Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thangka Paintings of King Gesar of Ling

The legendary King Gesar of Ling is believed to have plundered many treasures from the Kingdom Of Tajik (Persia). It is said that many dZi beads were also amongst these treasures.
Photo: Tibetan Thangka Painter

Tibetans have a very rich tradition of sacred iconography and paintings are known by the name 'Thangka'. The apprentice is expected to spend many years studying under a master artist. Some works can take several years to complete and are often painted with natural stone pigment paints. For that extra special touch, some artists will use a dZi bead to apply and burnish gold. The dZi is mounted like a brush on a wooden handle, which helps give the artist more precision. It is believed that Thangkas will carry a unique and luminous quality by using a dZi bead tool.
Above: Sangye Menla (Medicine Buddha)
Ancient dZi beads have been used in Tibetan medicine for centuries. Small shavings of whole dZi or broken fragments of dZi are ground up and mixed with other herbs and minerals. Pills (Tibetan: Rilbu) are then made and ingested to cure all manner of illness. Dzi medicine is thought to cure epilepsy, lower blood pressure and ward of harmful spirits.