Tibetan Tangkas dazzle Beijing

Chinaview.cn, Feb 11, 2009

BEIJING, China -- Tangka, or Tibetan Buddhist story painting, is a fascinating element of Tibet autonomous region's culture. At an ongoing exhibition of national heritage items at the Beijing Agricultural Exhibition Hall, visitors can see how Tibetan artisans paint Tangka, and take a closer look at how the exquisite art is made.

<< An ethnic Tibetan monk walks in front of a giant "thangka", a sacred painting on cloth, to be displayed on a hill outside a monastery in Tongren, northwest China's Qinghai province Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. (Photo: China Daily)

Tangka dazzles viewers with its bright colors and exquisite delineation. Folk artist Xi Hedao is drawing gold lines, a demanding skill in Tangka painting. The gold lines can bestow the figure with a glamorous glow.

Tangka features strict composition and elaborate depiction. Some pieces are colored while others are painted with black lines. Another artist Niang Ben is displaying this skill.

The artists are demonstrating how to paint a Tangka at the national heritage exhibition. Viewers can learn about the pigments, skills, and themes of the paintings. The ingredients and proportion of the pigments are secret, and the uniquely created pigment guarantees Tangka retains its bright colors, even after a thousand years.

Besides Buddhist themes, Tangka paintings also feature history, customs and legendary figures of Tibet.

Xi Hedao, an inheritor of Tangka painting said, "This is a Buddhisattava with four arms. It is auspicious and brings peace."

Xi Hedao has taken in thirty apprentices including his son. Tangka art is slowly drawing attention across the world, and increasing orders from across the globe have attracted more young people to develop their skills.