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Thangka, similar to scroll painting of Han people, is a kind of painting on silk or paper with embroidery. It is usually hung on the wall for worship to religions. Thangka is a unique painting art in Tibet. The themes of the painting could be history, polity, culture, society and other areas, so it is also honored as the encyclopedia of Tibetan people.

Thangka had been arisen since the period of Songsten Gampo. It was a new brand painting art at that time. With mounting of colorful stain, it has very distinct Tibetan character, profound religious culture and unique art form. There are various types of thangkas with different materials, but most of them still painting on silk and paper. Besides, there are also embroidery, brocade, applique Thangkas, and some even painting on colorful decorative pattern with jewelries and jades dotted on it.
Tibetan thangkas used to be made in mainland China. Especially in the Yong Le and Cheng Hua Periods of Ming Dynasty, lot of thangkas reached to Tibet. Later, Tibetan people also painted this kind of scroll painting.

The type and quality of Thangka is varied, but most were drawn in cloth and paper. But there are also the embroidery, brocade and applique fabric thangka, some still weaved on the decorative pattern, embedded bead jade stones with spun of gold. Thangka painting art is a miracle of Tibet culture, for thousands of years. Thangka art is the Chinese nation precious intangible cultural heritage of folk art.

The theme of Thangka is all-encompassing, such as religious paintings, biographies, history, painting, which can reflect the living custom genre, also some of thangkas can reflect astronomy and Tibetan medicine, human body anatomy science and so on. They have the characteristics of popular, interesting, informative, religious etc, it was praised as "encyclopedia" of Tibetan.
There are two types of printing thangkas: one is the whole picture printing, and the other is the printing one of caved plate of the picture on chiffon or percale. Now, most of the thangkas on the market are printing or painting thangkas.

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