A thangka painting is not simply a decoration or a creation of beauty, but is the means to convey the iconography and lineage essential for a Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner. These works of art function as models on which the practitioner can reflect and meditate.
There are many reasons for commissioning a thangka, the most common being to create an object of devotional practice for use in Vajrayana practice, which will lead to the accumulation of merit. Looking at a thangka is in itself considered to be a meritorious activity. By further meditating on such objects, under the guidance of a qualified teacher, one can train the mind and gain an understanding of certain types of awareness that the specific image portrays.
Other reasons for commissioning a thangka painting may be to bring about good health, prosperity or long life. Sometimes they are commissioned to aid the recovery of a sick person, or to protect a person, or to help in the rebirth of someone who has died. In these cases a spiritual teacher or Lama is usually consulted to advise on which deity should be painted to be of greatest benefit to that person.
At Tsering Art School, thangkas are executed in consultation with the teachers by the most qualified students in response to the customer’s orders. Each thangka is designed to meet the patron’s particular requirements and will be carefully researched from the appropriate sacred texts, or by consulting lamas from particular lineages. Thangkas are painted according to the Karma Gadri tradition of thangka painting, which originated in Eastern Tibet and is famed for spacious landscapes and transparent hues.
It is important to realize that there may be long waiting lists for thangka commissions to be processed, depending on the complexity of the thangka being commissioned and the availability of the artists. This art form is one that usually requires a period of many days or even months of time consuming and exacting labour. Therefore it is unlikely that urgent time restraints can be catered to.
The school may photograph thangkas made on commission for use as teaching material and in the school fundraising publications such as the art calendar.
For orders, please contact the art school administrator Miss Lobsang Dolma by email on