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China Exclusive: Young Tibetan aims to master ethnic art

By Li Laifang, Huang Wenxin and Zhang Meng (Xinhua)

10:00, March 01, 2013


LANZHOU, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- One year after ending an eight-year apprenticeship, Cering Tongdri teaches students how to paint tangka, a style of Tibetan art that involves painting on embroidery, in his very own studio.

The 25-year-old Tibetan has an ambitious dream -- to become a master of tangka and make his works known to more people both at home and abroad.

Cering Tongdri, a native of Amchok Township in Xiahe County in northwest China's Gansu Province, grew up with a love for painting. Although he dropped out in his second year of primary school to help his parents raise cattle, he never gave up his passion for art.

When going into town, he would buy paintbrushes and canvases with the money he saved. He spent quiet hours on the prairie painting while minding the livestock.

When he reached the age of 16, Cering Tongdri was encouraged by his uncle to learn tangka. His uncle's proposal was supported by the rest of the family.

Cering Tongdri was introduced to Dianzin, a 44-year-old Tibetan tangka master from northwest China's Qinghai province. Dianzin first learned tangka in his hometown before moving to Xiahe, where he continued to study at the Labrang Monastery, one of the six great temples of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dianzin set up his own tangka studio and began to recruit apprentices more than ten years ago. Cering Tongdri was just one of his dozens of pupils.

"When I left my master's studio at the beginning of last year, he still had ten apprentices," said Cering Tongdri. He said all of them were allowed to study for free, with a salary of 1,000 to 4,000 yuan (160 to 642 U.S. dollars) waiting for those who showed skill in the art.

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