Subscribe to free Email Newsletter

Tangka Art: Treasure of Tibet



Clusters of white clouds drifting across the blue sky, paths winding through snowy mountains, and Buddhist temples looming in infused incense--these are the images most people have of Tibet, the land of eternal mystery. And when it comes to the art treasures of the region, no image is more intrinsically associated with Tibet than the iconic Tangkas.

"Thangka," also known as "Tangka", "Thanka" or "Tanka", is a painted or embroidered Buddhist banner which was hung in a monastery or a family altar and occasionally carried by monks in ceremonial processions. In Tibetan, the word “thang” means flat, and thus the Thangka is a kind of painting done on flat surface but which can be rolled up when not required for display, sometimes called a scroll-painting.

Originating from the principal artistic schools of Western India (7th and 8th centuries), from which Tibetan painting takes its cue, thangka consists of a picture panel which is painted or embroidered, a textile mounting; and one or more of the following: a silk cover, leather corners, wooden dowels at the top and bottom and metal or wooden decorative knobs on the bottom dowel.

How to paint a Tangka?


The pictorial subjects of thangkas include portraits of Buddha’s, stories from the lives of saints and great masters. Thangkas are usually rectangular in shape, and the square ones are reserved for Mandalay. Thangka paintings vary in size, ranging from a little over a few square centimeters to several square meters.

1 2 3 4


Email to Friends