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Luobu Sida: a leading Thang-ga painter and a committed teacher


Bottles of pigments for Thang-ga.[ Uking Sun]

In the hall, there are a total of 40 square meters of valuable paintings covering the walls, which were made during the 18thcentury and vividly depict the Buddhist stories. Some parts of the paintings have cracks or broken materials due to a long history and natural erosion. The paintings are first divided into parts according to scenarios. Then one part after another, Luobu copies the paintings on Tang-ga of the same size to keep alive those treasures and prepare for future protection.

For the authenticity and integrity, Luobu has to use the magnifier to recognize the smallest details and then carefully draws one stroke after another. In some cases, he had to refer to historical Buddhist documents to recreate lost traces and capture exquisite movements and impressions found in the original paintings.

Luobu Sida teaches a 13-year-old Tibetan boy to draw in his school in Lhasa, Tibet, September 11, 2009.[ Uking Sun]

At the beginning, Luobu worked everyday here and quickly found his body couldn’t endure the labor. “To focus on thehairlike strokes for hours and then hold my breath to draw on the Tang-ga is painful for my neck and shoulder,” Luobu said. Later he changed to work three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Five years have passed, and Luobu expects that he will finish the copying inPotalaPalacein 2010, a job which fills him with pride.

A student paints Thang-ga in Luobu Sida's Thang-ga school in Lhasa, Tibet, September 11, 2009.[ Uking Sun]

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