tibet-post-header
Tibet: Features Arts and Culture Humility and Dedication: A Tibetan Thangka Painter

Humility and Dedication: A Tibetan Thangka Painter

E-mail Print
13 january 2012 001Dharamshala: On a hilltop nearby the north Indian town of Dharamasala sits a unique art studio that works to preserve the Tibetan art of thangka painting.

The Tan Gul Gatso studio's mission statement is to "preserve the tradition of thangka painting by training a new generation of painters, and to bring greater awareness and understanding of this art form to people around the world."

Almost ten years ago, Lobsang, age 24, came to apprentice at Tan Gul Gatso under thangka master Lobsang Choegyal.

Lobsang, whose mother and brother remain in Tibet, came to Dharamasala as a refugee in 1994, to study at Masuvie Tibetan school. However, he was not hugely interested in his studies and, through family connections, came to Tan Gul Gatso at the age of 15, where the master asked him to stay.

"It was extremely difficult at first to draw," he said. "I never had interest in art - I wanted to play with my friends and my hobbies were in sports.

"In the art of thankga, it is not contemporary art where you can draw whatever you please. Instead this art has specific measurements depending on the different deities and a very specific way you must draw them."

For their first three months, students learn to draw the Buddha's face until their skills reach a level of consistency.

Next, if they win the master's approval, they spend two to three years learning to sketch the bodies of the various deities in pencil. Having acquired this skill, they are finally allowed to apply paint.

"Thankga is a life-long dedication to the art and I want to pursuit it," said Lobsang. "[It] is very important because it is part of Tibetan culture. It is mental training to paint each day with consistency."

He spends about seven hours a day painting and is tasked mainly with detailing buildings, grass, flowers, clouds and sky. He also prepares canvases for the master.

The master usually draws the sketches, which are then painted by three other artists.

"Thangka painting requires extended concentration, attention to detail, and knowledge of Buddhist philosophy," said Lobsang, "and must be carried out in a peaceful environment.

"[It] is a very humble art, in a sense that you never sign the art work."

Lobsang, who last spoke to his family on the phone seven years ago, said, "If Tibet is free, it would be easier to go back...I would like to go back to Tibet.

"In the future I want to make more painting. Now I am still learning and developing skills."

Addthis
Last Updated ( Friday, 13 January 2012 09:53 )  


......


Genocide in the 20th Century: Massacres in Tibet: 1966-76

Genocide in the 20th Century: Massacres in Tibet: 1966-76

Dharamshala — Anyone who regularly obser...

Reporters Without Borders’ 30 years of struggle for press freedom

Reporters Without Borders’ 30 years of struggle for press freedom

Dharamshala — Through Reporters Without ...

Is China wittingly replacing temples in Tibet with propaganda centers?

Is China wittingly replacing temples in Tibet with propaganda centers?

Dharamshala— China's tough new policy of...

Tibet and the global economy: is today’s China poisoning the West?

Tibet and the global economy: is today’s China poisoning the West?

Dharamshala — The democratic ideals of f...

If Tibet is part of China, Why are Tibetans treated so badly? Rose Tang

If Tibet is part of China, Why are Tibetans treated so badly? Rose Tang

Brooklyn, US – If Tibet is part of Peopl...

Tibetan Youth Congress refutes China’s White Paper on Tibet

Tibetan Youth Congress refutes China’s White Paper on Tibet

Dharamshala — In response to the White P...

China's white paper on Tibet is barking up the wrong tree

China's white paper on Tibet is barking up the wrong tree

Dharmshala — China has set a definitive ...

Former Special Envoy: The Tibetan Youth Congress Story

Former Special Envoy: The Tibetan Youth Congress Story

Dharamshala: - Kasur Lodi G. Gyari, who ...

1987: “We began the struggle” says former Tibetan political prisoner

1987: “We began the struggle” says former Tibetan political prisoner

Dharamshala — "Tibet was a free country ...

Former prisoner Topjor: My wish was and still is for a free Tibet

Former prisoner Topjor: My wish was and still is for a free Tibet

Dharamshala –"My wish has not changed, i...

Language policy in Tibet absolutely unacceptable: Top Official

Language policy in Tibet absolutely unacceptable: Top Official

Dharamshala: - The replacement of the Ti...

My book is my own personal experience: Kunsang Dolma

My book is my own personal experience: Kunsang Dolma

Dharamshala: - In an exclusive interview...

Online Translation

English Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Armenian Azerbaijani Basque Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Estonian Filipino Finnish French Galician Georgian German Greek Haitian Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish