Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trip to India & Nepal - Boudha Part 3

A local barber shop

There are a couple of Thanka Art Schools around the Stupa. We visited one and Michael bought a Thanka.


I loved this one. Many of the finer ones have considerable touches of gold paint.


They are painted with tiny brushes and can take weeks to complete. A Thanka is a Tibetan silk painting with embroidery, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, famous scene, or mandala of some sort. The thanka is not a flat creation like an oil or acrylic painting. Rather, it consists of a picture panel which is painted or embroidered, over which a textile is mounted, and then over which is laid a cover, usually silk. Generally, thankas last a very long time and retain much of their lustre, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture won't affect the quality of the silk. It is sometimes called a scroll-painting.

Originally, thanka painting became popular among traveling monks because the scroll paintings were easily rolled and transported from monastery to monastery. These thanka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and bodhisattvas. One popular subject is The Wheel of Life, which is a visual representation of the Abhidharma teachings (Art of Enlightenment).

To Buddhists these Tibetan religious paintings offer a beautiful manifestation of the divine, being both visually and mentally stimulating.

Thanka, when created properly, perform several different functions. Images of deities can be used as teaching tools when depicting the life (or lives) of the Buddha, describing historical events concerning important Lamas, or retelling myths associated with other deities. Devotional images act as the centerpiece during a ritual or ceremony and are often used as mediums through which one can offer prayers or make requests. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, religious art is used as a meditation tool to help bring one further down the path to enlightenment. The Buddhist Vajrayana practitioner uses a thanga image of their yidam, or meditation deity, as a guide, by visualizing “themselves as being that deity, thereby internalizing the Buddha qualities ."

This one was almost all gold and is a Wheel of Life thanka.





Thankas with the silk covering. Many of the ones for sale to westerners do not have the silk covering and are meant to be framed.

The beautiful tiger panel I have been coveting for years was still on display at the Stupa entrance.

The Stupa gate from the inside.

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