Thangka, Thanka: 1 definition

Introduction

Thangka means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Shambala Publications: General

Thangka (thanka) roughly, “picture, paint­ing.” In Tibetan Buddhism, a scroll painting framed in silk, which fulfills various religious functions. The themes of iconography are fixed by tradition and are based on three principles: expression, proportion, and detail. Commissioning the painting of a thangka and the painting itself are considered highly meritorious actions.

The images are painted on linen with vegeta­ble- and mineral-based pigments. In some cases they serve as visual reminders of general Bud­dhist teachings—examples are the wheel of life or the depictions of the previ­ous existences of the Buddha. In oth­er cases thangkas play an important ritual role—as, for example, detailed paintings of cen­tral personalities of a particular school being used for taking refuge. However, the most important role of the thangka is connected with the performance of sādhanas, where the picture functions as support for memory in the process of visualization. Painted mandalas fulfill the same purpose.

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