Tag-Archive for » buddhist paintings «

Amitabha Thangka

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | Author:

amitabh_close3Thangka paintings are inspired by Buddhist philosophies. These art works are basically fused three dimensional in nature. Tibetan Buddhists accord extreme importance to Thangka paintings. Art works are considered as more of religious objects and one can see them hanging on Buddhist monasteries. Thangka paintings are often used in Buddhist religious processions. Before proceeding further, let’s have some information about the term ‘Amitabh’. According to Buddhist religion, Amitabha Buddha is the “Buddha of Infinite Light” and Thangka paintings represent him seated in ‘Sukhavati’, his celestial paradise. Sukhavati is also known as realm of bliss. The term ‘Amitabha Thangkas’ has spiritual connotations. It signifies physical illustration of the metamorphosis of worldly requirements into all encircling incandescent consciousness. The paintings show Amitabh Buddha in a position where he has his hands in a meditation position and holding a begging bowl. The bowl signifies receptivity and infinite openness.


Thangka comes from the Tibetan word Thang that means a flat surface. Add ‘ka’ to it and it becomes a painting ovn a flat surface. Mostly done on flat surfaces, Thangka paintings can also be rolled up like scroll paintings. However, scrolling is done only when the art works are not being displayed.  Structurally, Thangka has a mounting embellished with a silk cover, leather corners, embroidered picture panel and wooden decorative knobs.  These Thangka are made in Buddhist dominated areas like Dharmashala in Himachal Pradesh. This place is dominated by Buddhist monks and amazing Thangka can be seen over there.


Many religious art forms do not follow any artistic intent. They are more guided by religious beliefs. Similarly with Thangka paintings, Buddhist philosophy is the prime theme. These paintings depict contemplative experience of monks. Probably, because of its highly religious nature, they have remained secluded from mainstream of art.


Persian Paintings

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 | Author:

Indian art world has accepted and nourished several forms of art. The cultural and ideological differences have been blurred under the bigger goal of excellence of art. How else could one explain acceptance and excellence of Jain illustrations, Buddhist paintings and Islamic Paintings? If we talk about Islamic paintings, they clearly represent theological aspect. Geographical aspects have taken a back seat when it comes to assimilation of different forms of art and paintings in India.


Islamic paintings are closely related to Persian paintings and Mughal paintings. Persian paintings mainly represented rulers and kings of that era who had conquered everything. These paintings also depicted religious interpretations of Islam in Persian way. A look at these paintings and one is bound to get mesmerized by the wonderful usage of vivid colors and unique use of geometry. The major themes were court scenes and battle sequences. Persian miniatures have made a name for themselves by the sheer symmetry. Islamic paintings excelled at abstracted floral designs and geometric designs. Islamic artists were wonderful at depicting rhythmic pattern of script.  


Many people tend to think of Mughal paintings and Persian paintings in similar way but it couldn’t be farther from truth. Mughal paintings are more based on imagination that was beautifully represented through richly draped figures. Many court scenes have been painted. The choice of themes is very different from Persian paintings. The later one is extremely illustrative. It is a wonderful combination of art and poetry. In fact, the Persian paintings take its inspiration from great Persian poems whereas Mughal paintings were a classical and eclectic mix of Indian and Persian styles. Mughal paintings are not really known for realism yet they bear proud testimonials of that era.