Thangka inheritor's quest to promote Tibetan intangible heritage

Publish Time: 2022-11-17 Author: From: People's Daily Online

In a village in Hualong Hui Autonomous County, northwest China's Qinghai Province, Genden Tsering and his apprentices are in a studio, busy working on thangka paintings.

File photo shows Genden Tsering and one of his thangka paintings. (Photo/Li Yufeng)

Genden Tsering, 40, is a representative inheritor of Hualong Thangka, a branch of thangka art, which is a traditional style of Tibetan Buddhist scroll painting.

Hailed as the "encyclopedia of Tibetan culture," thangka art was included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2006.

As an inheritor of thangka art, Genden Tsering has devoted himself to the craft for 20 years.

Genden Tsering came from a poor family and learned thangka art after he graduated from primary school. Four or five years later, he began to draw thangka paintings in northeast China and Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region.

As his thangka painting skills rapidly improved, he started to gain cultural and theoretical knowledge. In 2006, Genden Tsering was enrolled at Qinghai Nationalities University. After graduating, he returned to his hometown to begin work protecting and carrying forward Hualong Thangka.

Between 2009 and 2019, Genden Tsering and his apprentices drew many thangka paintings and won prizes at large exhibitions at home and abroad.

File photo shows Genden Tsering working on a thangka painting. (Photo/Li Yufeng)

Genden Tsering says he integrates traditional Tibetan culture with contemporary art in his thangka paintings to add more substance to his works.

Genden Tsering said inner peace and dedication are essential for a thangka painter to create great works, adding that thangka art is becoming increasingly popular these days.

His dedication to the craft has brought him more opportunities. He is now deputy director of the Thangka Art Committee under the China Arts and Crafts Association, a member of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association, and vice chairman of the thangka art association of Qinghai Province.

Genden Tsering works on a thangka painting in his studio. (Photo/Zhou Xiaohua)

Genden Tsering's thangka works are sold in various places including Beijing, east China's Jiangsu Province, northeast China's Jilin Province, and Shenzhen city in south China's Guangdong Province. His works are also popular with collectors at home and abroad.

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