Tibetan Buddhist Two Armed Mahakala in Cremation Ground

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Mahakala comes from the Sanskrit maha (great) and kala (death or time) which translates that he is a deity beyond time. In Tibet, he is also called the Nagpo Chenpo, or the Great Black One, and is revered as guardian and protector. He is affiliated with Hindu god Shiva. According to tradition, he dwells in the cremation grounds. In this thangka, he is depicted with two arms and two legs. On his sides is a vulture and a lion, colored black to symbolize darkness or death. Mahalaka is surrounded by bright flames, representing the fire of dissolution.

As in this piece, he is depicted with a wrathful and fierce expression that signals his might and power to overcome negativity along the path of enlightenment. His skin is blue that represents the eternal Dharmakaya. He sports an aflame beard and eyebrows to signal his transformative power to turn the five negativities into five wisdoms. These negative afflictions are represented by the five skulls on his crown (attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride, and jealousy). Mahakala wears a necklace adorned with human heads. His three eyes represent the power to see in the past, present, and future and it can also stand for the three bodies of the Buddha. In his left hand is a skull cup representing the power to crush worldly attachment while the other hand is a blade with a Vajra handle which he could cut off ignorance. He stands on a lotus throne (on a corpse) with a sun disk (signify his illumination and enlightenment). On his waist is a tiger skin that represents purification while the snakeskin is his sign of purification from hate. He can also be seen trampling a being, not because of terrorizing them but as a sign of that his power could go at lengths that can subdue the world if it means destroying obstacles to enlightenment. At the bottom are a black figure and a set of offerings to symbolize patrons of the deity.

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Item Code: ZE90
Specifications:
Tibetan Thangka Painting
Dimensions Size of Painted Surface 18 inch X 23.7 inch
Size with Brocade 31 inch X 49 inch
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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