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Thangka painter Nyima Losang: passing on ethnic arts

By Liu Fang, Zhi Xinghua Source:China Tibet News 2019年11月27日 09:53

A piece of cloth, a few of brushes, a set of pigment, and a heart of love are all for Nyima Losang to create Thangka works of Qiwu Gampa school.

The Qiwu Gampa school of Thangka art, begining in the 13th century, is the first localized school of painting in the history of Tibetan art, containing an unique aesthetic taste of Tibetan culture.

Nyima Losang comes from Pozhang Town of Naidong District, Shannan City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. In 1984, Nyima Losang, who was only 17 years old, became attached to the painting school of Qiwu Gampa. Later, through years of study and research, he has integrated folk art expression techniques into paintings, which are highly praised by all sectors of the society for the using of bright and multiple colors and vivid figures.

"Painting Thangka is a delicate work, which tests one's composure very much. A Thangka painter should be very patient and thoughtful." Nyima Losang works hard on every stroke, not allowing any carelessness.

Nyima Losang's Mandarin is not very good. However, in order to study from others and learn better painting skills, he has bought books of painting skills and art works in Wuhan of Hubei Province. With the help of his son, he reads them while learning Chinese characters, and actively introduces better painting materials.

Since year 2000, Nyima Losang has visited three teachers. After eight years of painting practice, he has completed his whole set of Qiwu Gampa school paintings in 2008.

In 2017, Nyima Losang has been honored as a master of arts and crafts by Tibet Autonomous Region, and his works of Thangkas and clay sculptures have been listed among the intangible cultural heritages of Shannan City. Nyima Losang realizes that the inheritance of culture needs more people to participate.

He sets aside his studio for apprentices training for free, and subsidising these poor apprentices. It takes 6 or 7 years to train a qualified painter, while he has trained more than 30 Thangka painters since 1997.

Nyima Losang places great hopes on his apprentices. He says, "I hope they can learn something, not to forget their original intention, not to forget their ethnic roots, and continue to pass on ethnic arts."

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