Tibetan Buddhist Kubera

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Kubera is a god-king in Hindu mythology. He is a semi-divine Lord of Wealth among the yakshas or nature spirits in the Hindu tradition. As a part of the Lokapalas, he protects the world and is the governor of the North. These Lokapalas are Guardians of the Directions involving the cardinal ways (north, east, south, and west). In Buddhism, Kubera is called Vaishravana. As evident in this thangka, Kubera is traditionally depicted as a plump deity but one adorned with fancy clothing and jewels, fitting for his association with the mountains and the soil, its riches, minerals, and jewels. This painting used a blue and yellow palette which highlighted Kubera’s glowing golden figure. The rest of the elements are in various shades of blue.

Legends say that Kubera first lived in Sri Lanka but was ejected when his brother Ravana took his place for himself. He then found himself living in the holy Mt Kailasa, which is close to the Lord Shiva's home. Aside from Vaishravana, he is also called Jambhala in Buddhism. Kubera in Hinduism is known for carrying a parasol while the Tibetan one carries a citron fruit instead which came from the jambhara tree (close to the sound of his other name Jambhala). In this painting, he is shown in a seated position with a food resting on a conch shell over a lotus, both notable symbols of Buddhism. Another defining element of Kubera’s image is shown in the painting: the mongoose. Kubera is usually depicted with a mongoose ejecting a jewel from his mouth as a show of generosity and giving as well as a symbol of his triumph over the Nagas and, snake figures who guard wealth and symbolizes greed.

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Item Code: TC31
Tibetan Thangka Painting
Dimensions Size of Painted Surface 16.5 inch X 23.5 inch
Size with Brocade 29 inch X 48.5 inch
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100% Made in India
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Each of our thangkas comes framed in silk brocade and veil, ready to be hung in your altar.


How are Thangkas made?

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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