Feature: Thangka art: the tale of a Tibetan family

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Publish Time: 2019-03-21 Author: From: Xinhua

LHASA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Norbu Sidar, a thangka master, spent his teenage days reciting vast sutras from Buddhist scriptures, and made sure that his nephews Konchoge and Tsering did the same.

Born into a family of thangka painters in Xigaze, they followed the steps of their ancestors to carry on the craft.

Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist scroll painting on cotton or silk with mineral and organic pigments derived from coral, agate, sapphire, pearl, gold, and others so that the color stays for centuries. The paintings date back to the 10th century and typically depict Buddhist deities.

A thangka painter works during an art collection expo at Gansu international conference and exhibition center in Lanzhou, northwest China's Gansu Province, April 12, 2018. (Xinhua/Fan Peishen)

Norbu Sidar is a renowned master for the Mensar school in Tibet Autonomous Region. Mensar is one of the four schools of thangka, placing focus on the elaborateness in Buddhist images, landscape, animals and garments.

He is the head of the Tibetan Thangka Academy in downtown Lhasa, offering free classes to interested applicants, particular those poor but talented apprentices from his hometown Xigaze.

Konchoge, a deputy to his uncle, is also a successful painter. He often sits for hours in front of a painter's rack for practice and wants to become a highly-acclaimed master.

"To draw a thangka, one needs to exert the power of the eyes, the hands and the heart, with the utmost purity in your heart and persistent attention to details," Konchoge said.

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