Cultural Art: Giant Thangka Created

Posted on November 12, 2013 by


Tashi Dhargyal has finally finished his 15 by 20 feet thangka. A thangka is a painting on silk. They usually describe a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. They are not drawn with paint or oil pastels but with silk. The thangka has a total of 37 people that are Buddhas, teachers, and deities. Each Buddha, teacher, and deity is drawn with details. Because of having 37 Buddha, teachers, and deities on the thangka, it makes other people acknowledge all the important people in their history. A similar thing with the United States is drawing a picture with all the presidents on it to show each person and acknowledge all of their presence or in a Christian sense a picture with all the prophets. The thangka can be used as teaching others about all of them or even retelling the story of each of them. The thangka shows the beauty of all the Buddha, teachers, and deities with them being drawn with precise precision. The oldest is Buddha Shakyamuni to the most recent which is Khedrup Gelek Pelzang who lived from 1385 to 1438 CE. Buddha Shakyamuni who is the Indian prince Gautama Siddhartha is in the very middle of the thangka. Buddha Shakyamuni is the very first Buddha so he is in the center and also the largest. He is surrounded by people, elephants, and this other person that looks like it has wings. Buddha Shakyamuni and the things that surround him takes up about 20 percent of the thangka. Most of the Buddha, teachers, and deities can be found in temples. The size of the Buddhas, teachers, and deities represent how important they are. Number 19 and 21 in the picture are slightly larger than the rest. These two are Shariputra and Mongyelputra. These two were Buddha Shakyamuni’s closest disciples. They are both holding staffs which can give them a spiritual feeling. Almost all of the Buddhas, teachers, and deities are sitting down other than Shariputra and Mongyelputra. This can show that the others are all sitting down meditating. Everyone has a circular thing surrounding their body and also a circle behind their heads. I think this can represent how everyone in the painting is enlightened. The drawings has some clouds surrounding the Buddhas, teachers, and deities. Because of the clouds it gives the drawing a sort of spiritual feeling when someone who does not know about Buddhism looks at the picture. Even with the flowers around mainly Buddha Shakyamuni and also other Buddhas, teachers, and deities it brings a serene feeling when looking at how many flowers there are. All of the Buddha, teachers, and deities are all wearing a robe. This can have a spiritual feeling. Tashi Dhargyal is now living in Sonoma, California. This can explain why the picture can look more spiritually and peaceful to have a higher interest for Westerners. Because of his self-identity living in California, he needs to make it appeal mainly to Westerners. If Tashi Dhargyal did not draw it as spiritually, it may not attract Westerners especially in California. Since he came to the United States, he taught and also exhibited his artwork in many museums, galleries, and Dharma centers.




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