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Religious Art and Social Media Censorship

Dear friends,


After three months we finally restored and updated our secure payment system. So we are happy to welcome new orders from new visitors and our affectionate customers.

Traditional Art of Nepal is now five years old and we are proud to announce that we now collabore with three more thangka painting schools in the Bhaktapur district. This allowed us to support and welcome new students willing to learn this beautiful art in any of the schools that we partner with. All this could not be possible without your kind and generous contribution. Thank you so much!

During the time our website was offline we lost lot of traffic so we decided to start a little social media campaign on Instagram and Facebook to reach more people around the world and share our works of art with them.
However today Instagram decided to not boost one of our post with the following reason:

Your ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies for advertising adult products or services. We don’t allow images or videos that show nudity or cleavage, even if it’s portrayed for artistic or educational reasons.

This is the post we tried to boost:
White Tara Painting censored

It was our desire to repost this in order to thank you all and extend our best wishes to all the new visitors for a long and happy life.
To do so we wanted to use  this gorgeous thangka painting of White Tara, perfect symbol of the feminine compassion and love.
When we had this post rejected we felt that somehow people could be offended by artworks like this. If so we apologise as it is not our intention to offend anyone.

Few weeks after we tried to advertise another post on Facebook displaying a Thousand armed Avalokitesvara thangka painting and we received the following message.
Avalokitesvara Painting Censored

By learning how to paint thangka we try our best to assimilate the teachings behind each brush stroke.
Living a small village in Nepal, visited by tourists from different countries, we learned to respect other cultures and welcome everyone with a smile.

We all really hope that one day both traditional media and social media will understand the importance of this art and will look at the whole picture, and not simply at a small, little, tiny part of it.

Thank you again to everybody for the support, patience and immense affection.


Traditional Art of Nepal

Happiness is an Art

Akasagarbha Thangka Painting

Akasagarbha: The Bodhisattva of Infinite Happiness

“Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It’s you that makes the moment happy. It’s not the moment that makes you happy.
With mindfulness, concentration and insight, any moment can become a happy moment.
Happiness is an art.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

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The Fascinating History of Himalayan Masks

Traditional Cham Dance

The Origin of Himalayan Masks Cult

Nepalese and Tibetan Masks are one of the symbols that better represent the culture and traditions of people living in the Himalayan region.
The ritual of wearing masks is very old and it comes from animists Himalayan tribes used to worship spirits of nature and guardians of these majestic mountains.Himalayan Masks

The Shamans of these tribes used to wear masks during rituals they use to perform in order to protect the village, heal diseases, practice exorcisms or other purposes.
Masks supposedly had a very important functions in the social life of these community as they were used also during theatrical representations and ceremonies dedicated to ancestors.

Hindu and Buddhist cultures, that became dominant in the surrounding regions, slowly replaced the myths of this shamanic cult.
However some of the old costumes survived.
Even spirits and demons were adopted by the Buddhist tradition and some of them became wrathful protectors of the Buddhist doctrine.

Padmasambhava and the Rise of Buddhism

Guru Rimpoche Thangka

Buddhism entered Tibet in the 7th century AD. According to Buddhist mythology the main actor of the transformation of Tibet was Padmasambhava. A famous Tantric Buddhist master from the Swat Valley (today Pakistan) and founder of the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery at Samye, south central Tibet.

Padmasambhava was called by the first Emperor of Tibet to defeat the ancient mountain gods of the old animist cult.
In accordance with the Tantric principle of redirecting negative forces toward spiritual awakening, Padmasambhava converted the wrathful deities, convincing them to become defenders of the new faith.

He is also said to have introduced at Samye Temple the so called Vajra Dance. A dance that takes place in a monastery where masked monks in deep meditation perform rituals that last for three days.
This practice continues today under the name “Cham” and it celebrate Padmasambhava’s conquest over the indigenous cult and their deities.
In Nepal this dance tradition takes a form known as Mani Rimdu: spectacular and colorful masked dances performed during different religious festival.

Iconography of Tibetan Masks

Bhairava Nepalese Mask

Considering the polytheist nature of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions the deities represented by Tibetan masks are numerous: Shiva, Bhairava, Ganesh, Mahakala, Garuda and Varahi are the most famous.
Some of the deities are depicted using animals like the Lion associated with Sima or the Tiger symbolizing Duma.
However the images must follow the rules and prescriptions described in old manuals and iconographic books.Himalayan Mask
There are several books that set those guidelines, one of the earliest is from the first half of the 15th century. All the masks display a common element: the open third eye mark on the forehead.
The style of Tibetan and Nepalese Masks is characterized by elaborate pointed crowns with skulls, various head-bands, earrings and many other colorful elements.
These decorations not only reflect religious and symbolic aspects but also add a powerful imagery and a peculiar and fascinating look.

