In Buddhism, a thangka is a piece of religious textile art, usually depicting a deity, a mandala, or a scene or tableau from Buddhist myth. Thangka are typically either painted directly onto cotton fabric, or constructed through silk applique, but some thangka are tapestries or pieces of woven beading. A thangka may hang in a frame, or it may be pinned up at the corners to hang free under its own weight, although this offers greater risk of damaging fabric which may be very old and fragile.
A thangka may be hung as an altar piece, a work of meditative art in one's bedroom or office, or else stored in a dry location, carefully rolled up.
The word thangka is Classical Tibetan for "unrolled thing." The oldest surviving thangka date to the 11th century CE in Tibet, and the oldest Nepalese thangka are from the 14th century.
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