I would love to understand Thangka motifs and what they really mean. Very often, one sees circular motifs running through a painting -- do they represent the Circle of Life?
 How did it end up being used to document Tibetan Medicine?
Hi, a few months ago I went to a trade fair for alternative healing therapies and one of the stall's had a bunch of people from the Tibetan institute of medicine .. they had a huge selection of really beautiful old books that to me looked like thangkas but were basically the human anatomy and were obviously about healing etc etc.. so now my question is were those thangkas as well? or are thangkas only meant to represent things about the buddha and his life. Madhavi
Interesting point about representations that look like Thangkas but are on anatomy and healing. My understanding of this is that the making of Thangkas is according to strict rules regarding iconography to be used and the masters of Thangka painting are thoroughly versed in anatomy as they follow a process of geometric composition of the Thangka painting. Arms, legs, eyes, nostrils, ears, and various ritual implements are all laid out on a systematic grid of angles and intersecting lines. So a book on Tibetan medicine and healing probably has similar depictions of the deities as found in some Thangka paintings. Kavita www.rareindianart.com