Rhino Travel Agency Adventures Nepal Adventures Nepal Adventures Nepal
 
 
QUICK SEARCH
box top
  Nepal Trekking
  Peak Climbing
  Places to See
  Jungle Safari
  White Water Rafting
  Adventure Tours
  Domestic Flights Ticketing
  Hotels & Resort
  Package Tours
  Online Booking
left box top
>>
Everest Trek - The Kangshung Face
>>
Forbidden Lhasa & Everest Trek
>>
Forbidden Lhasa & Ganden - Samye Trek
>>
Forbidden Lhasa & Mt. Kailash
>>
Forbidden Lhasa & Namtso Lake Trek
>>
Journey Across kham to Lhasa
>>
Mount Kailash Trekking
>>
Mt. Kailash via Simikot Trek
left box bottom
left box top
TIBET HIGHLIGHT TRIPS
>>
A circle route in Shannan area
>>
A Special Route for Tibet Monasteries
>>
An Itinerary back to the countryard
>>
Mountain Bike Tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu
>>
Mt. Kailash Kora The most sacred of Mountains
left box bottom
left box top
MOUNT KAILASH TOURS
>>
Mount Kailash Trip Via West Nepal
>>
Kailash Manasarovar Pilgrimage Tour
>>
Kailash & Lhasa Via West Nepal
>>
Kailash - Manasarover - Lhasa Tour
>>
Special Mount Kailash Trip
left box bottom
left box top
Fixed Departure Trips
>>
Centeral Tibet Overland Tour
>>
Lhasa City Tour
>>
Explore Lhasa City tour
>>
DZA Rongphu – E.B.C. Tour
>>
Kailash Manasarovar Yatra
left box bottom

Tibetan Tangka

Tangka is a kind of scroll painting mounted on silk. It has distinctive ethnic features and a strong religious flavor. Its unique artistic style is highly prized by the Tibetan people.

The origin of tangka can be traced back to the early Tubo Kingdom. During the 7th century, King Songtsan Gambo united Tibet. To strengthen political, economic and cultural exchanges with Tibet's neighbors, he married Princess Chizun of Nepal and Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty. Around this period he ordered the construction of Potala Palace and some other grand edifices. To decorate them, he drafted a large number of people to paint murals. This greatly promoted Tibet's art of painting. According to the Catalogue of Jokhang Monastery written by the Fifth Dalai Lama, "The King (Songtsan Gambo) used the blood from his nose to paint a portrait of the White Lhamo. Later, while a statue of the White Lhamo was being sculpted, the portrait was hidden in the abdomen of the statue." This is the earliest record of a tangka painting. This tangka has been lost, but we can conclude that tangka was a new Tibetan art form which flourished during the reign of Songtsan Gambo.

Following the spread of Buddhism, Buddhist art also flourished. Since tangkas are easy to make, not limited by the variety of buildings, and easy to hang and store, they were used as a means to spread Buddhism. From then on, tangkas and murals developed side by side, becoming two bright pearls in the history of Tibetan painting.

Tangkas depict a wide range of themes. A considerable number of ancient tangkas have been preserved. However, few tangkas dating from the Tang and Song dynasties remain. The Sakya Monastery houses a tangka entitled Sanggyai Dongsha, which contains 35 Buddhist images. Its style is similar to the murals found in the Dunhuang Grottoes. It is said to have been completed during the Tubo Kingdom, and is a rare treasure. The Potala Palace houses three Song Dynasty tangkas, two of which are kesi (a type of weaving done in fine silks and gold thread by the tapestry method). A portrait of Palma Toinyoi Chuba has a caption written in Tibetan at the bottom of the tangka saying that it was made at the order of Gyaincain Zhading as a gift for his teacher Chagba Gyaincain. A tangka with a portrait of Kungtang Lama (1123-1194) was made in the late Song Dynasty. Another tangka, depicting the life of Mila Rigba, describes Mila Rigba's self-cultivation. Experts have concluded that it was made in the Tang Dynasty.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties, to strengthen its rule over Tibet, the central government conferred honorific titles on religious leaders in Tibet. In the Ming Dynasty eight religious leaders received the title of prince, and in the Qing Dynasty the titles of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama were conferred. These measures were favorable to Tibet's social order, and social and cultural development. In this period, the art of tangka also scaled a new height. The number of tangkas saw a remarkable increase, and different schools emerged. In general, the tangkas of Eestern Tibet are noted for fine brushwork, expertly depicting the inner world of man; the tangkas of Western Tibet are similar to gongbi (traditional Chinese realistic painting characterized by fine brushwork and close attention to detail) paintings with their bright colors.

Very few tangkas bear the names of their painters, but some of the most famous painters of tangka, such as Lozhag Dainzin Norbu of Eastern Tibet, and Qoiying Gyaco and Jamyang Wangbu of Western Tibet, were master painters of the 17th century. Some tangkas were painted by talented lamas. In the past, monasteries were places of learning. Many senior monks were not only masters of Buddhist theory, but also excellent painters. Atisa, who entered Tibet to spread Buddhism during the 11th century, was a master painter of Buddhist portraits. It is said that he painted two tangkas. One is kept in the Razheng Monastery, and the other, a portrait of Vajra-Buddha, is kept in the Nietang Temple, which also houses a self-portrait of Atisa. Gunga Gyaincain of the Sakya Monastery painted a portrait of Manjusri Bodhisattva for the North Sakya Monastery. Tsongkapa, founder of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was also good at painting. It is said that he once painted a self-portrait for his mother living in what is now Qinghai Province. Religious leaders of later generations, such as Ngaming Losang Gyaco, also painted tangkas for monasteries.

