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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Traditional painting brings wealth to Tibetans (2)

(Xinhua)

10:19, March 16, 2012

According to official statistics, Huangnan prefecture, which administers Tongren County, currently hosts more than 9,000 Regong arts craftsmen and over 90 Regong arts enterprises.

To further develop and continue to pass down the Regong arts, a cultural ecological protection pilot zone was founded in August 2010, with an investment of about 688 million yuan.

It is one of four cultural ecological protection pilot zones in China, and the only one established on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

"The annual income of each craftsman is about 20,000 yuan, and the cultural industry sees revenues of up to 240 million yuan, accounting for 5.5 percent of the prefecture's GDP," Ma Mingsheng, director of the administrative committee of the pilot zone, said, adding that the average annual income of each herdsman in Huangnan is only 3,600 yuan.

Moreover, some traditional rules, such as those stipulating that painting skills should only be passed on to male descendants, have been broken, and herdsmen are encouraged to enter schools to study handicrafts.

"Regong arts are part of a religious culture, and the country is concerned with, and protects, these arts. This attitude shows the country's respect for religious culture and the successful implementation of the freedom of religious belief policy," said Li Jiacai, deputy governor of the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Huangnan.

The local government and relevant departments have been working to build the cultural ecological protection pilot zone into a true golden valley, but a small imbalance emerged during development.

Thangka paintings by masters like Gendun sell for more than 100,000 yuan, but the works of lesser-known Regong artists and those done in different media don't fetch such a price.

Sha Urgyen, a 45-year-old clay sculpture craftsman, said a Thangka painting sells for 10 times more than a clay sculpture.

A patchwork craftsman also told Xinhua that people prefer to study Thangka painting skills but ignore other art forms, such as patchwork crafts, clay and wooden sculptures.

Research shows that among the Regong cultural industry, Thangka accounts for 60 percent, patchwork crafts take up 25 percent, and sculpture and embroidery amount to 15 percent.

Leaders of the pilot zone, the local government and other relevant departments have issued more policies and systems to alleviate the imbalance.

In his government work report delivered at the opening of the annual parliamentary session on March 5, Premier Wen Jiabao urged that China will further promote the reform and development of its cultural system, as the country continues to stress its cultural strength.

【1】 【2】

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