- The Art of Thangka
- Kang Ta: A Young Thangka Artisan
- The Rich Symbolism of Thangka
- Reverence for Green Tara
- An Artistic Vision
- Challenges and the Vision Ahead
Thang-ga, this traditional art, has been passed down and developed in Tibet since ancient times. Initially, Thang-ga were mainly used to decorate religious temples and palaces, with content mostly Buddhist themes. Over time, Thang-ga gradually became a unique form of painting art, enjoying fame worldwide.
The Art of Thangka
Thang-ga is a painting, usually made by drawing precious mineral pigments on silk or other canvas. They are often hung on walls or displayed on altars for devotees and monks to view and worship. In some special cases, Thang-ga can also be made into small pendants or amulets. These miniature Thang-ga are usually drawn on special narrow silk, then hung around the neck with silk cords or fine chains, and worn as amulets.
Kang Ta: A Young Thangka Artisan
Kuang Ta, a young Thang-ga artisan. Today we are pleased to invite him to share his story with Thang-ga creation.
"I come from a small village in Aba, Sichuan. Since childhood, my elders passed down the mysteries of Thang-ga art to me. I was full of awe and passion for this ancient painting skill. As a child, I was fascinated by my father's Thang-ga works, always following him around, devoutly learning his every stroke. Slowly, I gradually mastered the basic techniques of Thang-ga, but I was not satisfied with simply replicating traditional works. I deeply know that traditional arts need inheritance, but at the same time, I also believe that only by maintaining innovation can the art of Thang-ga radiate new splendor in modern times. Therefore, I began to try incorporating my own ideas and expressions."
The Rich Symbolism of Thangka
"Thang-ga is profoundly esoteric. As the religious art of Tibetan Buddhism, it inherits thousands of years of history and contains rich symbolism. Common background colors mainly include red, black, gold, silver, and blue. The colors used in Thang-ga works are mostly derived from nature and Buddhism. Different background colors present different religious themes. Red Thang-ga often depicts stories of Buddha's life in luxurious styles. Black Thang-ga often portrays guardian deities, vajras, and other demon-conquering content, outlined in gold for solemn, dignified paintings. Blue Thang-ga tends to depict Amitabha, Vajrasattva, and other auspicious, joyous themes. Gold and silver Thang-ga have noble, elegant paintings with simple, brilliant colors. Sometimes the background colors also change with the content from the "earth realm" to the "heaven realm." With guardian deities conquering demons in hell, the background is mainly red; as bodhisattvas appear in between, the colors gradually turn blue; in the heaven realm, it becomes a stretch of deep blue."
"The pigments used to paint Thang-ga are also elaborately chosen, all from natural substances, mainly produced from minerals and plant native to the snowy regions, with pure, excellent colors, great lightfastness, and weather resistance. Thang-ga pigments like gold, silver, coral, agate, pearls, gemstones, saffron, madder, rhubarb, such precious materials are rarely seen in painting history worldwide."
Reverence for Green Tara
"In Thang-ga creation, Green Tara is one of my favorite inspirations to paint. Green Tara is an incarnation of Guanyin Bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism, also called Savioress, Mother of Swift Help, Savioress from Eight Perils. Green Tara is the Tara Mother, Sanskrit name Tara, the full name of the Holy Savior Mother of God, known in ancient China as Tara Bodhisattva and Tara Guanyin. She can save from eight perils: fire, lions, elephants, snakes, water, prison, thieves, and non-humans; also called "Savioress from Eight Perils''.
An Artistic Vision
"I am not confined by tradition but excel at innovating on the basis of inheriting traditional techniques. My expressive techniques are diverse, with distinct styles. My use of color is richer and more harmonious, and gold is more subtle and unique, making the figures in my works more touching. I hope that through my personal style and creations, I can breathe new life into Thang-ga art, allowing it to shine even more brilliantly in the modern era."
"To me, the process of making Thang-ga is one of demanding perfection and utmost pursuit. First, I carefully select suitable canvas and pigments to ensure quality. Then, I patiently outline every line, and diligently fill each block of color, striving for refinement. The whole process requires patience and meticulousness; each Thang-ga work is the crystallization of my heart and soul."
Challenges and the Vision Ahead
"However, the development of Thang-ga also faces some problems. With changes in modern lifestyles and aesthetic values, fewer and fewer young people are interested in traditional handicrafts, which worries me. Thang-ga is an art that needs inheritance and passing on; without enough successors, it may gradually lose its traditional charm."
"Thus, my vision is to make Thang-ga a fashion trend, attracting more young people to love this ancient handicraft. I believe only by integrating Thang-ga art with modern society can it blossom even more brilliantly on the world stage of art. To realize this vision, I will continue to work hard, keep innovating, and contribute my own strengths to the inheritance and development of Thang-ga. Let the radiance of Thang-ga art illuminate the world, allowing it to thrive with new vitality in the new era!"
In conclusion, we believe that as long as we persist in tradition, dare to innovate, and convey our passion to more people; Thang-ga will surely gain wider recognition and acclaim worldwide.