While I continue to grow my art collection I often come across artworks which I am unfamiliar with. Certainly with the following pieces my naivety is abundant and so I research to increase my knowledge and appreciation of the artworks themselves.
A thangka is a religious painting. #Thangka painting evolved as early as the ninth or tenth century and has remained popular to this day. Early Thangkas are simple in design and composition. The main deity, a large figure, occupies the central position while surrounded by smaller figures of lesser divinities. Tibetans do not sell Thangkas on a large scale as the selling of religious artifacts such as thangkas and idols is frowned upon in the Tibetan community and thus non-Tibetan groups have been able to monopolize on its (thangka’s) popularity among Buddhist and art enthusiasts from the west.
The #LifeofBuddha is a much finer example of what a thangka can be. As a religious image it can be used as an icon but it is also meant to be a religious experience for the artist while rendering the image. Thangkas are painted on cotton or silk and are highly geometric. All elements of the painting are all laid out on a systematic grid of angles and intersecting lines. A finely rendered thangka can take over two months to paint. A skilled thangka artist will generally select from a variety of predesigned items to include in the composition, ranging from alms bowls and animals, to the shape, size, and angle of a figure’s eyes, nose, and lips. The process seems very methodical, but often requires deep understanding of the symbolism involved to capture the spirit of it.
#NyomanTapa (1958-) is a Balinese artist with a very fine touch. He paints wonderfully colourful and intricate religious celebrations and festivals as well as Balinese life images.