This intricately detailed thangka painting illustrates the life of Gautam Buddha. In the center is the enlightened figure of the Buddha, who is surrounded on all sides by scenes from his life. It begins in the top left corner as Queen Maya dreams of a white elephant touching her right side with his trunk. The fortune tellers told her this meant she would become pregnant with a child that would possess exceptional traits. It then depicts the Buddha's birth from Queen Maya's right side.
After birth the prince lived in his father's palace, free from the sight of pain and suffering in the outside world. His father had been informed by the sages that his son would either become a great king or holy man. Fearing his son would leave the world and abandon the throne for religious practice, the king made sure that the prince would never see any signs of suffering. But the prince ventured beyond the castle walls one day. He came across sorrow, pain, death, and those suffering - he saw a beggar, a cripple, a corpse and a holy man. These encounters affected the prince deeply, awakening a deep desire to find the cause of suffering and thus alleviate it.One night when all were asleep inside the palace, he escaped and began the life of a wandering ascetic. For years he fasted, meditated and spent his time searching to find away to end suffering.After trying many paths to realization, including strict asceticism and self denial as seen in the bottom image, and seeing that none were helping him find the cause of suffering, he sat and meditated under a tree. Here Siddhartha had the direct realization of nirvana. This transformed the prince into a Buddha. He spent the rest of his life guiding people on the causes and cessation of suffering in this world.This beautiful Life of the Buddha Thangka is painted by a very experienced Thangka Painter who has a studio in the shadow of the great Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu. It is unframed and painted onto cotton, the painted area of the picture measures 39 cm by 49.5 cm and is a very detailed hand painting in the traditional thangka style. The gold on the painting is gold leaf and the pigments used are all natural mineral or vegetable based paints.Our Thangkas are at least 20 years old as the Thangka Painting in the last Century was far superior to current Thangkas which are made primarily for the tourist trade.