Thangka Painting in Nepal

Thangka Painting in Nepal


On the walls of the Ajanta Caves, there are paintings of Lord Buddha related indirectly to the history of the origin of the thangka painting in Nepal and date back to the time, that is, the pre-Julian calendar.

In addition, you see such paintings on the walls of the monasteries whether you are in Kathmandu or in the Everest region. Buddhist monks were the first people to do so in the world. They knew the importance of the thangka painting more than anyone else.

But the individual people who were interested in such art moved their attention from the walls to a piece of cotton cloth to depict wisdom, love, peace, anger, abundance, acceptance, and so on, according to the religious scripture of Buddhism.

This kind of movement took place first in Tibet. The exact date is unknown, but it must have taken place before the 11th century. Some say in the 8th century, but the Nepalese Thangka School Painting says the 7th century (In the 7th century, thangka was introduced to Nepalese painters). And Nepali painters have been following this process for more than 1000 years.

Below you will come across sub-headings that have answers to your questions that clear your doubts that enlighten you on different aspects of thangka, including art, history, cost, and how to paint thangka on canvas. Each of these is a characteristic of thangka painting in Nepal.

Sometimes, we also offer sales on thangka painting.

The Art of Thangka Painting

Every piece of art is a great work, and it is also the result of patience. And thangka painting is no exceptional. It is an art of art that has the capacity to draw your attention. Every part of the thangka painting looks alive (have you seen the gold luster in thangka painting, it brings Lord Buddha alive?) and in every part, there is spiritualism that gives you relief.

If you are an artist, if you are asked to draw the painting artistically and intrinsically, you might need 360 days or 30 days, or 150 days.

Thangka painting is also a road map to happiness. For this, you have to focus on the doors, deities, and circles of Kalachakra thangka. The painting also teaches you about the responsibilities of life.

The Nepali name for thangka is Pauva.

In the 18th century, thangka painting reached its apex of glorious feat.

History of Thangka in Nepal

Do you know that the history of the thangka painting of Nepal is more than 1000 years old? And it has its own legacies; incomparable legacies; these legacies have been brought on successfully by painters from one generation to another, and they have become successful in capturing the hearts of the westerners (travelers).

If you are a westerner, we are sure you want to buy a thangka in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

Many westerners buy thangkas after they finish their treks.

The famous trekking regions of Nepal are Everest, Annapurna, Langtang,  Dolpo,  Mustang, and Kanchenjunga.

When we see the tourists buying thangkas right after their treks, we see a sense of oneness.

But with the advent of online marketing, it has become very easy to buy thangka paintings from Nepal.

Thangka painting in Nepal is related to four factors; one of them is time; 7th century, the time the Muslim conquerors spread Islam; the support of the caste system in Nepal, that is, only the Chitrakars are allowed to make thangkas in Nepal, including the conversion of the conception (painting idea) of the religious guru like Dalai Lama.

The history of thangka painting in Nepal is important, but there is a slight change in its tradition; even a westerner can learn thangka painting now.

Nepali thangka painters not only make thangkas of Lord Buddha and his various forms but also of the following deities:

  1. Kuan Yin – Kwan Yin – Quan Yin Thangka (worshipped by Chinese Buddhists)
  2. Dakini Thangka (Goddess of Liberation)
  3. Mandala Thangka (use for meditation)
  4. Female Buddha (Tara thangka)
  5. Wrathful deities

Evolution of Thangka and its Attractions

As you know from the first paragraph of this blog, the evolution of thangka painting took place in the Ajanta Cave in the 2nd century BC in India and subsequently to the monastery and a piece of cotton cloth carried out by Buddhist monks and interested people.

Thangka paintings are colorful and eye-catching and also tell you about the teachings of Lord Buddha. (We mean the thangka paintings of Lord Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and Avalokiteshvara)

Looking at thangka, you connect with gods.

Looking at Rahula Thangka, you will have the protector of Dharma.

