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What is the Tibetan art?

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  • What is the Tibetan art?

    Tibetan art draws from three great spiritual sources, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism and Bon (a religion originating in Tibet with a shamanic and animist tradition). Thus, as tibetan art historian Kathryn H. Selig Brown explains, during the 11th and 12th centuries the artistic influence came from the Pala Empire. Later during the 13th century, Nepalese artists were responsible for painting thangkas and carving sculptures. In the 14th century the dominant influences came from Nepal and China, and once in the 15th century, all these artistic fusions gave rise to what we know today as Tibetan art.

    One of the most common forms of Tibetan art is the thangka. These are rolls of paint on cotton or silk that usually depict a Buddhist deity, a scene or a "mandala". In addition to thangkas and painting on cloth, there are also wood carvings, religious murals, sculptures in bronze, stucco, wood or ceramics.

    Tibetan art has a strong religious function, since in addition to transmitting Buddhist teachings, it is used for meditation. The philosophy of the No-self or the absence or insubstantiality of the soul is symbolically reflected in the Tibetan artistic legacy, since the authorship of most of the works that have reached our days is unknown. The works were made anonymously by monks and lay artists, who did not sign their creations.

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