Thangka paintings are essentially painted or embroidered Buddhist banner which are hung in a monastery or a family altar or even carried in ceremonial processions. They were also used by traveling monks who carried them from one monastery to another. In Tibetan language, Thang means flat and implies painting done on a flat surface. It is also known as scroll-painting as it can be rolled up when not displayed.
Thangka paintings can have multiple functions. The images of deities can be used as teaching tools while preaching of Buddha. They can describe the various historical events in the life of the Lamas and narrating mythological stories. These paintings use devotional images as the centerpiece in a ritual and prayers are offered to them