Bihar Museum is exhibiting Thangka paintings, a traditional Buddhist art form

An Exhibition cum workshop named “Classical Journey of Thangka Art” is going on in Bihar Museum, Patna. This event is based on the concept of traditional art of Thangka paintings. This exhibition was inaugurated by Anjani Kumar Singh, Nodal officer of Bihar Museum on 30th December, 2018. This exhibition will go on till 5th January 2019.This Exhibition is displaying about 80 Thangka paintings with different subjects as well as workshop giving a stimulating experience to watch a live demonstration of making Thangka paintings by traditional method. A total of 31 artists from Ladakh, Varanasi and Bodhgaya are participating in this workshop. Various senior and junior artists are included in the group. There’s an 11 years old child artist, Jigmeth Rsewang Norbu from Ladakh, who is the center of attraction for the visitors.

“My family is indulged into Thangka painting from 9 generation. I’m the 10th generation of my family who’s following the tradition of making Thangka painting. We are demonstrating Vajra Bhairav and other Thangka paintings in this exhibition. Thangka is a sacred art which is used for religious purpose.” said Tsering Dorjay, a senior Thangka artist from Leh, Ladakh.

The aim of this exhibition is to introduce the Tantric conception of Buddhism which was emerged and developed between 3rd and 12th century CE as well as exploring the entire journey of Thangka art, its practice in modern days and expansion across the world. These paintings hold importance socially, religiously and commercially. Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk applique, usually depicting Buddhist deities, scenes or Mandala. It has compact association with the tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana sect of Buddhism. Thangka is a Tibetan word which literally means “thing that one unrolls”. It serves as important teaching tools depicting the life of Buddha, various influential Lamas and other deities and Bodhisattvas. One subject is the wheel of life (Bhavachakra), which is a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings (Art of Enlightenment). Roots of this art is flourished from the land of Bihar and later on spread across the world through Mahasiddhas/Lamas.

“I’ve been doing Thangka painting since 2000. I studied about this art form in Nepal. My painting ‘Green Tara‘ which symbolizes liberation is showcased in this exhibition. I’ve been to various foreign workshops and exhibition as well but this is the first time Bihar government has set up something like this. This is a great initiative by Bihar Museum. If people will show interest in this sacred art form only then the government will look after it and will do something for the upliftment. Anish Kumar and Manish Kumar are two other Thangka artists from Bodh Gaya.” said Shashikant Kumar, Thangka artist from Bodh Gaya.

This event is curated by Dr. Vishi Upadhyay (Curatorial Associate, Bihar Museum) and Amrit Prakash Sah (Art Coordinator, Bihar museum).

“We aimed to introduce visitors with the Tantric conception of Buddhism which was emerged and developed on Bihari land as well as to let them explore the entire journey of Thangka art. We are happy with the response of visitors and glad that they’re liking it” Dr. Vishi Upadhyay told PatnaBeats.

We urge all Patnaites to go and visit this exhibition and witness the rare and incredible art form of Thangka paintings.

 

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