A Helpful Guide to Buy Thangka for Your Practice

Thangka, A Brief Introduction:

In Buddhist culture, Thangka is highly regarded and has a significant meaning. Traditionally it is used in teaching the practitioners about Buddha's Life, history, traditions, and other bodhisattvas. There are Thangkas having representation of deities in different forms, with distinct purposes, holding various objects, and symbolizing numerous things that are painted with the pure motivation to help you in your meditation practice. 

Learn more about the Thangka, its purpose and the types of thangka

How To Buy Thangka for Your Practice?

Thangka can be used for different purposes. Not only by core practitioners but others as well, for meditation, prayer, spiritual practice, or positive vibration. Because the Thangka represents Buddha's bodily manifestations and unique attributes, it quickly converts into a meditational resource for individuals who wish to reflect on Buddha's life and existence. Even a glance of the Thangka can instantly reflect its sacredness.

The Thangka will be a great aid if you are into rituals and prayers. Concerning the corresponding deity on the Thangka, you can pray and performs rituals and read-aloud mantras. One can use it for cultural adaptation as well.

The Thangka is considered a sacred object. The inclusion of any painting will spread positivity, spread Buddhism teachings, bring peace, harmony, and unity, and eliminate the evil aura around you. You can hang it in your living room, study room, or right at the entrance.

You can gift your close ones for their well-being, positiveness, and sound mind on the auspicious occasion. The intricate design filled with magnificent color is eye-catching for everyone and simply worth investing in.

You can buy Thangka as per your interest and intent. You must check the color saturation, accurate portrayal of deities, and purity of gold (if it is used), thoroughly. 

Thangka is composed of different elements, and if you are looking to buy Thangka, there are several things to consider.

Quality of Thangka:

thangka deity alignment

Many aspects determine the quality of the Thangka. The most eye-catching and notable features are the face, eye, gesture, posture, proportion, and alignment of the deity depicted in the Thangka. It  determines and justifies the quality. The materials used to prepare Thangka also impact the overall quality as well. 

Only the master artist with decades of experience can achieve and reflect great artistry in Thangka. To make an authentic and acceptable thangka, the artist must be well trained and have sufficient religious understanding, knowledge, and background.

Before getting a Thangka, knowing about artists can be a plus point.

There are four types of Thangkas, Regular (multicolored) Thangka, Black Thangka, Red Thangka and Gold Thangka. There are four classes of deities, Peaceful Deity, Semi-wrathful Deity, Wrathful Deity, and Worldly figures. You have a plethora of options to make a selection for purchase.

Choosing the Right Thangka Brocade Frame:thangka brocade framingThe framing of the Thangka will alter the price. Traditionally Thangkas are framed with brocade. But there are other crafting options such as Glass framing and custom framing made up of wood with or without glazing protection. The easiest way to preserve it is using a Glass frame. It is common in western society. Although the cleaning, moving, and preserving will be practical. The direct reflection of light will cause discoloration. However, the painting will not be directly exposed to an open environment.

One can opt for a custom frame as well. Usually made out of hardwood, coated with gold paint is best for higher-end Thangka. Ready-made hand frames are also available. One of the best and most effective ways to protect the original state of Thangka is glazing. You can use anti-glare, UV protection, shatter-resistant, and anti-reflective glazing to preserve the art. Based on your personal preference, select any framing style you prefer.

Taking Care of Your Thangka

Once you buy the thangka, there are several things that you need to take care of. A thangka painting is made up of elements that are sensitive to many factors such as light, water, fire, moisture, molds and other atmospheric conditions. These paintings are done in handmade stretched cotton canvas with naturally available pigments and soluble. From natural stone colors, genuine 24K gold to the glue produced from animal skin, a traditional thangka is made out of natural elements.

As much as they are beautiful, they are vulnerable and may result in damage if not taken proper care of. The rolling and unrolling of the thangka is crucial as well. And a decent and right procedure must be followed while doing so.

Below here, we discuss some of the basic tips we can do to prevent our thangka from the damage:

1. Hanging a thangka in a traditional silk brocade 

One Traditional way to protect the thangka from cracking is to hand them in silk brocade. This traditional wooden frame comes with a thin silk veil, which can be used to cover, while the thangka in not in use.

Hence, more than for a decorating purpose, brocade serves as a protecting frame for the thangka, making it portable as well. 

So, what is a Traditional Silk brocade? 

In the traditional approach to the thangka brocade, the upper section is approximately half of the height of the lower section. There are two inner cords (normally red and yellow, symbolizing a rainbow) used around the main thangka and their width is around half in size of the width of the blue sides. Right next to the inner side of the cords, the white decorative thread is used to stitch. Likewise the red decorative cord is used to stitch the whole brocade.

