The Tibetan Buddhist God of Wealth - Kubera

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Kubera is the Lord of Wealth, a god-king with origins in Hindu mythology. In Buddhism, he is also called Vaishravana. Kubera is also a lord among the yakshas or nature spirits, those that live the mountainsides and forests of Mt Sumeru, the spiritual center of the universe. As a protector-king among the Lokapalas, he is said to govern and protect one of the cardinal directions of the world, the North. Among these four Lokapala (Guardians of the Directions), he is considered the king of kings, the one looks after the domain of wealth. He is both a warrior-protector and a god of wealth, and this thangka showcased him as the lord of affluence. In this image, he is depicted in yellow, wearing a crown, fine garments, as well as gold and jewels.

He is traditionally depicted as plump yet surrounded with luxury. He is also drawn wearing a five-pronged crown a sign of the Five Transcendental Buddhas. One of Kubera’s defining elements is the citron fruit he is holding. In Hinduism, he is usually depicted carrying a parasol, but in Buddhism, as seen in this thangka, he holds a citron from the Jambhara tree. He is seen seated on a lotus throne, a foot resting on top of a conch shell on top of another lotus, both of which are notable symbols of Buddhism. The conch represents the sound of the universe while the lotus is a symbol of purity. Zoom in on his left hand and a mongoose can be seen ejecting a jewel. This is symbolic of Kubera being a god of wealth and at the same time a signal of his victory against the Nagas (snakes). The latter are natural enemies of the mongoose and symbolizes greed. At the bottom of the thangka are offerings for the deity.

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Item Code: TK11
Tibetan Thangka Painting
Dimensions Size of Painted Surface 16.5 inch X 23.5 inch
Size with Brocade 26.5 inch X 39.5 inch
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100% Made in India
100% Made in India
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Unveiling the Divine Art: Journey into the Making of Thangkas

A Thangka is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting that usually depicts a Buddhist Deity (Buddha or Bodhisattva), a scene, or a mandala. These paintings are considered important paraphernalia in Buddhist rituals. They are used to teach the life of the Buddha, various lamas, and Bodhisattvas to the monastic students, and are also useful in visualizing the deity while meditating. One of the most important subjects of thangkas is the Bhavacakra (the wheel of life) which depicts the Art of Enlightenment. It is believed that Thangka paintings were developed over the centuries from the murals, of which only a few can be seen in the Ajanta caves in India and the Mogao caves in Gansu Province, Tibet.

Thangkas are painted on cotton or silk applique and are usually small in size. The artist of these paintings is highly trained and has a proper understanding of Buddhist philosophy, knowledge, and background to create a realistic and bona fide painting.
The process of making a thangka begins with stitching a loosely woven cotton fabric onto a wooden frame. Traditionally, the canvas was prepared by coating it with gesso, chalk, and base pigment. Image
After this, the outline of the form of the deity is sketched with a pencil or charcoal onto the canvas using iconographic grids. The drawing process is followed in accordance with strict guidelines laid out in Buddhist scriptures. The systematic grid helps the artist to make a geometrical and professional painting. When the drawing of the figures is finalized and adjusted, it is then outlined with black ink. Image
Earlier, a special paint of different colors was made by mixing powdered forms of organic (vegetable) and mineral pigments in a water-soluble adhesive. Nowadays, artists use acrylic paints instead. The colors are now applied to the sketch using the wet and dry brush techniques. One of the characteristic features of a thangka is the use of vibrant colors such as red, blue, black, green, yellow, etc. Image
In the final step, pure gold is coated over some parts of the thangka to increase its beauty. Due to this beautification, thangkas are much more expensive and also stand out from other ordinary paintings. Image
Thangka paintings are generally kept unrolled when not on display on the wall. They also come with a frame, a silken cover in front, and a textile backing to protect the painting from getting damaged. Because Thangkas are delicate in nature, they are recommended to be kept in places with no excess moisture and where there is not much exposure to sunlight. This makes them last a long time without their colors fading away. Painting a thangka is an elaborate and complex process and requires excellent skills. A skilled artist can take up to 6 months to complete a detailed thangka painting. In earlier times, thangka painters were lamas that spent many years on Buddhist studies before they painted.
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