A Tibetan thangka celebrates the revered Buddhist teacher Padmasambhava, a monk who, in the eighth century, traveled from his native India to Tibet. The scholar is recognized for smoothing the adoption of Buddhism within Tibet by integrating some of the deities and beliefs of Tibet’s ancient Bon religion into Tibetan Buddhism. On the back of this thangka (sometimes spelled “thanka”) is the Tibetan script for the mantra “om mani padme hum.” The mantra, which is said to contain all the teachings of Buddha, is used in meditation central to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism. The mantra originated in India as did Buddhism, and it is possible that Padmasambhava introduced the mantra into Tibet, although that is pure conjecture as far as we know. The significance of the elements surrounding the monk in this thangka are fascinating elements of the complex pantheon of Buddhist symbolism but well beyond our ability to interpret. This thangka was painted in Nepal in the 1960s as Tibetans began moving there after the difficulties with China and the exile of the Dalai Lama. It then was sent to Germany where it remained until the 1990s when we acquired it. It is painted on cloth and bordered in the traditional red, yellow and blue silk. The silk is backed with heavy cotton, and the piece has an additional flap of gold silk that was used to cover the thangka painting on certain holy days. The top is mounted on a wood rod for hanging. This thangka is in very good condition, with the painting showing slight damage from creasing in a few areas. See our photo enlargements #3 and #4 to inspect damage from creasing. Dimensions of the thangka including silk borders: height 43” (109 cm), width 27” (69 cm). Dimensions of painted area: height 25” (69 cm), width 17” (43 cm).