The front veil can be pure yellow (or with red patterns). There are the two red ribbons hanging from the top (with lower end tapering and pointed).

An additional rectangle that includes motifs or a colored pattern can be added to the center of the lower base. It is often good to use four colors in the brocade for increasing, pacifying, magnetizing, and subjugating. 

2. Regular Inspection of the Thangka:

Once the thangka set up in an altar, we must not forget to inspect the thangka, on a regular basis. The painting must be protected from the direct sunlight and the humidity. Any kind of moisture can help the molds to grow on them. Hence, we must be careful of the leaked or damp walls and the temperature of the room.

Similary, the pigments in the thangka are prone to dust and pollution. Dust can cause bruises and scratches to the painting surface.

Why Enlightenment Thangka?

The whole Thangka-making processing is a challenging task. The different steps involved in crafting such exquisite art are a slow progression. We use an organic cotton fabric coated with natural adhesive and fine white clay combined with water to produce our thangka paintings traditionally.

We do not compromise in quality as we highly believe there is a sacred value in our craftsmanship. Enlightenment is committed to creating Vajrayana art forms beneficial to your practice. We devote ourselves to creating enlightened pictures of Vajrayana deities for the practitioner. We take great pleasure, satisfaction, and pride in making sacred images of Vajrayana deities that will aid you in your transformation - images that will safeguard, develop, and enrich your precious human life's ultimate aim of enlightenment.

Our Venerable Master Jamyang Phunstok, a Kharma Gadri specialist in Tibetan thangka painting, has been a blessing in our lives. His ancestors include Thanglha Tsewang of Palpung Monastery in Kham, Eastern Tibet, who was a notable Karma Gadri artist. His wisdom and direction guided our team in crafting significant traditional Thangka for Vajrayana practitioners. It takes decades of experience to master the craft.

You have come to the right place if you seek Thangka that will motivate your practice and commitment, aid your concentration, and make it easier to focus on the visualization. As matching to your Sadhana or meditation guideline, at Enlightenment Thangka, we include all of the necessary symbols, qualities, and iconography in the painting.dakini thangka

Click here to view our collection of Dakini thangka for your practice. 

So, What are the Price Range of the Thangka?

Different thangka paintings in sizes and depictions of deities and their types in various scales are available. The cost will vary from one to another, depending upon the size of the thangka, the complexity of the work and the quality of the material used.  However, we try to maintain the top-notch quality on every piece of art.

How to custom order a commissioned thangka?

If you are looking for a specific thangka, custom made for you, we are more than happy to accept your commissioned order. Depending upon the complexity of the deity, it will take 2-5 months for us to complete. 

We have painted various thangka in the past years for many practitioners, depending upon their prescription and Sadhana Texts. You can also view some of our commissioned thangka by clicking here.

To Sum It Up

  • Set a Budget

The first thing you need to do to buy Thangka is set a budget. The quality of Thangka varies from one another heavily, depending upon its price. The higher the price, the more intricate the design patterns in Thangka. It’s not that Thangka paintings with less cost price are not good, as every piece of Thangka art requires extremely hard work and dedication. However, there is a piece of artwork with more intricate details; thus, the artist must put in more hard work. You must have a picture of Thangka in your mind beforehand and set the budget according to that. The more delicate and precise the lines, the higher the skill involved.

To know more about the price variation of Thangka, read, Is Hand Painted Thangka Really Expensive?

  • Select the Subject

There are different types of Thangka. The Thangka elements are other, each having a significant meaning. Various deities hold numerous sacred objects, and items, in different postures, mandalas, different art styles of painting, and different colors and combinations. As a buyer, you have plenty of options. 

  • The Type and Size Variation

The size of Thangka directly impacts the budget. There are different sizes, but not specifically for the designated purpose. But you can use any size Thangka for any purpose. For instance, you can get a small one as a home décor or to use in a meditation shrine. For Buddhist Rituals or religious institutions like a monastery, you might go for a bigger one.
Different Types of Thangka to select from,

Painted in Colors
These are the most common and sought-after thangkas in the world. The artwork done on canvas uses various combinations of bright colors.

Embroidered Thangka
Embroidered Thangka paintings are stitched over a piece of clothing as various religious figures are embroidered.

Applique Thangka
In applique thangka, different portions of the artwork painted separately are stuck together to accomplish a more significant thangka art.

Precious bead Thangka
These thangka paintings consist of precious beads. Gold, silver, pearls, etc., are the valuable elements used in this type of Thangka.

  • Explore the Area

There are hundreds of thangka stores in and around Thamel and Boudhanath. Before choosing a quality thangka artwork, thoroughly consider your options. Spend enough time visiting stores and thangka schools. Speak with the store owners. Ask questions about the events and settings that the artworks are meant to represent.

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