Our Tribute to a Timeless Masterpiece from 18th Century
Still very fresh in our memories, it was on September, 2022 when we were first approached by a patron to create this classic Yuethok Lineage maste r’s thangka (also written as Yuthok Nythik), a founding father of Tibetan medicine.
As an artist, we firmly believe it is almost impossible to copy someone’s work, exactly the same way. Specially in thangka, each artist has a unique way of expressing their art. This is a pure beauty of painting a thangka, making each one of them special on their own. So, whenever we are commissioned to create a copy of an original, our motivation has always been clear. We recreate a new thangka rather than copying an original one.
Before this was commissioned to us, we had done few of the Yuethok thangka (single figure) or with the protector deity on the bottom. But this time, it was the whole assembly of peaceful and wrathful deities, each with complex attributes, and minute details to work on.The Original Thangka provided by our Patron:
Background of the Original Yuthok Thangka:
This classic thangka portrays the medicine Guru Yuethok Yontan Gonpo, who is also considered to be the founder of Tibetan Medicine and a meditation master from 12th century. He is the author of "The four Tantras", a doctrine from which the whole Tibetan medicine tradition originated. He is also known to be an emanation of Medicine Buddha. His indepth research and continuos dedication in the medicinal field led him to great discoveries, from which the mankind have fruited the benefits to this day. The remains of his house in Tibet has now become one of the sacred site for pilgrimage.
This rare portrayal of Yuethok thangka is definately one of kind, and has been published multiple times by many authors and the thangka has been displayed in renowned art galleries and exhibitions. Here is a list of few exhibition where this magnificent Yuthok thangka was displayed:
Tibetische Kunst, Zurich, 8 - 30 March 1969; Luzern, 17 April - 11 May 1969; Geneva, 31 May - 22 June 1969.
Lamaïstische Kunst/Art Lamaïque, Société Général de Banque à Bruxelles, Brussels, 15 May - 30 June 1975.
Dieux et démons de l'Himâlaya: art du bouddhisme lamaïque, Galeries Nationales du Grand-Palais, Paris, 25 March - 27 June 1977.
Kunst des Buddhismus, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 6 August - 16 October 1977.
De Taal van de Thangka, Ethnographic Museum, Antwerp, 1995.
The Art of Tibetan Medicine: Bodies in Balance, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 15 March - 8 September 2014.
Starting the Yuthok Thangka:
But all we had was just a low resolution picture of the original thangka, where most of the major details (such as colors, expressions and mudras) were almost missing. Because the thangka in itself was a sacred assembly of the Tibetan Medicine masters and his retinues, we as well as our patron had an intense dedication to portray the thangka as promptly as possible. And as we all know, these sacred details are really hard to come by, especially when it involves a century old preserved art piece.
So, we decided to approach as many reliable sources as possible with the dire need to recreate this thangka. Our Dharma friends from all over, Rinpoche and lamala from various monasteries have been really kind to us and helped us in their best possible way.
And with plenty of reliable resources we gathered, we were finally able to start the thangka with confidence. Apart from the iconography of the deities, landscapes in the original thangka was really remarkable, all done in natural pigments and stone colors. Beautifully depicted sky, clouds, water and mountains were the major details, we wanted to recreate as closely as possible. And also more importantly, obtaining the same (or at least similar) visually pleasing hues and color tones were another big challenge for us. So, we had to experiment multiple times, with the limited source of natural stone colors to produce the desired shades.
After working continuously for almost 7 months, painting, erasing and repainting whenever necessary, we were finally able to bring this majestic Yuethok thangka to life in our 20x30 inched canvas. Recreating this sacred art of the 18th century, with all the accurate details in each and every part, this wonderful project surely has added much more sensible values to our experience. So, every time we look at it, we just can't help but rejoice the utmost feeling of accomplishment and joy!
So, here is the final look of Yuethok Lineage thangka:
The final consecration of thangka was done from Sechen Monastery, before shipping this to our Patron to support his practice.
The Deities of Yuthok Lineage:
The magnificent Yuethok, as the main deity, occupies the central position of the assembly. He is seated with a calm and peaceful demeanors holding a vase of medical plants and a lotus adorned with a sword on top.
He is surrounded by four other medicinal goddesses in each cardinal direction, each of them in a peculiar mudra.
On his right is the Red Hayagriva who is the medicinal deity of Heart’s Essence and to his left is the Kutagara Vajrapani (the protector deity of Yuethok lineage).
Above him in an array of arc, are depicted (from left to right) are depicted: Buddha Shakyamuni, Amitayus, Root Guru Medicine Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, a Sage covered in Sage.
Directly below him in the middle is a wisdom Dakini Yeshe Khandro Tsomo Palden Tren. She is the one to transmit the seminal doctrines to Medicinal Guru Yuethok.
On the bottom left, depicted on a triangular platform are the Mahakala of Yuthok Nythik with his eight retinue.
One interesting depiction here is the presence of Five Wealth deities of Yuethok Lineages. They are depicted on the bottom right.
- Namtoshe with dark green color, depicted with large belly holding a golden braided whip and a golden bowl
- Pancadeva: Red body with complex figure. Six pairs of hands and five heads (a head of Lion, Horse, Sheep, Goat and Monkey)
- Black Mahakala: Holding a battel club that has a half Vajra and a gem on a top and a Long life Vase
- White Dzambala: He is dressed in white clothes and holds a Wish-fulfilling gem and a gold “terma” Box
Our Personal Note to you:
If you want to commission any kind of thangka to support your practice, please do contact us. We are committed to bringing meaningful thangka to enhance your practice and add dignified value to your spiritual experience.
We are here to help you with our years of experience and expertise!