Stitches in time: the story of a tsa-tsa craftsman

Kalzang Bum says that temples are the spiritual home of Tibetans. But life is a journey for these traditionally nomadic people, and temples are not always to be found... 

Directed and edited by Tang Dafei. Translated by Ke Jiayun. Special thanks to Andy Boreham. 

Kalzang Bum says that temples are the spiritual home of Tibetans. But life is a journey for these traditionally nomadic people, and temples are not always to be found wherever ones journeys may take them. That’s where easy-to-carry Thangka and tsa-tsa come in, allowing belief to be carried close to the body at all times.

Kalzang Bum saw tsa-tsa from ancient Tibet as a little boy, but it was not so elaborate due to the simplistic craftsmanship of the time. Microscopic carving was still not very refined, and the materials used to make tsa-tsa were often not hard enough. He read a lot of books in an effort to inherit and improve the craftsmanship involved with producing tsa-tsa, and visited temples to discuss the art with Buddhists and craftsmen alike.

Finally, he was able to produce this fantastic amulet made of clay, after long journeys collecting holy clay, holy water, and holy medicines.

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