These Thangka’s still made with natural base colours and the traditional methods are more expensive, especially those on which the final touches are done in 24ct gold.
The artist must paint according to Tibetan scriptures, following basic rules such as the number of hands, the colour of the deity’s face, the posture of the deity, the holding of the symbols and the expression of the face. The rest is up to the artist. The process of painting a Thangka can be a long one, and take several months to finish.
The painting of Thangka is a living and thriving tradition, practiced by both the monastic community and lay people. Thangka’s are famous the world over for their spiritual and aesthetic significance. Traditional belief has it that hanging such a painting in one’s prayer room brings good luck.
More recently the tradition of the Tibetan Buddhist Thangka painter has been slowly eroding due to reasons such as, decreased visitors to Nepal (nearly all paintings are now done in Nepal, with the exception of a number of painters in North India), September 11 th, the shooting of all the Royal family, the SARS virus and the present Maoist insurgency are all taking their toll, with the effects that the traditional Thangka painters are moving to the middle east to take menial jobs to feed their families.
We at Pink Lotus are doing all we can to help keep the tradition alive and flourishing as best we can, under such testing circumstances.