Frequently Asked Questions About Traditional Tibetan Buddhist ArtThangka


Since Buddhism is a peaceful religion, why do they use animal skin?

  • Well that is very good question, since Tibetan people back in the days did not really have any options regarding glue,they had to relay on the sticky substance of the yak’s skin. They did not basically kill the yaks but they died naturally as they had hundreds of them. And just to let you know one yaks skin was enough for over 500 Thangkas or more. In addition It takes a lot of time to complete one painting that’s why one yak’s skin can be last for a year or two. thus just to keep the tradition alive we still use the same method for thangka.

what kind of cotton is this and where is it made?

  • The cotton used for thangkas are just a normal white cotton sheet of cloth which easily available in the market .

Does a single artist complete a single painting?

  • Well  it depends on the level of artist. If it’s masters they have to finish everything by themselves as they are the professionals. whereas the students and intermediates will always get helped by the masters.

what kind of brush you used for painting?

  • Well only cat’s hair are used to make brushes cause only the wild cat’s hair is firm enough to be used as a brush.

Why some Thangkas have embroidered border?

  • Those are thangkas which are altered on traditional Tibetan silk. Unlike the wooden frames these days, for the safety of the paintings these kinds of silk border were made. So this is the traditional way of framing Thangka.

Why does some Kalachakra Mandala have the four corners and some don’t ?

  • The four corners that you see in some mandalas are pretty much optional. Meaning wise these four corners are the distractions points for us on our way to Nirvana.

a. the perfumed shell for smell

b. cymbals for sound

c. Fruit for taste

d. Mirror for beauty

And all these four corners will have cloth meaning feeling and comfort, another distraction.

how do artist know the color patterns?

  • Of course being a student or intermediate, one is not very familier with everything they do. So they will have to rely on some kinds of samples or get help of the masters. But masters artist are the professionals. So they have everything on their mind.Meaning rules and regulations are always followed.

Does any of the artist have their own choices in colors?

  • Since paintings has been passed on through generations, even the rules and regulations are passed along with it. so whatever they do, it will be done according to those rules , means they don’t have any liberty to change or edit any colors. But they can obviously change the background colors according to their interests and also the theme of the colors can be changed as well.

Thank you for visiting You Can Visit Hirdhing For More Painting.

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