Artist Ngawang of Potala Paintings has created paintings using traditional Tibetan motifs: symbols of longevity, symbols of good luck and prosperity, holy lamas, nagas, birds, and flowers. These paintings may be done on a wall and then protected by an application of oil-based varnish. Or they may be painted on canvas and then framed for hanging.

Symbols of Longevity

The Six Symbols of Long Life

The six symbols of longevity are of Chinese origin and appear as secular rather than religious in Tibetan art. They are frequently carved on wooden panels and furniture, or painted as wall panels and decorative motifs on porcelain chinaware.

The six longevity symbols are the old man of long life, the tree, rocks, water, birds, and deer of longevity.

Holy Lama

Painting of a Holy Lama

This is an illustration of a typical hermit monk who lives high in the mountains, away from the noise of civilization. In such an environment, he can spend his days and nights in deep meditation, training his mind to reach enlightenment.

Here he is holding a bowl of fruit and flowers in preparation to give as an offering to the deities.


Naga Amidst Lotus and Jewels

The nagas are the serpent spirits that inhabit the underworld. They have their origin in the ancient snake cults of India and were assimilated into Buddhism at an early date.

The Buddhist nagas inherited much of their early Indian symbolism. They dwell in the underworlds below land and sea, especially in the aquatic realms of rivers, likes, wells, and oceans. Nagas are the underworld guardians of treasures and concealed teachings, and can manifest in serpent, half-serpent, or human forms.

Nagarjuna, the great first or second-century south Indian Buddhist philospher received the Prajnaparamita Sutra(Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom) from the undersea palaces of a naga king and revealed it to mankind. This sutra, in both its abridged and expanded version, was originally entrusted to the guardianship of the nagas by Shakyamuni Buddha.

Two Peacocks, Golden Cranes with Black and White Wings, and
Vase of Flowers on a Little Stool

These paintings of birds and flowers can be painted on canvas and framed to decorate the walls of your house.

The crane is a migratory water bird. In Tibet, water birds sojourn for the summer months on Tibet's turquoise lake.

The peacock is endowed with many mystical qualities. In Buddhism, the peacock supports the throne of amitabha, the red Buddha of the west, whose qualities include passion, love, vita fluids, evening twilight, summer, and fire.

Flowers in all cultures symbolize beauty and ever re-occuring life. Often they are given as offerings to those whom we honor, respect, and love.