Healing Lions
Natural pigments painted onto the skin

Lok Chitrakar is one of the most prominent Paubha painters in Nepal today. Employing a historically very intricate painterly tradition, a Paubha artist can work for decades on a single large-scale painting, and might hope to finish only a few in one lifetime. Lok Chitrakar also continues a tradition of Paubha painters acting as healers, in a subversion of prescribed caste roles, where painters are otherwise placed below brahminic healers.

Shown here, he draws two sacred lions around an eruption of shingles on the skin of a sufferer, in the hope that the power of these animals (and possibly the traditional mineral pigments in the paint) will alleviate the pain.

Lok Chitrakar is a self-taught artist. He is also an educator, keeping alive this ancient artistic tradition, older than Tibetan thangka.

(Photos courtesy of: Sheelasha Rajbhandari)

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