Pauba – A Contemporary Newari “Thangka”

Pauba – The Newari way of Thangka Art

This painting, is noticeably different to the more classic paintings that we currently find. The reason behind this is simple. It is a Thangka, yes, but it is painted in a style typical to the Valley of Kathmandu. Thangka means painted scroll in Tibetan. Pauba means the same thing but in Newari : the dialect of my forefathers, founders of the Valley of Kathmandu. The valley of Kathmandu was essentially designed to represent a mandala, but this is a long and complicated story, that I will post in due time!

Dorje Gyan

A magnificent Pauba, painted in a contemporary style.

What is the difference between a Pauba and Thangka?

In essence, they they are the same : visual representations of Buddhist concepts and Deities. The fundamental difference is in the style that the painting is painted in. The Pauba is distinctively different, the artist is given more room to express himself, while the Deity is always painted with directives (proportions, ornaments, throne, etc..).

There exist Newari Paubas, painted in older styles, that may resemble traditional Tibetan Thangka styles.

A modern Newari Pauba

The word modern is used as the painting is recent, although the artist has represented a Deity, the usual rules of canvas preparation and pigment use have not been followed. Painted in acrylics, on canvas : but, I must admit that the use of these materials has added depth and texture to the Newari Pauba which is not always present in Traditional Thangkas.

The Divinity in the centre of the Newari Pauba : Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva is often represented with his consort, he can also be represented alone. Mostly seen in purification practices and Vajrasattva is very present in the Buddhist Tantra. The Newari people of Kathmandu are notorious for the practices of Tantric Buddhism, where Vajrasattva is considered to be a Boddhisattva by the followers of Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism.

A dedicated article will be posted soon.

Comments 5

  1. I love your Pauba here of Vajrasattva & consort with the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Anyway this can be purchased as a hanging-wall print?


  2. Intersting article, would love to know more about Pauba and looking forward to read about the founders of Kathmandu valley as you have mentioned on this article!

  3. Hello to Satcheen Shakya from the hills and valleys of New Luce in Scotland.

    I found this image (Pauba) of Vajrasattva on line in the local library in Stranraer, Scotland, yesterday and after finding it struck a chord within I printed it off along with some others, all from different sources, that are related to my personal practice (Vajrasattva empowerment previously received from Akong Rinpoche prior to his death last year). I was in a rush yesterday as I only print occasionally and don’t have a printer at home. I have spent this morning and now afternoon looking up the various images I printed to check on any copyrights I may have infringed. All were fine apart from this one which doesn’t seem to specify whether it’s ok or not to download images from your site. I have also now downloaded the image of Six Armed Mahakala from your site as I found your description more useful and detailed than that of another image I printed off yesterday (of course that image will be kept). Can you please let me know if it’s okay to do this as I do pay for each print I do at the library but don’t know if their licence covers me.

    I don’t want to break one of the five vows by inadvertently stealing these 2 images which I would only be using for my own personal practice.

    Anyway, please let me know and many congratulations on your site which I find very enlightening and which I will be returning to again.

    Faithfully yours and Namaste.


  4. Post

    Namaste Karen!

    You are welcome to use any of the images on the site for your own personal practice !
    I wish you well on you journey and many blessings to you !

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