Most tangkas are painted on cloth, silk or paper, but there are also tangkas of embroidery, brocade and applique. Embroidery tangka is done with silk thread of different colors, depicting landscapes, figures, flowers, feathers, pavilions and towers. Brocade tangkas are woven on jacquard looms, with warp-and-weft patterns. Applique tangkas are made by pasting figures and patterns of colored silk on a background material; and kesi tangkas are like relief sculpture, with a three-dimensional effect, something like a special handicraft combining the art of painting with silk weaving. These fabric tangkas have compact compositions, fine patterns and bright colors. They are of close texture and very decorative. Some tangkas are inlaid with pearls and precious stones. At first, most fabrics used for making tangkas were made in the interior. Later, Tibet developed embroidery and applique tangkas. There are also tangkas made from woodblock prints, the working procedures including painting the original design, engraving the block, printing, color application and mounting.

Tangkas depict a wide range of themes taken from Tibetan history, social life, folk customs, astronomy, the calendar and traditional Tibetan medicine. Using paintings to reflect history is a remarkable characteristic of tangkas. Tangkas depicting the general history of Tibet are composed of scenes of important events at various stages of Tibetan history, together with captions. Tangkas depicting dynastic history portray scenes of historical periods, reflecting relevant historical events. There is another kind of tangkas portraying the life stories of certain personages (including religious figures). Potala Palace houses a tangka of an atlas of celestial bodies. Each planet is in the form of an animal, symbolizing one of the 12 heavenly bodies moving in its own orbit. It is an important cultural relic for the study of ancient astronomy and the Tibetan calendar. Norbu Lingka houses a complete set of medical tangkas, totaling 62 paintings and showing medical principles, the structure of the human body, acupoints on the channels and collaterals of the body, medical apparatus and pharmaceuticals. In the 17th century, during the reign of Sanggyai Gyaco, famous painters from various parts of Tibet were summoned to make a complete set of tangkas illustrating the corpus of Tibetan medicine.

The main theme of tangka is religion, such as portraits of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, scenes of saints expounding the sutras, temples, religious personages, and religious stories. Such pictures make up more than 80 percent. Even tangkas depicting Tibetan history and science have a strong religious flavor. In general, a tangka depicting a religious theme is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower, representing heaven, earth and the underworld, respectively. The middle part shows Buddhas, such as Sakyamuni; the upper part shows Bodhisattvas; and the lower part has pictures of monks and guardian deities.

All big monasteries in Tibet house a considerable number of tangkas. At Potala Palace a two-story building was built as a warehouse for storing tangkas. On the 30th day of the second month by the Tibetan calendar a prayer ceremony is held. Several thousand lamas from Zhebung Monastery and other temples gather at Potala to hold religious rites and various other ceremonies. Two huge tangkas with portraits of Buddha are hung on the terrace. This is called "sunning the Buddha."

Tibet's murals and tangkas, while preserving the fine traditions of Tibetan painting, have also absorbed techniques from the interior of China as well as neighboring countries such as India and Nepal, to form a style of their own. Over a long period of time, different schools have appeared, the most famous being the "Maintang" and "Qingzi." The former features compact composition and elegance, represented by the murals in Jokhang Monastery and Potala Palace; the latter features boldness and liveliness, represented by murals and tangkas in Xialu, Baiqoi and Toding monasteries.

 

TIBET INFORMATION

>>
Altitude Of Lakes
>>
Buddhism
>>
Best Time to Visit Tibet
>>
Distance Between
>>
Emergency Evacuation
>>
Entertainment
>>
Food & Drink
>>
Geography & History
>>
Getting into Tibet
>>
Guide & Accommodation
>>
Health & Insurance
>>
Hospitalization
>>
Hospitals
>>
Hotels
>>
Other Useful Address
>>
Shopping
>>
Tangkas
>>
Tibet Check List
>>
Tibet Destinations
>>
Tibetan Festivals
>>
Transportation in Tibet
>>
Visa & Entry Procedure
 
 
box top
FLY IN FLY OUT TIBET TOUR
>>
3 Night Tour to Lhasa
>>
4 Night Tour to Lhasa
>>
4 Night Lhasa Ganden Tour
>>
4 Night Lhasa Yamdroktso
>>
Tsurphu to Dorjelin Trek
>>
7 Night Tour to Lhasa
>>
10 Night Everest via Lhasa
>>
11 Night Tibet Tour
>>
13 Night Lhasa Tour
box bottom
 
box top
TIBET TOUR PACKAGE
>>
Tibet Overland Tour
>>
A Glimpse Of Celestial Lhasa
>>
Mythical Tibet Tour
>>
Centeral & South Tibet Tour
>>
Trans Himalayan Journey
>>
Forbidden Lhasa & Everest Base Camp Tour
box bottom
 
box top
TIBET POPULA PROGRAMS
>>
4 days wonders in Lhasa
>>
6 Nights Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse
>>
8 Nights overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu
>>
6 Nights Lhasa & Shannan tour
>>
6 Nights Tibet 'Switzerland Views' Tours
>>
9nights/10days trip to Mt. Everest
box bottom
Copyrights © 2006-2017 adventuresnepal.com, All Rights Reserved.