Date: 09 Jan (Sat) to 10 Jan (Sun) 2016
Time: 10am to 6pm (Sat), 10am to 5pm (Sun)
Venue: The Buddhist Library
Trainer: Carmen Mensink

Fees: BL Member S$155, Non Member SGD$190 (Cash payment only)

The 4 Harmonious Friends
Symbol of Peace and Collaboration

In this weekend we will draw this beautiful image according to the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist Thangka (scroll painting).

These Four Harmonious Friends are also known by the name of Harmonious Brothers; it’s an illustration of four animals that sit on top of each other; the Elephant, Monkey, Hare and Partridge.

Besides drawing and coloring of this image you will hear all about the story behind it. It has its origins in the Jataka-Tales, the stories about the previous lives of the Buddha.

Apart from Tibet and India, this image is often found in Bhutan as well. It is one of the most beloved stories that have been passed on from parents to children for centuries.

Paintings of the Four Friends can be found on the walls of monasteries, where it promotes the harmony within the sangha (monastic community) and it teaches respect for old age.

This image is found at people’s homes as well, because besides being a beautiful and decorative illustration, it stands for harmony, peace and collaboration in the family.

The four herbivores also represent their four natural habitats: that of air (bird), tree (monkey), earth (elephant) and subterranean (hare); therefore this image is also seen as a symbol of our harmony with nature.

This weekend is suitable for everyone, including people without any drawing experience. We will work with the traditional thangka grids (proportions) and you will get a lot of personal guidance.

It’s also possible to use this weekend to complete your previous thangka drawing(s).


  • Drawing paper will be offered to everybody for free but you are very welcome to bring your own.
  • Please bring: ruler, pencil (preferably mechanical pencil), eraser. They can also be borrowed.
  • Optional: good quality colored pencils (like Prismacolor Premier)

The Teacher: Carmen Mensink

Carmen Mensink is an internationally renowned painter of Tibetan Buddhist Art. This is called Thangka: scroll paintings of Buddhas and mandalas. Carmen is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and teaches this beautiful ancient art (which also includes Buddhist meditation and philosophy) all around the world.