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03:30 Sep 30 2011

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Thangka art on display in Lhasa
10:09, August 05, 2010  

50 Thangka masters from all over TAR have gathered in its capital city of Lhasa for the first Thangka Art Expo.

A total of 50 Thangka masters from all over Tibet Autonomous Region have gathered in its capital city of Lhasa for the first Thangka Art Expo. Besides displaying beautiful work, the masters are required to paint on the spot and demonstrate their skills.

The Thangka Art Expo is being held inside the Museum of Tibet. Participating artists, who range in age from 19 to 60, will demonstrate their skills during the event. Their qualifications will be decided after the exhibition. On specially treated Thangka canvases, painters first draw out a silhouette using charcoal before applying colors.

Tsering Chudrag, who has been in the trade for over ten years, is attending the competition for the first time. Having painted this particular Thangka for several months, Tsering hopes he could get a good score this time.

Thangka is a Tibetan silk painting with embroidery, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, famous scene, or mandala of some sort. Thangka become popular among traveling monks because the scroll paintings were easily rolled and transported between monasteries. These Thangka served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha. Themes include landscapes, inhabitants, religious activities, nomadic life, as well as urban life.

The Thangka Art Expo has included almost all schools of Thangka painting. One in particular, the Menbris school, has been listed as National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Tenba Rabten, inheritor of the Menbris School of Thangka, and Chairman of the Tibetan Folk Arts Association, said many of the painters have began studying the art form in the 1970s.

The Art Expo is a platform where they can exchange ideas and develop skills.

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