An Introduction to Tibetan Thangka Painting

Time/Location: Please contact Tashi to find out when the next class series will begin.

For centuries the rich art of Tibet was influenced by its neighbors, India and China.  Menlha Dhondup introduced the first original Tibetan painting style in the 1500s.  The later styles reflected his work, thus establishing the Menris tradition throughout Tibet.

It is characterized by clear outlines and its accentuations in gold. One thangka can take between one to six months to create. Canvases take days to prepare, and the finest mineral colors are hand-mixed in the traditional fashion to guarantee the long life of each piece.

The development of this style was interrupted by the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The tradition was revived by Venerable Sangye Yeshi.

Master Tibetan artist, Tashi Dhargyal, studied under Sangye Yeshi and they subsequently opened the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art in Dharamsala, India.

Class objective:
*Introduce students to Buddhist-influenced art.
*Have students learn about the materials and methods used in this ancient art.
*Students will work to complete their own thangka.

In-studio classes:
Students will first learn about the materials used in traditional Tibetan thangka.  While supplies will be provided, students will see the materials used to make the paints from pigments and carrying agents. They will also learn about canvas preparation.

Students will begin by initially drawing on the canvas with a provided sketch and will begin to understand the mathematics and precision necessary for thangka.

In continuing classes, students will learn to work with mineral colors, creating their backgrounds, and later move into the different stages of painting and shading.

Finally, they will work directly with the teacher to complete the eyes and final details of their thangka.

Materials list:
Treated canvas, and mineral paints will be provided by the teacher from his studio in India.  Brushes and inks will be provided as part of the materials.

Students will need to bring:
One thin board (i.e. masonite c. 18×24 inches)
One good mechanical pencil
One clean white eraser
One metal ruler (12 inches minimum)
One emery board (nail file for sharpening pencil)

Materials fee:
There is a materials fee of $25 for each canvas.

To learn more about small group classes, please use the contact page.  Please make sure to email Tashi one week prior to the class you would like to attend, as he must prepare materials for each student.

“Tashi’s workshop proved to be one of the highlights for my Summer 2011 program. From the evaluations received back the reports were glowing. [Students] praised Tashi for his unpretentious nature, his attention to meticulous detail, his good humor and his extreme patience. They complimented him on being well-organized with his materials and with his teaching syllabus, his fairness in pricing of the materials and his emphasis on the use of traditionally prepared canvases with traditional organic pigments. From start to finish he was a consummate professional.” — Stephen McKenzie, Manager, The Newark Museum Arts Workshop.