China Pictorial (English)

What Is Thangka?


Thangka refers to a kind of religious scroll painting mounted with colored satin and hung for worship. It is a unique art in Tibetan culture. Its subjects include Tibetan history, politics, culture, life and other topics. Most works that are handed down across generation­s are about Tibetan Buddhism and Bon (a native religion).

Thangka has distinctiv­e Tibetan ethnic features, rich religious connotatio­ns, and a unique artistic style. It always depicts religious themes with bright colors. Hailed as the “encycloped­ia” of the Tibetan ethnic group, it is also a precious intangible cultural heritage of folk arts of the Chinese nation.

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