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Arts

Tibetan artists preserve 'thangka' tradition in China

In remote Qinghai Province, Buddhist scrolls provide a living for some

Artist Jia Yang Dan Ba sits at his home studio in front of thangka scroll paintings he is still working on. (Photo by Kit Yeng Chan)

TONGREN, China -- Bent over a stretched canvas that will become a Tibetan thangka (traditional scroll painting), Jia Yang Dan Ba uses a fine brush to etch an intricate web of gold threads over the tunic of White Tara, a Buddhist deity who sits at the center of the scroll. Around her, a painstakingly penciled outline of a group of minor gods is waiting to be brought to life by Dan Ba's brush.

Creating visually striking thangkas is both the artist's life mission and his bread and butter. It is a desirable career path in Tongren, also known by its Tibetan language name of Rebkong, the main city of the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's Qinghai Province.

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