Thangka painting has the origins to Tibetian Buddhist paintings. These paintings are made in Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and in India. Thangka paintings are made on cotton, silk, and human skin depicting the ‘mandala’ (Mandala in Sanskrit means is a spiritual and ritual symbol representing the universe). Thangka paintings usually represent the life of Buddha.
The Thangka Painting Gallery
There are multiple Thangka painting galleries in Bhutan and Nepal. I visited one of these galleries. The place is located next to an ancient paper mill in Thimphu town. The ‘Thangkha Painting Gallery’ is a school for many who want to learn as well as this place has some of the incredible paintings in the display room. Visitors are not allowed to record or capture the final paintings. With permission, I managed to get the video and photos of those people who were working at this gallery. Thanks to the friendly staff. The gallery has paintings, craft works, dragon masks, cloth items. The staff explained to us how it is made, the colors used, when and where it is used etc.
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Thangka Painting work
The detailed work, the amount of time and training involved in doing each of these paintings astonished me. It takes more than 6-9 years to master this painting work. Each of these paintings takes almost 1 year of work to complete. No wonder why these paintings are so expensive. The size of each of these paintings varies from A4 size to huge paintings, which are displayed in Monasteries during rituals or ceremonies. Most of the Thangka paintings are traditionally kept unframed and rolled up when not on display. These paintings are made of natural color and are very delicate, has to be kept away from moisture. These paintings depict the life of Buddha, mantras, various influential lamas, the visual representation of the art of enlightenment etc.
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Check out the video below where you can see the Thangka Painting gallery and people busy with their artwork. Subscribe to my channel for more travel and photography updates.