The Roadmap To Enlightenment: Thangka Art

Dating back to the 7th century A.D, thangka painting is unequivocally one of the greatest art forms of Asia, and is considered to be part of the “Art of Enlightenment”. Thangkas are considered Buddhist iconography, each painting symbolically represents divinities and passages based on the teachings of the Buddha.

Thangkas have evolved over the years from a purely spiritual art form to a style that museums have dedicated sections of. Because they could be easily rolled and transported, thangkas became increasingly popular among the nomadic monks of medieval Tibet who travelled extensively between rural communities and regional monasteries to provide religious instruction. They are still used today for teaching and are a familiar sight in both Nepal and Tibet, becoming increasingly common in the West along with the spread of eastern spirituality.

A great amount of skill and study is also required to paint a Thangka, as each ornament, posture and attribute represents a particular aspect of Buddhism and its teachings. This means that the quality of the painting is judged by the ability that the artist has to reproduce each element as perfectly as possible. The materials used over time have indeed developed but the techniques and methodology remains almost untouched.

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