Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Style: Men-ri (New)

Terminology & Classification of Traditions & Style Names

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Explanation (below)
--- Definition
--- Characteristics
--- Examples
- Choying Gyatso (artist)
- Potala Murals
- Painting Traditions
- Painting Styles
- Politics in Painting
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Menri Style, Menri Monastery, Menri Tridzin
- Others...

- Menri & New Menri Painting Styles
- Menri Painting Style & Tradition

New Menri Facts:
- New Menri painting style & Menri painting style are NOT the same style
- New Menri was started by Choying Gyatso (mid 17th century)
- Menri was started by Mantangpa (mid 15th century)
- Menri painting style & New Menri painting style ONLY share the same name
- New Menri was a style of Choying Gyatso
- New Menri is no longer a style since the 17th century
- New Menri is the name of a painting tradition
- The terms New Menri & Menri are often used interchangeably (17th century to the present)
- New Menri is the name of many different styles of painting:
--- Tsang Menri (Tsang-ri)
--- U Menri (U-ri)
--- Tashi Lhunpo Menri
--- Lhasa New Menri
--- Amdo Menri
--- Rebkong Menri
--- Chamdo Menri
--- Dragyab Menri: Khazi Lhazo, Protectors
--- Others...

Important artistic centers such as Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tsang, where Choying Gyatso, founder of 'New Menri,' originated from do not use the terminology of New Menri. They call all painting that is done under their auspices as Menri. They do not apply the additional word 'new.' In Lhasa and the regions under the political and cultural sway of Lhasa use the term and promote the term 'New Menri.' In the present day, 21st century, the terms 'menri' and 'new menri' are used essentially interchangeably.

In modern times it is important to understand that Khyenri, Menri, Karma Gadri and New Menri do not refer to painting styles but rather to traditions of the distant past. None of those four traditions are currently existing painting styles.

Of the four traditions, the Karma Gadri was never actually a painting style but rather a collage of Chinese Yongle landscape painting elements combined with Menri or Khyenri Tibetan style figures of teachers and deities. This form of painting was popular in the Karma Gar - 'Tent encampment of the Karmapa' (16th century) - hence the name of 'Karma Gardri' style/tradition.

Jeff Watt, 9-2021

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).