thangka

Thangka depicting human figure with medicinal annotations and symbols. Blessed on reverse.

For a thangka to be effective it first must be consecrated. Typically this involves inscribing the reverse of the painting with the mantra OM AH HUNG, or Body, Speech, Mind. These syllables are written on the thangka by a Rinpoche -a reincarnated Buddha, returned to help others reach enlightenment- or a high lama. The location of the syllables corresponds to the deity depicted on the thangka: body is marked on the other side of the canvas to the forehead, speech, the throat and mind, the heart. Through this process of consecration (or rapney in Tibetan) the image on the thangka becomes the deity it depicts.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk