Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page

Black Ground Painting | Ground Colours Main Page

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Subjects, Topics & Types
- Black Ground Definition (below)
Black Ground (Eastern Tibet, Kham)
- Black Ground (Qianlong Period)
- Vajrabhairava Black Ground
- Black Silk
- Black Cloth
- Coloured Ground
- Gold Ground
- Red Ground
- Confusions
- Others...

Black ground paintings can be dated to the 14th and 15th centuries following even earlier models where wrathful figures are drawn on a black painted surface created from charnel ground ashes. The textual source for black ground paintings is found with the Anuttarayoga Tantras of Indian Buddhist literature. Black ground is appropriate only for wrathful and fearsome subjects. In the Tantric Buddhist system there are four activities associated with four colours: peaceful - white, increasing - yellow, powerful - red, and wrathful - black, or dark blue.

Jeff Watt 3-2004 [updated 4-2017]