Inner Mongolian Girl Dedicated to Studying Tibetan Thangka Art

June 24, 2013
Editor: Liu Yunting

 

Zhu Jingrui, 20, from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has dedicated her life to learning and promoting the great Tibetan art of thangka. [Xinhua]

Zhu Jingrui, 20, from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has dedicated her life to learning and promoting the great Tibetan art of thangka. [Xinhua]

Zhu Jingrui, 20, from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has decided to dedicate her life to learning and promoting the great Tibetan art of thangka.

A thangka is a painting on silk with embroidery. When Zhu first saw one in a magazine while she was still in college, she was so impressed by its magnificence that she decided to leave school to learn thangka painting in western China's Qinghai Province.

Despite objection from her family and friends, Zhu traveled to Kumbum Monastery, or Ta'er Temple, in Qinghai, to pursue her dreams. Later, a monk at the monastery gave Zhu a Tibetan name, Dbyangscan Lhamo.

Zhu currently draws thangka paintings for over 10 hours a day and says that the practice helps her to find inner peace in a busy world. Although she says that she sometimes gets lonely, she believes that loneliness can sometimes be conducive to making great art.

Although she has not lived long on the Tibetan Plateau, Zhu says she has already fallen in love with the region and is determined to promote thangka to the world.

Thangka paintings usually depict a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala of some sort. A thangka is not a flat creation like an oil painting or acrylic painting but consists of a picture panel, which is painted or embroidered over which a textile is mounted and then over which is laid a cover, usually silk. Generally, thangka lasts a very long time and retain much of their luster, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture will not affect the quality of the silk. It is sometimes called a scroll painting.

Kumbum Monastery was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the Tibetan cultural region of Amdo. Its superior monastery is Drepung, immediately to the west of Lhasa. It is ranked in importance as second only to Lhasa.

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