The Protector of Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

$135
Item Code: TS89
Specifications:
Tibetan Thangka Painting
Dimensions Size of Painted Surface 10.2" X 13.7"
Size with Brocade 22.0" X 32.0"
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade
Mahakala has a special relationship with the Buddhist monastery (vihara). The ever-innovative Tibetan artist developed an icon which expressed specifically, in a forceful and hard hitting manner, the role of Mahakala as the powerful protector of Buddhist viharas. Thus developed in the canons of Tibetan Buddhist aesthetics a unique form of Mahakala known as Gur gyi mGon po, or the 'Great Lord of the Pavilion.'

Grinning wildly and with fiery eyes, this terrible image of the Great Dark One stands heavily upon the body of a corpse. While he holds the normal skull cup and chopper in his two hands, supported across the crook of his elbows is an ornamental wooden stick, called the 'gandi' gong, which is used in Buddhist monasteries to summon the monks and nuns to assemblies. It is this intriguing aspect of his iconography which associates him exclusively with the viharas and it is believed to symbolize the vow he once made to the Buddha to protect the monastic community of Nalanda at Bihar and hence by extension all Buddhist retreats. Also, originally it was likely a shaman's staff used during application of protective charms (panjara), hence in this manifestation he also came to be known as Panjaranatha, or 'Lord of Charms." It is also conjectured that the rod denotes the one used to hold up outdoor tents and hence is a reminder that this awesome deity is the supreme savior of the essentially nomadic Tibetan people.

The significance vested with this stick can be realized from the fact that it is also called the 'gandi stick of emanation,' and it is believed that all of Mahakala's other forms emanate from this rod. They are thought to emerge into the world from two sets of doors, and it is a tribute to the Tibetan artistic genius that these two gates are often minutely carved and painted at the two ends of the stick (see accompanying illustration). The Panjaranatha form can thus be thought of as the fundamental or original form of Mahakala, being the source of all the other manifestations, including the four- and six-armed incarnations.

Another peculiarity of this deity is that he is depicted with his knees bent, almost seated on his haunches, as if about to rise. This posture is defined in the Sadhanamala; Mahakala is said to be rising from the body of the ghost (pretasanastham utthitham) on which he was seated in yogic meditation. Also, his physical form is dwarfish (vamana) and often squat, adding to the grotesqueness of the visualization.

Click Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade


Free Shipping. Delivered by to all international destinations within 3 to 5 days, fully insured.

Unveiling the Divine Art: Journey into the Making of Thangkas

A Thangka is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting that usually depicts a Buddhist Deity (Buddha or Bodhisattva), a scene, or a mandala. These paintings are considered important paraphernalia in Buddhist rituals. They are used to teach the life of the Buddha, various lamas, and Bodhisattvas to the monastic students, and are also useful in visualizing the deity while meditating. One of the most important subjects of thangkas is the Bhavacakra (the wheel of life) which depicts the Art of Enlightenment. It is believed that Thangka paintings were developed over the centuries from the murals, of which only a few can be seen in the Ajanta caves in India and the Mogao caves in Gansu Province, Tibet.

Thangkas are painted on cotton or silk applique and are usually small in size. The artist of these paintings is highly trained and has a proper understanding of Buddhist philosophy, knowledge, and background to create a realistic and bona fide painting.
The process of making a thangka begins with stitching a loosely woven cotton fabric onto a wooden frame. Traditionally, the canvas was prepared by coating it with gesso, chalk, and base pigment. Image
After this, the outline of the form of the deity is sketched with a pencil or charcoal onto the canvas using iconographic grids. The drawing process is followed in accordance with strict guidelines laid out in Buddhist scriptures. The systematic grid helps the artist to make a geometrical and professional painting. When the drawing of the figures is finalized and adjusted, it is then outlined with black ink. Image
Earlier, a special paint of different colors was made by mixing powdered forms of organic (vegetable) and mineral pigments in a water-soluble adhesive. Nowadays, artists use acrylic paints instead. The colors are now applied to the sketch using the wet and dry brush techniques. One of the characteristic features of a thangka is the use of vibrant colors such as red, blue, black, green, yellow, etc. Image
In the final step, pure gold is coated over some parts of the thangka to increase its beauty. Due to this beautification, thangkas are much more expensive and also stand out from other ordinary paintings. Image
Thangka paintings are generally kept unrolled when not on display on the wall. They also come with a frame, a silken cover in front, and a textile backing to protect the painting from getting damaged. Because Thangkas are delicate in nature, they are recommended to be kept in places with no excess moisture and where there is not much exposure to sunlight. This makes them last a long time without their colors fading away. Painting a thangka is an elaborate and complex process and requires excellent skills. A skilled artist can take up to 6 months to complete a detailed thangka painting. In earlier times, thangka painters were lamas that spent many years on Buddhist studies before they painted.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy