Mystic Vision, Sacred Art
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by Raju Gurung
color, 28 min, 1996
This documentary provides an excellent introduction to the art of thangka, sacred Tibetan Buddhist painting in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Carefully filmed, it takes you through every step of the painting process of thangkas. It offers insight into the symbolic and relgious meaning of thangkas and their importance for Tibetan Buddhist life. Most of the artists in this documentary are Tibetan refugees who have devoted their lives to preserving this sacred tradition. Thangkas are the scrolled devotional paintings used in Tibetan Buddhist ritual practice. Their bright colors and flowing patterns may be familiar and appreciated by westerners. However, the opportunity to see where, how, and by whom they are made effects our perception and understanding of the place these works hold in the practice of Buddhism. This documentary provides detailed descriptions of technique, from the stretching and preparation of the painting surface, to the grinding of the pigments, to the drawing of the image and realization in briliant colors.
This program would be of interest to students of Buddhism, art, and Asian Studies.