Drawing a Buddha in the Tibetan style
January 22, 2021 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The Tibetan Book of Proportions is an eighteenth century manual that gives precise iconometric guidelines for depicting the Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. Labels for each image in the book. Clouds. Buddha face and teaching mudra. Earth touching mudra and Tara.

A standardized grid with numerical notations is used for both marking the measurements of the figures and for arranging the posture of the figures within a composition. Written in Newari script with Tibetan numerals, the book is likely to have been produced in Nepal for use in Tibet. It is presently held by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

About Buddhist images and art

Draw a Buddha.
posted by nickyskye (11 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any job openings in Buddha's graphic design department? Asking for a friend.
posted by thelonius at 11:35 AM on January 22

wow! I am literally right now in the middle of drawing a representation of Yamantaka. Awesome resource!
posted by brappi at 11:38 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]

This makes me want to draw the Buddha. Thanks for sharing.
posted by sveskemus at 12:28 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]

2020 was the first year in about the last 10 that I haven't visited the Rubin Museum in NYC. They have a nifty online interactive Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room if you want to explore how all of those perfect proportions look all together in one space.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:52 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]

I have this handbook of Tibetan Buddhist symbols and it’s also really good.
Thanks for posting!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:14 PM on January 22

And also this Buddhist art coloring book, same author as the handbook above. Can’t bring myself to color it though. Cuz.... You know.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:19 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]

I'm gonna guess this doesn't cover guidelines for creating a Buddha head coffee mug. (I was rather disappointed recently to see that someone I know has one; it felt really disrespectful. But then again, the same person also has a pet tepee, so...)
posted by limeonaire at 8:23 PM on January 22

Thank you for the book recommendations St. Peepsburg. Robert Beer seems to deserve credit for introducing the western world to Tibetan art through his tireless studies and reproductions.
posted by FairWitness at 8:29 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

Wow these are so beautiful. Tara is very special to me.
posted by bleep at 9:34 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]

A note about the funny mistranslations and misspellings of the labels for the images. A few rough corrections:

2.11 - Manjushri standing and Vajra Kila" should be Manjushri standing and Vajrakilaya

2.12 - "Vishnu men, and Pupa King Kong" should be Kubera on a Snow Lion and Dorje Phurba Yab Yum

2.13 - "Shengle King Kong" should be Yab Yum (sexually united deities) with the female standing on one leg and then with both legs up

2.14 - "Great Weide King Kong" should read Yamantaka

2.15 - "King Kong and Shengle King Kong" should be Yab Yum (sexually united deities) with the female standing on one leg and then with both legs up
posted by nickyskye at 9:40 PM on January 22

Slightly (geographically related) but Nepal actually specifies the exact layout of their flag via geometric construction in their Constitution.
posted by PenDevil at 5:13 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

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