Tibetan Sacred Art

There is a Tibetan Sacred Art exhibition happening these days in Merigar East. We are displaying for the first time the Tangkhas that belonged to prof. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, the Tibetan master that established Merigar East. Thanks to prof. Fabian Sanders from the Ati Yoga Foundation, we learned the hidden meanings in the paintings and the process of painting. If you come to see the exhibition, our guides will tell you more about what we discovered.

Tibetan art, in particularly paintings, but also sculptures and other forms are just like a language. They are a text, written in a language of signs, of forms, of colors and not in words. Anything that you see in them has a precise reason to be there.

The purpose of these paintings is to communicate with the mind of those who look at it and to communicate in a more direct way than words. When you see an image, you have a completely different reaction than when you hear a teaching in words. It is far more potential. That is the purpose of the piece of art. 

This very precise language is not open to improvisation, to the painter’s individual creativity. It is not the same painter that paints the whole painting, but it is a collective work. The main artist paints the eyes, at the end, and it is like giving life to the painting.

The paintings are easy to roll, they are made also for easy transportation, they are made to be carried around, because Tibetans are moving a lot.

The colors are taken from all the three realms: animals, minerals and vegetables. The best and more expensive colors are minerals, like precious stones. You have turquoise, lapislazuli, gold, metals, silver. Anything that has a strong pigmentation can be used, there are really large varieties of things they use for paintings. The paintings also have very specific measurements and proportions, that should be respected.

The paintings and statues need to be consecrated or empowered by a lama.

The painter, ideally, they should receive from a Lama (or Teacher) transmission of the mantras connected to that deity and then they are authorized to practice, and only then, ideally, they should have developed a very precise image of the deity, an inner visualization of the deity. Finally, they are in the perfect condition to paint in the best and most powerful possible way.

Cover photo by Lubomir Michna.

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