The gods that you see in the thangka paintings are the representations of Buddhist gurus, the representations they have seen in their visions.

The Significance of Thangka Painting

Every thangka has importance, and nobody can explain this better than an experienced Lama.

Actually, the thangka is just like the teacher of a school.

Thang means a piece of cotton cloth, and ka means gods in the Tibetan language.

Thangka painting is not only for the Buddhists but also for the non-Buddhists (you know that). For example, Bhavachakra thangka painting. It is a tool for enlightenment, and it is also the Wheel of Becoming. 

Another name of Bhavachakra thangka is the Wheel of Life. This thangka also talks about your life, the life cycle of your life as well as about life after death. You can get this thangka with 8 different pictures.

Bhavachakra thangka painting is given great importance by the Buddhists of Nepal, India, China, Korea, and Japan.

How to Draw A Thangka

First, a piece of cotton cloth is put on a stretcher (It is stretched from all sides). Then a painter uses a chemical solution on both sides of the cloth. This cloth is called canvas later. The second step that the painter does is sketching. The sketching includes drawing vertical and horizontal lines. They also draw circles with compasses and protractors. They also use pencils (high quality). After they finish sketching (drawing), they color it. They use from basic colors to hybrid colors to gold color. The blue color is used at first. Then the painter uses other colors. The gold color (24K) is used at last to give the finishing touch.

Materials use in thangka paintings are cotton cloth, Kesar (yellow eatable powder), and solution made from yak skin, including gold powder, pencil, and colors.

How to Select the Best Thangka Painting in Nepal

All the thangka paintings are the best. Actually, they are the best of the best.

The reason is thangka is a religious work.

Why do we say every thangka has value? Here are the reasons:

  • Avalokiteshvara – Lokeshwor Thangka ( if you want to become enlightened, you should buy this thangka)
  • Vajrapani Thangka ( this thangka is associated with knowledge and power)
  • Jambhala Thangka ( removes obstacles from your life)
  • Padmasambhāva Thangka (enlightened Buddha)
  • Chandi Thangka (Goddess looks peaceful)
  • Samantabhadra Thangka (represents the picture of would-be Buddha)
  • Amitabha Buddha Thangka (represents infinite light)

Thangkas have multiple purposes; they can be used for decoration purposes, meditational purposes, and as a medium to pray gods.

Hang it at the top of the main door to remove the negative energies from your home.

Buy Tson-Tang thangka (hand-painted thangka) instead of appliqué thangka.

Also, buy a thangka that adds value to your life.

In addition to this, you can choose your favorite colors.

The Cost of Thangka Painting in Nepal

You already know in this blog how many days you will take to make a thangka.

You also know thangka is detailed work.

These are the reasons why thangka painting is expensive.

The price of the thangka paintings ranges from 100 (USD) to 4000 (USD).

You get various options if you want to buy Avalokiteshvara thangka. (Please remember there are various forms of Avalokiteshvara, and we sell each of these at a different price)

You have heard about gold thangka from us?

Gold is one of the materials use in thangka painting in Nepal.

Have you ever heard about silver thangka?

Here it is, and its name is 35 Buddhas Thangka on Silver

Thangka Painting Origin

When we dig out of the root of the thangka painting, we refer to the paintings of Lord Buddha in the Ajanta Cave.

But here is another story.

The painters were ordered to draw the picture of Lord Buddha by the king (This happened in one of the places of India).

But they could not draw.

From the Buddha’s body, a strong ray emitted.

So one day, Lord Buddha stood by the lake.

And seeing his reflection on the lake, the painters drew his image on a big piece of cloth.

This is how the first thangka was drawn.

Later, it was sent to the King of Sri Lanka.

Although it happened in India, yet the thangka did not come to Nepal directly.

Instead, it went to Tibet.

Both the history of the Nepali thangka and the history of the Tibetan thangka is rooted in the history of the Indian thangka.