A thangka is certainly the most well-known object of Tibetan Buddhism. These scroll paintings have enjoyed great popularity outside Tibet over the last 40 years. Thangkas are hung up for meditation in temples or house altars as well as carried in processions. They depict Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, tutelary deities, Arhats and various Lamas, ascetics and pandits in scenes of their lives in different incarnations, or symbols such as the mandala.
Thangkas are created according to precisely defined iconographic rules [regarding body forms, clothing and posture of the portrayed].
They are mostly painted on linen and are mainly spread in Tibet, but also in Nepal and India, especially in the border areas to Tibet.