All Posts / China 2013

[BEAT] Thankas; the Ultimate Tibetan Art

It’s been several weeks since our trip to Qinghai on the Tibetan Plateau, but I really wanted to highlight some of the amazing art that we saw while we were there.

These Tibetan Thankas were amazing.  Each Thanka tells a story related to Buddhism, and each object, person, and symbol in the painting has a meaning.


The detail in these paintings were amazing.


That is my finger. And do you see the gold detailing?!?! Do you see how little that is?! Imagine a little paint brush painting that. Can you? I can’t. Just wow.


This one was my favorite story. This is a depiction of Buddha with a thousand hands and eyes – so that he can give more help and guidance than he could with two hands.


The amount of detail is always mind-boggling.


I liked this one because it was beaded – but still had so much detail.


BUT the detail


The colors, blending, and shading are also incredible.


The gold detailing, again



I loved this one as well.


An aspiring Thangka artist workign on his painting. As you can see, there are several layers that go into making a Thangka.


I watched this guy working on the same area for about 15 minutes, and he looked far from done. The time it takes to create these pieces of beauty is incredible.


Something interesting I learned is that they don’t often have to wait for the paint to dry, because they are working with such small amounts to begin with that it’s dry as soon as they put the paint on. Instead, they wear little pieces of cloth on their pinkies to protect the image from smudging or smearing (even though it’s already dry).


The thankas came in so many different shapes and sizes– ones as big as entire museums, others that would fit into a 5×7 frame.  Either way, they were absolutely mind-boggling to see and I was so impressed by the deeper meaning behind every single one of them.  I only wish I could have been in Qinghai for longer to learn more about this incredible, ancient Tibetan art.


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