Author Topic: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)  (Read 8315 times)

Big Uncle

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 08:31:59 AM »
Thangka painting is basically a form of devotional art that was developed over the centuries in Tibetan. Taking artistic influences from Nepal and China, the great Tibetan thangka artists over centuries have continually evolved their style of thangka painting. It is strictly a devotional art form and therefore, the figures and proportions are traditionally adhered to according to descriptions in the scriptures. The background and the peripheral details are up to to the flair of the artist though and as a result, the Tibetan developed a visual language of the divine yidams.

In the course of the development of thangka painting, a number of styles were further developed to best render the deities according to their energy and propensity of the deity. Peaceful deities can be rendered in its full colour or outlined on gold leafed canvas. There are also those that are rendered in red and finally, there are those dark, brooding and wrathful protector guardians like Dorje Shugden that are are rendered in black. Whatever style doesn't really matter but each can be used as a backdrop.

Anyhow, this thangka is certainly a stunner. I could imagine many people would find it beautiful and somehow avant-garde although it is an old traditional style.

dsiluvu

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 02:56:32 AM »
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Black is the color of hate, transmuted by the alchemy of wisdom into compassion. Darkness represents the imminence of the absolute, the threshold of the experience. It is used for terrific ritual actions, the radical conquest of evil in all its forms - conquest not by annihilating, but by turning even evil into good. Thus, in the black paintings (Tibetan nagtang) the black ground casts forth deities in luminous visions of translucent colors.

I've always loved Tibetan art since I first laid eyes on one... I think the symbologies of everything from the colour to the art work makes it so powerful and meaningful.... but this is rather interesting knowledge... I never knew "BLACK" is the color of "HATE". I've heard in general BLACK is a very powerful colour which absorbs all other colour from the spectrum and if one is weak and down, one should not use "Black" in terms of dressing. But it is interesting to know how in the Tibetan art, it significant meaning is to conquer evil, absorbing them and turning them in to good!

It makes sense because the only thing that can penetrate darkness is light and the Buddha here being Dorje Shugden is "wisdom" hence it's perfect symbol... Dorje Shugden is Manjushri which is the WISDOM conquering DARKNESS which is our inner demons and delusions that causes us to remain here in samsara. Likened to a candle that brings light to a dark room. Thank you for this sharing Wisdom Being! I learned something today :)

dsiluvu

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 03:13:21 AM »
Since we're on the "thangka" painting subject.... here a little information to all those who appreciate art and thangkas... it is more then just another beautiful mesmerizing image of a Buddha... it is actually literally a road map to "ENLIGHTENMENT" I was once told by an artist Lama. There are some thangkas that before you can paint them, the artist actually goes in to a retreat and while painting they just chant mantras. Even their diets change according to the deity they are painting and the retreat they are in. Perhaps this is why when we see certain thangkas we do feel a certain of power that is alive in the paintings and some paintings is so highly blessed that it actually gives signs.  What great merits one collect from creating/painting a sacred Buddha images which entails the essence of that particular Buddha's qualities and awakened mind... the qualities the practitioner is to achieve.

Here's a brief explanation of what is a thangka's intent...
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Intent, In Tents and Intense, by Ann Shaftel

Abstract 

The concept of Original Artistic Intent is difficult to apply to Tibetan thangkas. Thangkas are composite objects produced by painters and tailors with differing intents, skills and training. Iconographic specifications, regional and doctrinal differences in style, changes in form from harsh treatment and altered mountings all complicate the issue.   

Introduction 


A thangka is a complicated, composite three-dimensional object consisting of: a picture panel which is painted or embroidered, a textile mounting; and one or more of the following: a silk cover, leather corners, wooden dowels at the top and bottom and metal or wooden decorative knobs on the bottom dowel.   

Can you say that there was an artist who had a prevailing artistic vision over the entire composition? Rarely. Is the thangka which you are examining in your laboratory today in its original form? Probably not. 

Intent   

What is the purpose of a thangka, what use was it originally intended for? Thangkas are intended to serve as a record of, and guide for contemplative experience. For example, you might be instructed by your teacher to imagine yourself as a specific figure in a specific setting. You could use a thangka as a reference for the details of posture, attitude, colour, clothing. etc., of a figure located in a field, or in a palace, possibly surrounded by many other figures of meditation teachers, your family, etc.. 

