Newari Chintamani Lokeshvara (Brocadeless Thangka)

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The tradition of mystical Newari Paubha (scroll painting) in all its spiritual and artistic glory is presented in this Chintamani Lokeshvara Brocadless Thangka. The embodiment of the divine compassion that saves souls from the fires of hell, Lokeshvara- “one who gazes upon the creation” is the most popular Bodhisattva in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. 

(From The Collection of Rajendra Raj Bajracharya)

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Item Code: PAA816
Dimensions 16.50 inch Height X 12.20 inch Width
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100% Made in India
100% Made in India
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“Chintamani” in Buddhism is the wish-fulfilling gem that represents the empathetic wish of a Buddhist follower, to bring an end to the sorrows of all individuals. As the Bodhisattva brimming with benevolence, Chintamani is intrinsically attached to the persona of Lokeshvara, who holds the powers to fulfill the desire for universal bliss. A picture of heavenly bliss himself, Chintamani Lokeshvara stands in an elegant posture holding the branch of a tree, reminding us of the pose of Buddha’s mother Maya in the Lumbini groove. His enchanting form is adorned by the Chitrakar with exquisite apparel- rich orange, lavender, and blue in his lower body garment which is clasped with a bejeweled waist belt, a deep green brocaded scarf whose flows bring animation to the Lokeshvara Thangka, a gazelle’s skin draped around his torso and a five-pronged crown wrapped around his upraised hairdo. The use of shades and colors in the jewelry is impeccably done to bring a naturalistic sheen to the gemstones studded in the golden ornaments of Lokeshvara. A mystical sun-like aura behind Chintamani Lokeshvara’s head and a golden aureole embellished with flowing vines framing his physique add grandeur to the Thangka. The tree in the background, full of green leaves is the wish-fulfilling tree, known in Buddhist and Hindu cultures are Kalpa-vriksha or Kalpa-taru.

The Bodhisattva in this Lokeshvara Thangka has an enchanting inward smile on his face whose allure is enhanced by his half-closed eyes. In his right hand, Lokeshvara holds the wish-fulfilling gem, looking true-to-life thanks to the translucent luster achieved using watercolor. A distinctive refinement is to be felt in the entirety of this Chintamani Lokeshvara Thangka owing to the grace in the Bodhisattva’s posture and the softness conveyed in the manner his divine body interacts with its surroundings.

The backdrop of the Thangka is a soft-hued sky with a hint of hilltops visible in the right half, where emerging from the cluster of moving clouds is a female attendant, paying obeisance to the Compassionate One. Standing regally on a beautiful lotus platform, Chintamani Lokeshvara in this Newari Thangka is unfurling the lotus of our inner self.

How are Thangkas made?

A Thangka is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting that usually depicts a Buddhist Deity (Buddha or Bodhisattva), a scene, or a mandala. These paintings are considered important paraphernalia in Buddhist rituals. They are used to teach the life of the Buddha, various lamas, and Bodhisattvas to the monastic students, and are also useful in visualizing the deity while meditating. One of the most important subjects of thangkas is the Bhavacakra (the wheel of life) which depicts the Art of Enlightenment. It is believed that Thangka paintings were developed over the centuries from the murals, of which only a few can be seen in the Ajanta caves in India and the Mogao caves in Gansu Province, Tibet.

Thangkas are painted on cotton or silk applique and are usually small in size. The artist of these paintings is highly trained and has a proper understanding of Buddhist philosophy, knowledge, and background to create a realistic and bona fide painting.
The process of making a thangka begins with stitching a loosely woven cotton fabric onto a wooden frame. Traditionally, the canvas was prepared by coating it with gesso, chalk, and base pigment. Image
After this, the outline of the form of the deity is sketched with a pencil or charcoal onto the canvas using iconographic grids. The drawing process is followed in accordance with strict guidelines laid out in Buddhist scriptures. The systematic grid helps the artist to make a geometrical and professional painting. When the drawing of the figures is finalized and adjusted, it is then outlined with black ink. Image
Earlier, a special paint of different colors was made by mixing powdered forms of organic (vegetable) and mineral pigments in a water-soluble adhesive. Nowadays, artists use acrylic paints instead. The colors are now applied to the sketch using the wet and dry brush techniques. One of the characteristic features of a thangka is the use of vibrant colors such as red, blue, black, green, yellow, etc. Image
In the final step, pure gold is coated over some parts of the thangka to increase its beauty. Due to this beautification, thangkas are much more expensive and also stand out from other ordinary paintings. Image
Thangka paintings are generally kept unrolled when not on display on the wall. They also come with a frame, a silken cover in front, and a textile backing to protect the painting from getting damaged. Because Thangkas are delicate in nature, they are recommended to be kept in places with no excess moisture and where there is not much exposure to sunlight. This makes them last a long time without their colors fading away. Painting a thangka is an elaborate and complex process and requires excellent skills. A skilled artist can take up to 6 months to complete a detailed thangka painting. In earlier times, thangka painters were lamas that spent many years on Buddhist studies before they painted.
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