Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators
The subjugation of negative mental states.Vidyaraja wrote:1. The common imagery in thangkas of a deity standing on top of some figure, be it a human or some other deity--what does this symbolize?
More graphic representation of the subjugation of negative mental states.2. Related to the above question, imagery of wrathful deities tearing out the entrails of the figure lying prostrate or in the case of Vajrakalikya, piercing the chest or back of a figure lying prostrate--what does this symbolize?
Jewels, wish-fulfilling jewels and flaming jewels.3. What are the colored orbs or balls that are often at the bottom of a thangka, often with top center-most one in flames?
The Buddha's ushnisha, one of the 84 signs and marks of a great being. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ushnisha4. This may not be strictly in thangkas, but images of Buddhas have a piece of skin protruding from his topknot and the Buddha is holding some sphere or bowl--what are these and what do they symbolize?
Merely stylistic approach but often used to emphasise a deity's wrathful nature. You also get red thangkas especially for deities of the lotus family with magnetising powers etc.5. What is the significance, if any, of black thangkas? Merely a stylistic approach or do the black thangkas have some greater meaning to them?
michaelb wrote:The subjugation of negative mental states.Vidyaraja wrote:1. The common imagery in thangkas of a deity standing on top of some figure, be it a human or some other deity--what does this symbolize?
Vasana wrote:If anyone has any good online resources that deal with thangka iconography and explain in depth each element and being let us know.
The symbolism of the arrow is revealed in legends of the Mahasiddha Saraha [...] and his dakini consort, who was a master [arrow-smith]. Saraha is usually depicted as sighting along an arrow’s shaft. Here the arrow-shaft represents the central channel; the smoothness of the bamboo joints symbolizes the untying of the psychic knots that constrict the flow of wind into the central channel. The four sections of the bamboo shaft [...] symbolize the four concentrations, [four] mindfulness[es], [four] immeasurable states, the karmas, [the] four joys, four moments and the four levels of tantra. The sharp vajra-point of the arrowhead symbolizes the concentration of wisdom as penetrating awareness or single-pointedness of mind. The thread represents the binding of the tantric commitments. The five-colored threads [feathers?] glued at the flight-end of the shaft represent the binding of the five Buddha wisdoms, the five perfections of method (generosity, discipline, patience, effort and concentration), with the bow representing the six[th] perfection (wisdom). The two sides of the arrow’s releasing-notch represent the union of relative and absolute truth, and the union of conventional and ultimate bodhicitta. (For further information read the previous weapon teaching posts).