Painting from Printed Compositions

The woodblock printing technique reached its height in Tibet during the eighteenth century, becoming an important means for transmitting artistic compositions across place and time. This process of reproduction entails carving a block of wood with an image based on a famous painting composition; that image is then imprinted on paper or canvas and painted. Individual artists can add further details to the foundational image and use pigments of their choice. This simplified process helped mass produce sets of paintings of popular subjects to decorate monasteries as well as spread stylistic conventions. The images above show a painting juxtaposed with the image of a print upon which it is based.