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Raktayamari Thangka: A Closer Look at the Thangka Worth $45 Million


Widely recognised as one of the most important Asian works of art and one of the world’s great textile treasures, this Thangka was recently bought for $45 million.
Rakta Yamari painting

From a distance it looks like a painting, however this masterpiece is not made by brush strokes but millions of carefully placed stitches of floss silk in a dazzling array of colors, covering every square inch of the surface of the textile that measure 132 x 84 inches (335.3 x 213.4 cm.).
Tibetan Thangka Painting
The Thangka depicts the majestic Raktayamari, the red Conqueror of Death, standing in yab-yum embracing his consort, Vajravetali.
Tibetan Painting
Raktayamari is an important deity of Anuttarayoga-Tantra in Vajrayana Buddhism, and one of the three Yamari forms of Bodhisattva Manjusri (the other two being Vajrabhairava and Krishna-Yamari) revered by various Tibetan sects.
The highlights on the torsos and limbs of Raktayamari and Vajravetali, to denote the musculature, are some of the most common motifs in Nepalese-Tibetan paintings and a notable characteristic of figures in classical Tibetan art.

Highlights and Symbolism

Every aspect of the form of Yamari and the consort Vajra Vetali have symbolic and coded meaning.
The red body color represents the desire to overcome all sufferings and place all beings in the state of enlightenment. The weapon that Raktayamari holds subdues the afflictions (maras).

Tibetan Buddhist weapon
Tibetan Symbolism
The left hand holds a cup made by ancient Lama’s skull and containing the essence of the four maras transformed.
Tibetan painting Skull Cup
The three round eyes express compassion for all beings in the three times of past, present and future as well as the three watches of the day and three watches of the night.
The orange and red hair is to symbolize the increasing qualities of the Buddha and the aspects of the Mahayana Five Paths.
The crown of five dry skulls symbolizes the five poisons transformed into the five wisdoms.
The necklace of fifty fresh heads represents the vowels and consonants of the Sanskrit language.
Buddhist Decoration
The eight snakes represent the subjugation of various obstacles and the accomplishment of skillful activities.
Symbols of Buddhism
The locked couple is trampling on the blue corpse of Yama, the Lord of death, wearing a tiger skin and crown, lying on the back of their mount, a brown buffalo recumbent on a multi-coloured lotus base.
Buddhist Mandala
All below two rows of buddhas and bodhisattvas seated on lotus bases, the upper including Heruka Vajrabhairava on the far left and Manjusri on the far right, flanking the five Dhyani Buddhas.
Buddha painting
Buddhist Thangka
Buddhist Painting
Below this row of deities are two Taras – Green Tara on the left, and White Tara on the right.
Tibetan Deities
Tibetan Buddhism
In the lower panel is a row of seven offering goddesses dancing on lotus bases and holding aloft dishes as offerings below the couple.
Tibetan Deities

Meaning of the artwork

The metaphor for Rakta Yamari is ‘death.’ The name means the ‘Red Killer of Death.’
In this symbolic meaning the idea of death refers directly to the suffering and unhappiness in the world as described in Buddhist philosophy.

The general appearance of the deity, number of faces, arms, ornaments, decorations and attributes are all part of a mnemonic device (memory system) that incorporates the most essential of Buddhist principles and core teachings into a single object.
The one face represents the embodiment of the wisdom of all Buddhas as having one taste, or flavor, ultimate truth. The red body color represents the desire to overcome all “maras” and place all beings in the state of enlightenment.


Henss, Michael. ‘The Woven Image: Tibeto-Chinese Textile Thangkas of the Yuan and Early Ming Dynatsies’, Orientations, November 1997.

Himalayan Art Resources. Rakta Yamari Main Page. Jeff Watt, 2-2005.

Himalayan Art Resources. Rakta Yamari Textile. HAR no. 57041.

Raktayamari-tantraraja-nama. Gshin rje’i gshed dmar po zhes bya ba’i rgyud kyi rgyal po [TBRC w25383, w25384].

Reynolds, Valrae, ‘Buddhist Silk Textiles: Evidence for Patronage and Ritual Practice in China and Tibet.’ Orientations, April 1997.

George Roerich (trans.), Biography of Dharmasvamin, A Tibetan Monk Pilgrim. Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1959.

George Roerich (trans.), The Blue Annals. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1996, 2nd ed.

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All our artworks are handmade and each one is unique.
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