My name is Karma Thupten. I was born in Dza To Shen, a very small village in the high mountains of Kham in Eastern Tibet. I come from a nomad family; my parents raised yak, sheep, and goats for a living. Growing up we moved every three to four months depending on the needs of our animals. I 1959, when I was about five years old the Chinese invaded my country, Tibet, so my family fled first to Nepal and then to India. We lived in many different places over the next 18 years and it was only when we returned to Nepal that we settled down permanently in Kathmandu.  


   I married Tashi Angmo soon after arriving in Kathmandu. One of our family members Tsering Topgyal, who trained with me for five years, now lives in San Luis Obispo county and I hope you will soon meet him.


   My career as a thanka painter began soon after I moved to Kathmandu. My first teacher was Rinchen Norbu, a Tibetan Khampa who studied thanka painting in Tibet and continued his work after he too fled to Nepal. I was his apprentice for one year. It was from my second teacher, Tsetin Tashi I learned most. I studied with him for 5 years then I set up my own studio and have been self employed ever since.


   I follow the Karma Gadri tradition of Tibetan thanka painting. This tradition is said to have been started in the late 15th century by His Holiness Chodrak Gyatso, the Seventh Karmarpa. The Karmarpa created this style by fusing together art that had up to that point been heavily influenced by Mongolia with the indigenous style of Tibetan thanka painting. It is one of the oldest schools of Tibetan painting being predated only by the Mendi style which originated in Lhasa the capital of Tibet.

Thousand-Arm Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion
Wanting to liberate all beings, he discovered that he could not and in sorrow, exploded into millions of little pieces.  The Buddhas were so moved by his compassion, that they re-assembled his body to have 11 heads and 1000 arms, so he could accomplish even more.
This painting is approx. 3 feet wide by 4 feet long.  It is unframed.
Asking price - $2000

Amitayus - Buddha of Limitless Life

Amitayus is the Sambhogakaya emanation of Amitabha.  He is meditated upon and his mantra is used to increase and enrich life.
This thanka is approx. 14 inches by 18 inches.  Brocaded.

Asking price - $200

Milarepa - One of Tibet's Great Yogis
After he and his mother were robbed of their family property,  Milarepa trained as a dark sorcerer. After killing the perpetrators, he repented and sought training under Marpa. Enduring many tests, he attained full enlightenment and wrote many devotional songs.
This painting is approx. 3 feet wide and 4 feet long.  It is unframed.
Asking price - $800

Amitayus - Buddha of Limitless Life

Used to meditate on to increase life.

This thanka is approx. 14 inches by 18 inches.  Brocaded
Asking price - $375

Marpa Lotsawa - The Translator
Marpa is one of the forefathers of the Kagyu Lineage.  He was a landowner and farmer who received transmissions from Naropa.  He was the primary teacher of Jetsun Milarepa.  His wife, Dagmema,, was also a great teacher.
This painting is approx. 18 inches by 30 inches.  It is unframed.

Asking price - $500

Gongkar - White Mahakala

This wrathful emanation of Chenrezig is meditated upon to increase the qualities and potentials for increasing wealth.

Thanka is approx. 14x18 inches  Brocaded

Selling price - $300   /   805-904-6408   /   P.O. Box 13753  San Luis Obispo, CA 93406

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