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Tangka painter carries on traditional art

08-07-2013 10:02 BJT Special Report: This is Tibet |
Special Report: Inside Tibet |

By CCTV reporter Han Bin

The Tangka is an iconic Tibetan art. It first appeared about 13 hundred years ago. The paintings on silk serve as teaching tools for Buddhists. Our reporter Han Bin revisited one Tangka artist he met 15 years ago in Lhasa only to find that he has kept the art form’s legacy alive through all these years.

Han Bin (R) revisited one Tangka artist he met 15 years ago in Lhasa only to find that he has
kept the art form’s legacy alive through all these years.

A unique path to enlightenment.

Every morning, Tsenden Namgyal and his students devote themselves to creating Tangkas. These works reflect the painstaking labor of the crafters, and the reverence of their souls for Tibetan Buddhism. The delicate brushwork, vivid characters, and rich, intense colors, all embody the beauty of Tangka art.

"Those who draw Tangkas must believe in Buddhism. Those who do not have part of the Buddha living in them, will not be able to draw the Buddha well." Tseden Namgyal, Tangka Painter said.

Tseden says Tangkas deserve their lofty reputation--the works emerge from time-consuming procedures and the skilled use of rare and expensive materials. One such painting could take several months.

We first met Tsenden Namgyal 15 years ago. He was the first Tangka painter to open a shop in Lhasa’s Barkor Street in 1996. He told us that he wanted to see the art form thrive through his efforts.

Han Bin (R) visited Tangka artist Tsenden Namgyal in 1998.

One of his students was Lopsang Tenzin. At that time, the boy might have had little idea of what he was doing. Yet his high concentration showed that he had the potential to become a Tangka master.

Now 28, Lopsang Tenzin still follows his teacher at the workshop. He’s used the past 15 years to become a highly-skilled professional. Lopsang says he’s found enlightenment through the journey of art. And he would agree that no two journeys are the same.

"Different Tangka painters may have different styles. Teacher Tseden’s painting is a combination of traditional and modern representations. He uses simple but delicate patterns and lines to show the Buddha’s wisdom and kindness." Lopsang Tenzin Tangka Painter said.

Tangka making is rooted in Tibetan culture--a medium through which Buddhist philosophy can be explained. Paintings usually depict a Buddhist deity or famous religious scenario. It’s an art form, sacred object, teaching tool, and so much more. Passing on this legacy is also Tseden Namgyal’s mission.

"I hope to teach more students, and enable this unique art form to be appreciated around the world. I also hope this art form will be carried through to the younger generations." Cidan Langjie, Tangka Painter said.

Tseden Namgyal has devoted some 40 years of his life to his art. Now his students, like Lopsang Tenzin, are painting their own way through life. They hope that Tibetan Tangkas, will one day flourish around the world.


Editor:James |Source:

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