History of the original Milarepa Thangkas
The basis of the 18 thangkas depicting the life story of Milarepa was his most famous work the "Hundred Thousand Vajra Chants"
In 1775, the then Abbot of Hemis Monastery in Ladakh [West Tibet, now part of India] Mepham Tsewang Tänle asked the Seventh Drukchen Rinpoche of Sangnag Choling Monastery in southern Tibet to illustrate the life of the most famous Tibetan saint Milarepa.
Thereupon, the most important passages of the life story of Tibet's greatest saint were selected and captions for 18 thangkas were compiled. After their completion, the scroll paintings were taken to Hemis Monastery.
To this day they are kept there rolled up in leather-covered wooden boxes. Only once a year, on the occasion of the Hemis Festival, they are displayed for a few days in the private rooms of the Abbot of Hemis