In this way, thangkas are intended to convey iconographic information in a pictorial manner. A text of the same meditation would supply similar details in written descriptive form.   

Does the concept of artistic intent apply to thangkas? Only rarely do thangkas express the personal vision or creativity of the painter, and for that reason thangka painters have generally remained anonymous as have the tailors who made their mountings. This anonymity can be found in many other cultures.   
There are, however, exceptions to this anonymity. Rarely, eminent teachers will create a thangka to express their own insight and experience. This type of thangka comes from a traditionally trained meditation master and artist who creates a new arrangement of forms to convey his insight so that his students may benefit from it. Other exceptions exist where master painters have signed their work somewhere in the composition.   

The vast majority of anonymously created thangkas, however, have taken shape as a scientific arrangement of content, colour and proportion, all of which follow a prescribed set of rules. These rules, however, differ by denomination, geographical region and style. The Conservator is left with the responsibility of caring for religious objects that usually carry neither the names of the artists, nor information about their technique, date or provenance. But we do know that the intent of the artist was to convey iconographic information.   

There is a vast amount of iconographic information provided in thangkas, some of it literally spelled out for you. If you look closely, many thangkas spell identification of figures and scenes in formal and delicately rendered scripts. In damaged sections of thangkas where paint layers are missing, letters which indicate the master painter's choice of colour are sometimes visible. These letters were not intended to be part of the final composition and should not be confused with the former. But given the breadth and variety of the iconography of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, it is virtually impossible to extrapolate the information that would be required to fill in figures that are missing or to complete the sacred objects that the figures hold in their hands. Where inpainting is required, the definition and clarification of artistic intent is a complex issue.   

Since even indigenous Tibetan scholars trained in the iconographic details of Buddhist deities generally would not presume to know the iconography associated with every deity, it is unlikely that most Conservators could guess the identity and details of unfamiliar figures. In this case, speculation as to the artist's intent tends to be a particularly unrewarding strategy.   

In the twenty five years during which I have been working with thangkas, I have chosen never to guess, calculate or presume to identify missing iconographic facts. To do so would, in my experience, contravene both the ethics that are required of professional Conservators and the integrity of the objects that have been entrusted to us. Even a subtle change in colour alters the message of an icon.   

For example, a particular shade of the colour green indicates effective activity, while a white often indicates peacefulness and unassailable compassion. It is significant therefore if the same form of a feminine figure is rendered in green or white.   

Is the colour you see before you the colour which the artist intended for you to see? Sometimes water damage (yak-hide glue is susceptible to water damage) washes away several fine layers of pigment on final paint layers or shading layers. This damage exposes either underdrawing or flat colours which the artist never wanted you to see. Although some details may be present, unless the artist has also left a notation as to the specific colour (sometimes revealed by paint loss), an error would be made if the Conservator were to reconstruct something in an inappropriate colour.   

Often, a combination of water-damage, greasy butter lamp soot and smoky incense grit permanently alters the original colours. Evidence of this is often seen at the edges where a mounting has protected the original colours.   

Source:http://www.buddhanet.net/thangkas.htm
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Aurore

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2013, 05:35:47 PM »
Ooohh, I just found this on dorjeshugden.com. New additions to this nathang style painting. This time is the full Dorje Shugden five families. Finally!

You can download the high resolution images here.
http://www.dorjeshugden.com/downloads/images/the-five-families-of-dorje-shugden-in-nathang-style/

Love and merits to the artist for making this available to us.

Big Uncle

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 04:48:57 AM »
Wow! I love the new thangkas that have been available for download. I like the style and I love the fact that the background is completely black, which makes the deity stand out even more. I think this style is kind of hybrid of the traditional style that people often see in full-color along with the traditional nakthang rendering. There's also another beautiful rendering of Dorje Shugden appearing on this website and it seems to depict Dorje Shugden in a peaceful aspect (not as in Gyenze but with a fair and smiling face). It is beautiful but I think majority of practitioners somehow are attracted to his wrathful image instead. Perhaps, its the karma of the people.

So, which do you guys prefer?....


Dorje Shugden with a wrathful face?

or...


Dorje Shugden with a peaceful face?

