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.

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