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Thangka master spends 8 years on labor of love

Reporter: Zheng Chunying 丨 CCTV.com

07-22-2016 05:38 BJT

As a World Cultural Heritage, the Potala Palace isfamous for majestic Tibetan architecture and its numerous frescoes. A Tibetan artist has spent eight years rendering those scenes in the paintings known as Thangka.

In the exhibition hall of the Tibet Museum, exquisite paintings, called Thangka, catch the eyes of every visitor. They are copies of the frescoes in Lun Lang Palace.

Lun Lang is the greatest palace inside the Potala Palace. It houses the most prestigious mandalas. And around the mandalas are the exquisite frescoes rendered by the finest artists in Tibet. They showcase the panorama of the temple and vividly record the history of the Buddha.

“This is an exquisite masterpiece completed by the most prestigious artists from all around Tibet, so it’s regarded as the pinnacle of Tibetan fresco art in history,” said Tashi Tsten, the Potala Palace.

But time has taken their toll. And to save their beauty for posterity, 49-year-old Robusta has devoted eight years of hard work. He was born in a Thangka family. He is China's only national practitioner of the art. But, even for him, copying a 20-square-meter fresco was a challenge.

“First of all, the Potala Palace is very small and narrow, the light is limited. And besides the difficulties caused by the environment, there’s another challenge. The restoration mission calls for a great understanding of the history of that time. I have to read many books and papers to get a sense of what I was doing,” said Robusta, chairman of Thangka Painting Academy.

Eight years of research, painting, and carving a monumental task requiring monumental dedication. And Robusta has donated all his 18 Thangkas to the Potala Place. He has raised awareness for preserving the artwork and is passing on a unique cultural heritage.

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