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Ancient Tibetan metalwork lives on

05-04-2012 08:28 BJT

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Gold and silver wares pop up all throughout Tibetan culture. And beloved for centuries, the delicate craftsmanship behind the art continues to be handed down through the generations.

At the foot of Mount Kawa Garbo, Lobsang Tashi is busy working with gold and silver.

Lobsang Tashi, Tibetan craftsman, said, "We melt gold into mercury, and brush it onto different pieces, which are then heated. The mercury then evaporates, leaving the gold behind. That's how we make gold-plated wares. We use a special kind of grass here to polish them. But traditional gold plating is rarely seen now. This skill will probably be lost in the near future."

Gold and silver wares pop up all throughout Tibetan culture. And beloved for centuries,
the delicate craftsmanship behind the art continues to be handed down through the generations.

He comes from a long line of craftsmen - fourteen generations to be precise. Lobsang started learning the trade from his parents when he was about ten years old. That means that today he has three decades of experience under his belt. Even so, he sometimes relies on the priceless knowledge of his ancestors.

Lobsang also said, "Here are the books on metal crafting passed down through my family. This one has been passed through more than ten generations. It covers all the procedures for making silver and gold wares. This is my grandpa's notebook. Here I can find solutions to different problems."

Gold and silver wares pop up all throughout Tibetan culture. And beloved
for centuries, the delicate craftsmanship behind the art continues to be
handed down through the generations.

That knowledge is hard to replace. We find that evidenced in Lobsang's home, where he keeps a liquor container made by his father, his grandma's Buddhist statue, and grandfather's silver knife. Each he keeps preserved as mementos of past years.

Perhaps they serve as inspiration too. Lobsang said that even for him, making such intricate pieces is tough work.

Gold and silver wares pop up all throughout Tibetan culture. And beloved
for centuries, the delicate craftsmanship behind the art continues to be
handed down through the generations.

 

Editor:Bai Yang |Source: CNTV.CN

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