start by preparing the canvas, which is typically made of cotton or silk. They carefully sketch the design using charcoal or pencil, ensuring accuracy and proportionality.

Once the sketch is complete, the artists outline the design using black ink, creating a clear and defined composition. They then fill in the colors using mineral pigments, which are mixed with water and applied with great precision. Gold leaf and other embellishments may also be added to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the painting.

Thangka painting in Arunachal Pradesh is not just a form of artistic expression but also holds deep religious and spiritual significance. These paintings are often used as visual aids during meditation and serve as a means of transmitting Buddhist teachings and philosophies.

Types of Thangka Paintings

Padmasambhava Thangka

This thangka depicts Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Padmasambhava is also called Guru Rinpoche, meaning “Precious Guru” in Tibetan language. He is shown sitting in a lotus position, surrounded by his eight manifestations.

This eight manifestion signifies, eight different forms he took to teach the dharma in Tibet. The thangka is typically painted on cotton or silk and is adorned with elaborate borders.

This Thangka paintings are mostly used as aids in meditation and also believed that these paintings have protective and sacred powers.

Guru Rinpoche Thangka: This thangka depicts Guru Rinpoche, another important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. He is shown seated on a lotus throne, surrounded by his disciples. The thangka is typically painted in bright colors and features intricate details.

Mandala Thangka: This thangka depicts a mandala, a geometric figure with symbolic meaning. Mandalas are often used as aids in meditation and are believed to represent the universe. The thangka is typically painted in vibrant colors and features complex patterns.

Buddha Thangka: This thangka depicts the Buddha, the central figure of Buddhism. He is shown seated in a lotus position, surrounded by his disciples. The thangka is typically painted in serene colors and features simple lines.

What is the purpose of Thangka Paintings?

It was originally used as a medium of reverence which evoked the highest ideals of Buddism. These paintings are divided into three types based on their deception and meaning. The first type shows the life of Buddha from birth to the attainment of enlightenment.

The second type shows the “Wheel of life”, which represents the Buddist beliefs of life and death.

The third one is paintings which are used for offerings to gods/deities or meditations.

Thangka Painting Making
Thangka Painting Making By Ramesh Lalwani –, CC BY 2.0,

What do thangka paintings depict?

Artist working on Thangka painting
Lhasa, Lama beim Bemalen eines Gebetsteppichs (Tangka), Potala By Bundesarchiv, Bild 135-KA-07-095 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

Thangka painting is art depicting the life of Buddha and other deities. It also influences the mythological event relating and concerning to Lamas.

How is thangka painting made?

Thangkas are painted on canvas. The canvas is strung on a bamboo frame, which is then stretched onto a frame made of wood.

* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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