According to the color of the background, bris-thang can be divided into five classes:
(1) tsho-thang: The background is multi-colorful.
(2) gser-thang: The background is yellow.
(3) mtshal-thang: The background is vermilion.
(4) dpar-thang : The background is black.
(5) dpar-thang: The method making this kind of Thangka is the same as that of water printed.
The largest bris-thang is 3 meters long and 2 meters wide while the smallest one is about 30 centimeters long and 20 centimeters wide.
Different styles of Thangka represent different schools of paintings in Tibet:
1. Karzhi School
Karzhi is one of the schools of Tibetan paintings and sculptures styles. It is said this school follows the painting style which had been used by Karma Mikye Dorje in the Figure Measurement composed by himself and was famous for painting calm and kind-hearted personal figures.
2. ChenZher School
ChenZher School is founded by ChenZher ChanMou of KhongKarLdo in Tibet. This school was born out of ManThangPa painting style and prolongs this style.
3. Mansale School
The founder of Mansale School was Qiangpa-Quyang Gyel-tshap. Their painting style is close to the ManNiang School with characteristics of boorish lines, powerful faces, taller figures, dense color and fine painting techniques.
4. Karlri School
Karlri School was founded by the Living Buddha LanMuKar ZhaXi who combined the technique of measurement in Tibetan painting style with those of coloring and arrangement in Chinese painting. It has characteristics of large picture and various contents. The personage painted usually with a comeliness and pretty face and implicit smile.
5. JeJuBi School
JeJuBi School is a school of painting founded by Karma Quyhang Dorje who absorbed the painting style of Kashmir on the basis of Tibetan painting.
6. Manlu School
Manlu School is the collective name of ManNiang School and Mansale School.
7. DenLu School
It is the painting style of scholars named ChiJar and ManThang·CharKar, etc. They had written many art books like Figure Measurement Favonian Beads, etc.
8. ShiGamPa School
The painting style of ShiGamPa and schools that kept this painting style are all called ShiGamPa School. It is also called Nepal School because of been influenced by the painting style of Nepal.
9. Deri School
Deri School is a school that combined the painting style of Karlri School and ManThangPa School. They mostly pay attention to the sculpture, expression and connotation of the persons painted.
10. ManNiang School
Founded by ManlaThongZhu in the 14th century, it is the earlist painting school in Tibet. The persons painted in their works were almost with a smile or anger, with a slim and graceful figure and verisimilar expression, wearing magnificent clothes, finely colored, and the yardstick of every position of the body is moderate.
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