Painting Schools of Tibet Thangka – Karma Gardri Painting School
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Painting Schools of Tibet Thangka – Karma Gardri Painting School

Update: Feb. 26th, 2013

Tibet Thangka

Thangka, which is Tibetan traditional art, can be divided into ManNyang Painting School, Chintso Painting School and Karma Gardri Painting School.

Painting Schools of Tibetan Thangka – Formation of Karma Gardri Painting School

Karma Gardri was born out of Mendri Painting School. In the middle and end of 16th century, Nanka Tashi who was regarded as the incarnation of the eighth Karma Mikye Dorje ever learned from Gongque Bande who was painter of Mendri Painting School. Later, he was guided by the fifth Karma Bagongque Yinla and fourth Jicao Living Buddha Zhaba Dunzhu. Based on painting techniques of Mendri Painting School, Nanka Tashi combined features of Indian cooper statues and artistic style of "Silk Thangka" in Han Nationality and created Karma Gardri Painting School. In the period when Nanka Tashi created karma Gardri Painting School, there were several famous painters, such as Darbn Reqiangba Quejidanbei Jianzan, Garma Sezhen and Garma Quejuba, etc. After Nanka Tashi, his favorite disciples – Qu Tashi, Naixue Garma Zhaba Tashi Zhaba and Mikye Dorjie inherited his career.

Painting Schools of Tibet Thangka – Features of Karma Gardri Painting School

The most obvious feature of Karma Gardri Painting School is bold color, strong contrast and splendid picture. Consequently, after hundreds years' practice, Karma Gardri Painting School gradually formed special techniques about making and using pigments. When draw picture, painters can make 158 kinds of colors with white, red, yellow, blue and green. The usage of gold is the most obvious feature of Tibetan Buddhist painting since the usage of gold is regarded as the most holy worship to Buddha. There is a suite of unique skills about daubing gold, grinding gold, lining gold, carving gold and dying gold in Karma Gardri Painting School. These unique skills can divide gold into several kinds of warm and cold changes, can line over ten kinds of effects on black background and make several kinds of lines with Nine-eye Stone on the places where daubed with gold.

In addition, there are six basic features about paintings of Karma Gardri Painting School.

The first one is about the composition of painting. Karma Gardri Painting School stresses the center part and pays attention to symmetry. The second one is about modeling. Karma Gardri Painting School uses line to draw the structure of the model. The third one is about color. Paintings of Karma Gardri Painting School are with bright color and strong contrast. Painters boldly use silver and gold. The whole picture is splendid and imposing. The fourth feature is to paint realistically which mainly show on the images of eminent monks. The fifth one is the flexible treatment of space. Paintings of Karma Gardri Painting School used the technique of scattered perspective which makes the painting more deep and rich. The last feature is dense and exquisite pattern which are with strong decorative function.

The most obvious feature of Karma Gardri Painting School, as the conclusion made by Situ Quji Jiongnai, is that the usage of line and color of Karma Gardri Painting School absorbed the style of claborate-style painting, while the layout of space took style of Indian painting and the style inherited the tradition of ManNyang Painting School and Chintso Painting School. Karma Gardri Painting School integrates strong points and good qualities of these three kinds of painting.

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