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A TIBETAN BUDDHIST SCROLL OR THANGKA
Height 66.5 cm Width 47 cm (26 x 18.5 in)
The Thangka is of linen painted with tempura and bordered with brocade strips in red, gold and blue. It depicts the deity Yama Dharmaraja with his consort on the back of a bull with five Lohans to either side. In the centre is the Mandala or circle motif of this Buddhist deity who is depicted in this terrifying form as his role is to subdue death and so break the endless cycle of existence.
The word Thangka actually means recorded message and these scrolls have multiple uses; they can be used as an aid to teaching, to help the visualisation of a deity, in Tantric ceremonies and as an aid to meditation. As with Christian orthodox iconography, the exact proportions of the figures, the colours and also the fabric of the borders all have a part to play in the message of the painting and how it is used.
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