Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Colours Subject Outline Page

Colours Introduction Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:

- Art History & Colours:
--- Pigments
--- Regions
--- Colour Composition & Theory
--- Artistic Convention, body halo, head halo
--- Gold Fill Figures
--- Four Painting Ground Colours

- Iconography & Colours:
--- Tantras (source texts)
--- Sadhana (iconographic description)
--- Commentaries

- Religious Context & Colours:
--- Foundational Buddhism
--- Mahayana Buddhism
--- Vajrayana Buddhism
----- Four Activities
----- Five Buddha Families
----- Mandalas, Directions & Colours

- Exceptions:
--- Example: Shadbhuja Mahakala
--- Abhidhana & Dakarnava
--- Others...

Colours can have different implications and symbolic meanings between the three traditional categories of Buddhism. With narrative paintings and depictions of historical monastic figures the shirts of Indian teachers are often blue and those of Tibetan and Himalayan teachers are red, yellow or orange.

Gold fill can be applied to any and all figures in art. This is done as a sign of respect and as an auspicious offering. Gold fill is only iconographic when used for Shakyamuni Buddha and a select number of other buddhas.

Jeff Watt 5-2021

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