Tangkas, also spelled Thangka, are paintings used for teaching and meditation. The term tangka is a Tibetan term that means 'something that can be rolled up.' Historically very few Tibetans learned to read and write, including monks; the tangka served as a pictorial lesson that the observer could remember the lessons by association with painted icons rather than the printed script. In a very true sense tangkas are pictoral books with just one page and lots of information. Tangkas further allow for meditation; by seeing and concentrating on the figures painted on the tangka, the practitioner strives for liberation or enlightenment through beholding. Additionally tangkas are said to radiate a positive force relative to the figure contain there on.
Mandalas are symbolic representations of several different cosmic energies. They are seen by some as a two dimensional representation of the Stupa. They have a central point that is the seat of a deity or the deity itself. Out from the deity seat are gates, or cardinal directions that are elements represented by color. These gates many times lead to stupas and a number of symbols. Surround this are 3 or 4 rings, depending upon the type of deity, a wrathful deity will have the ring of sacred burial sites.
Our tangkas are made at the Sange (AKA Wutun) Monasteries in Amdo (Qinghai): there are a few exceptions and these are noted in the individual listing.
Tangka & Mandala
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