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Bronze sculptures continue to shine

By Palden Nyima (China Daily)

14:34, April 02, 2013

The 5.7-meter-high bronze statue of Je Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, was created by Migmar Losang, Thubten Tsering and 26 apprentices. (China Daily/Daqiong)

On a cold day in February, master Tibetan bronze sculptor Migmar Losang and 26 apprentices were busy working on a 5.7-meter-high statue.

"It's of Je Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism," says Migmar Losang, who operates a bronze workshop with his brother Thubten Tsering.

"We will spend 45 days to complete the work ordered by the Olkha Rdzingchi Monastery in Lhokha prefecture."

The workshop is in the remote mountain valley of Palnag in Daktse county about 25 km from Lhasa.

Migmar Losang, 41, and his brother have been running the workshop for more than a decade.

Bronze statues are an important aspect of traditional Tibetan crafts.

The apprentices are from many places in Tibet, aged between 16 and 48.

"Our workshop began operation in 2002. It takes at least 10 years to be a qualified sculptor - some become skilled quicker because they are smart and diligent, but others are slower," Migmar Losang says.

He says that old techniques have been modernized with wood frames replaced by steel, scissors by electric clippers in the design process, and zinc welding with oxygen welding.

"This statue can be finished five days faster than the old way," Migmar Losang says.

Thubten Tsering is also an experienced craftsman. His fondness for photography allows him to be more innovative in his job.

He visited many monasteries in Tibet to take pictures of Buddha statues.

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