Nine years in Tibet

(shanghai daily)
Updated: 2007-01-26 09:43

Nine years in TibetWang Lina spent almost nine years in Tibet and says she was "changed dramatically in that pure land." She also collected 31 splendid thangkas or Buddhist scroll paintings now on display at Jing'an Temple, writes Wang Jie.

When you have things that can't be shared with another - tell the Buddha, as most Chinese believe that Buddha forgives and blesses.

An exhibition of 31 "thangka" - splendid religious paintings on cloth, mostly of the Buddha - at Jing'an Temple brightens the Buddha in the hearts of Tibetans. They are the personal collection of Wang Lina who spent almost nine years in Tibet Autonomous Region, which she calls "that pure land" and which she says changed her dramatically.

Originated in the 8th century, thangka scroll paintings are a Tibetan Buddhist art form.

In Tibetan, "thang" means flat and "ka" stands for painting.

Thangkas are colorful paintings on silk, leather or paper. They are often painted banners hung in a monastery or a family altar and are carried by lamas in ceremonial processions.

Sometimes gem powders or gold powders are sprayed on thangkas to enrich their luxurious hues and splendor.

Sometimes Tibetan herbs are blended with these powders to give thangkas a fresh appearance and p-reserve them for several hundred years. The subjects are mostly images of Buddha, deities and stories of monks and folk customs.

The structure of Tibetan thangkas is quite precise, balanced and full. An authentic thangka is not complete unless it is pattered by lamas and stamped with their finger prints.

"In order to promote the special art genre to the public, I especially invited two Tibetan lamas to draw thangkas on site," says Wang, who organized the exhibition. Some locals may have seen thangkas before, but they haven't seen the details up close.

"I stayed in Tibet for almost nine years, which was unforgettable," she says.

Wang said her thangkas were cautiously created inside Tibetan temples and lamas usually required one or two years to complete a large piece.

"I purposely chose Jing'an Temple to display them to the public," she explains, "since they need a quiet and pious environment to be appreciated."

It is rare in Shanghai to see an exhibition inside a temple, but it is a perfect setting for the thangkas.

And Tibet doesn't seem so far away once you have the Buddha in your heart.

Date: through February 3, 10am-4:30pm
Address: 1686 Nanjing Rd W., Jing'an Temple
Admission: 10 yuan
Tel: 021-6282-346


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