Medium: wood, silk, water colour pigment, cotton canvas cotton string
Description: A painted thangka panel bordered in yellow silk brocade and inset into a blue silk brocade hanging, suspended from a wooden batten with string for hanging, and backed by a red loose weave material. The painted panel is protected by a loose cover of yellow, or gold, silk. Stitching is machine produced.
The word thangka derives from the Tibetan language, and denotes a visual record of an event. Traditionally such objects were hung in temples to support prayer. Thangka painting was a family craft, reserved for the males only. The master made the sketch in charcoal and the son or apprentice added the colours.
This thangka depicts a large central female deity within a flaming circle, suounded by Buddha-like figures, demons and bodhisattva (human beings who let themselves be born again to act as spiritual guides to other living creatures), against a background of mountains and heavens. The figure has wings made of many hands and a headdress made from many faces. Her three faces suggest she could be an Asura, and she holds a bell to drive away evil spirits.
Part of the Georgina and Raymond Mills Collection.