The Four Harmonious Friends
with Carmen Mensink

Learn to draw these famous animals in this evening + day workshop, according to the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist Thangka (scroll paintings).

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 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 people’s homes and monasteries.

People love having this image at home, as besides being a beautiful and decorative illustration, it stands for harmony, peace and collaboration in the family. In the monastery it promotes the harmony within the sangha (monastic community) and it teaches respect for old age.

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 workshop 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.

To learn more about this course:

About the Teacher

Carmen Mensink is an internationally renowned painter of thangkas, the traditional Tibetan scroll paintings of Buddhas and mandalas. She is the founder of the online School for Tibetan Buddhist Art.

Carmen has been teaching Tibetan Art, Meditation and Philosophy for two decades and offers classes at museums, universities, and Buddhist centers around the world, including the Rubin Museum of Art, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and Omega Institute. She has been featured in dozens of publications.  

Through the dedication and joy Carmen expresses (and that is passed on to her students!) in her onsite, online, and private thangka classes, she has guided and inspired thousands of people along the Buddhist Art & Dharma path.

Carmen is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is also being asked to work on related Tibetan art forms, including large floor paintings of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ to welcome the Dalai Lama in her home country in 2009, 2014 and 2018. 

To learn more go to and the