Thongdrel

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Thongdrel unrolled at the Gomkora Tsechu 2013 Guru Rinpoche Gomkora.jpg
Thongdrel unrolled at the Gomkora Tsechu 2013
The Tashilhunpo Thanka Wall, Tibet Tashilhunpo Thanka Wall.jpg
The Tashilhunpo Thanka Wall, Tibet
Large thangka hung on a wall at Gyantse in Tibet in 1938 Bundesarchiv Bild 135-S-18-10-29, Tibetexpedition, Tempelfest, Gebetsmauer.jpg
Large thangka hung on a wall at Gyantse in Tibet in 1938

A Thongdrel (alt. throngdrel) is a large appliqué religious image normally only unveiled during tsechus , the main religious festivals in Bhutan. They are the largest form of thangka paintings in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Thongdrels typically depict a seated Guru Rinpoche surrounded by holy beings in a composition that, unlike most smaller thangkas, is in a "landscape" format, somewhat wider than it is tall.

Appliqué textile works created by applying shapes or patterns in one material onto another material

Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments. The technique is accomplished either by hand or machine. Appliqué is commonly practised with textiles, but the term may be applied to similar techniques used on different materials. In the context of ceramics, for example, an appliqué is a separate piece of clay added to the primary work, generally for the purpose of decoration.

Bhutan Landlocked kingdom in Eastern Himalayas

Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.

Thangka Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, or silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala.

A thangka, variously spelt as thangka, tangka, thanka, or tanka, is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. Thangkas are traditionally kept unframed and rolled up when not on display, mounted on a textile backing somewhat in the style of Chinese scroll paintings, with a further silk cover on the front. So treated, thangkas can last a long time, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture will not affect the quality of the silk. Most thangkas are relatively small, comparable in size to a Western half-length portrait, but some are extremely large, several metres in each dimension; these were designed to be displayed, typically for very brief periods on a monastery wall, as part of religious festivals. Most thangkas were intended for personal meditation or instruction of monastic students. They often have elaborate compositions including many very small figures. A central deity is often surrounded by other identified figures in a symmetrical composition. Narrative scenes are less common, but do appear.

Thongdrels are composed of several layers, mostly of silk. These begin with a backing, then the image itself, made up of appliqué pieces sewn to a background. Finally there is a yellow drape that covers and protects it when not on display. Thongdrels are stored rolled up. Thongdrels are displayed once a year as the highlight of the tsechu festival of a district or dzongkhag (although not every district has a thongdrel). Typically they are displayed on the last day of the tsechu. The painting is not allowed to be struck by the direct rays of the sun, thus it may be unfurled at around 3:00 in the morning and rolled back up by 7:30 AM.

Dzongkhag administrative and judicial district of Bhutan

A dzongkhag is an administrative and judicial district of Bhutan. The twenty dzongkhags of Bhutan are further divided into 205 gewogs. Some larger dzongkhags have one or more of an intermediate judicial division, known as dungkhags (sub-districts), which themselves comprise two or more gewogs. The Parliament of Bhutan passed legislation in 2002 and 2007 on the status, structure, and leadership of local governments, including dzongkhags. Its most recent legislation regarding dzongkhags is the Local Government Act of 2009. A dzongkhag is headed by a dzongdag, who is an elected official.

Usually the architecture of the dzong provides a wall with access above, down which they may be unrolled, but sometimes metal hanging frames may be used. Major Tibetan centres have structures built into the defensive walls or other buildings specifically designed to give a large space for the display of festival thangkas.

The mere viewing of the unfurled thongdrel is said to cleanse the viewer of sin. They may also be exhibited at other important occasions such as royal coronations, when the thongdrel from a number of monasteries may be transported to appear.

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