DharmaDefender

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2013, 05:05:02 PM »
Hey everyone, just stopping by to show you this picture I found of Dorje Shugdens nathang being used on someones altar. I picked it off the Dorje Shugden Facebook that someone else had uploaded. Seems people have caught on to the idea...even if their altar is sprinkled with incense ash. But Im glad to know its being downloaded and used, I guess thats what it was uploaded for!

WisdomBeing

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 10:05:32 AM »
Here's another article which gives more information about this kind of thangka painting. It is interesting that Jeff Watt calls them Black ground paintings, i would have thought they would be called black background paintings but then he's the art scholar, not me LOL!

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/himalayan-buddhist-art-101-black-ground-paintings

Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Black Ground Paintings
Posted by Alex Caring-Lobel on 07 Feb 2013   
 
Buddhist practice and Buddhist art have been inseparable in the Himalayas ever since Buddhism arrived to the region in the eighth century. But for the casual observer it can be difficult to make sense of the complex iconography. Not to worry—Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt is here to help. In this "Himalayan Buddhist Art 101" series, Jeff is making sense of this rich artistic tradition by presenting weekly images from the Himalayan Art Resources archives and explaining their roles in the Buddhist tradition.
 
Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Black Ground Paintings

Black ground paintings are compositions in which the ground preparation for the canvas is of a black color or the background of the composition is painted black. This type of painting, with its unique and recognizable appearance, has an early historical source and ritual component.


Mahakala - Chaturbhuja (Four-hands). Tibet, 1700–1799. Drukpa (Kagyu)
and Buddhist lineages. 86.36x67.95cm (34x26.75in). Ground mineral pigment, fine gold line,
black background on cotton. Collection of Rubin Museum of Art.


Traditionally, the iconographic subject for these paintings is limited to wrathful deities. These deities can be either protectors, such as Mahakala and Shri Devi, or meditational models, such as Vajrabhairava and Hevajra, as long as they are wrathful or semi-wrathful in appearance.

The surge in popularity of black ground paintings can be dated to the 14th and 15th centuries. The origins of the style date far earlier, rooted in the various tantric texts of the 9th to 12th centuries. The two most important examples of these texts are the twenty-five chapter and fifty-chapter versions of the Mahakala Tantra.


Shri Devi - Magzor Gyalmo. Tibet, 1800–1899. Buddhist lineage.
Ground mineral pigment on cotton. Private collection.

Both texts contain sections where the devout practitioner is instructed to compose a painting for ritual use of his or her favored form of Mahakala using charnel ground cloth remnants and funerary ashes from a cemetery—hence the black coloring. Such instructions for creating drawn and painted likenesses of meditational deities and protectors are common to many tantric texts. Once a painting is created, it is kept secret and never displayed publicly, to be used only by that practitioner.

The Buddhist tantric system enumerates four tantric activities that correspond to four different colors: white for peaceful activities, yellow for activities of increase such as wealth and health, red for activities requirng subjugation or speed in their accomplishment, and black for wrathful activities, as exemplified by black ground paintings.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Ensapa

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2013, 05:39:59 AM »
I really love the nathang here! it makes the subject looks very majestic with gold against black! With that said, if i do have enough money one day i'd invite a nathang of Dorje Shugden for my altar and hang it there with the thangka covered most of the time and only open it when I do my sadhana or puja. I love the color black as it is all inclusive and it has an effect that overwhelms all other emotions. But I'd imagine an authentic nathang would be expensive as real gold is used to paint the thangka as opposed to gold-like pigment, so i have heard.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2015, 01:20:49 PM »
The Dorje Shugden and 4 emanations Nathang  (black Thangka) are breath takingly beautiful.

I wish I can invite all of them to my altar.

Gabby Potter

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2015, 08:19:51 PM »
Personally, I really like the image of Dorje Shugden here, He looks peaceful and so too wrathful. Some people may find Dorje Shugden too wrathful that they are afraid to get to know more about Him, I am pretty sure this is going to benefit a lot of people. Thank you for sharing! :)

Q

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Re: Dorje Shugden nathang (black thangka)
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2015, 08:50:18 AM »
Nathangs are my favorite too! For some reason I'm always attracted to these black thangkas. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures as well as the explanation about the history and significance of having a black thangka.