Tibetan thangka master, Tashi Dhargyal
has embarked upon a powerful cultural journey: the first Tibetan master to
paint a multi-story thangka, or thanbhochi, outside Tibet. Tashi was
trained by Ven. Sangye Yeshe, the Dalai Lama's first thangka painter in-exile
The thangka is faithful to the centuries-old Menris Tradition, started by
Menlha Dhondup who introduced the painting style in the 1500s. If you
take a look at Tashi's video - you'll see the lengths he has gone to already --
from securing private meetings with the Dalai Lama and Karmapa in India... to
building out his studio in Sonoma... this project is in motion!
The fifteen by twenty foot canvas was hand-prepared with cotton and natural animal skin glues. The painting will be completed with only the best hand-ground mineral pigments and 24k gold, and framed in delicate brocade from Varanasi. The drawing is complete, and painting has begun.
Tashi's vision for the thanbhochi (the Tibetan word for a large thangka) hails from his aim as a youth, to help the monasteries of Tibet.
The thangka features thirty-seven figures: Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples in the middle, each of the four schools of Buddhism are represented in the four corners with their respective lineage gurus and disciples. The sides of the thangka feature the Seventeen Nalanda Masters, whose teachings are frequently referenced and venerated by HH the Dalai Lama.
The thanbhochi is a singular canvas that intertwines karma; people from around the world are expected to see this piece at it tours museums and cultural institutions, before it is ultimately donated to a monastery in Tibet.