Creating Virtue: The Story of the Thangka Painter

Thangka, a unique painting format featuring Buddha, deities and other religious symbols in Tibetan culture, is still practiced by some every single day.

Directed and edited by Tang Dafei. Filmed by Tang Dafei and Jack Zhou. Translated by Joan Zheng. Special thanks to Andy Boreham. 

Thangka, a unique painting format featuring Buddha, deities or other religious symbols in Tibetan culture, is still practiced by some every single day. With distinctive national characteristics, religious elements and special artistic styles, Thangka has become one of the most precious living cultural heritages in China.

The processes and requirements of Thangka are very strict and complicated. To finish a painting, it usually takes half a year, or even longer.

Gong Qiu, a Tangka painter who has learnt Thangka nearly 20 years, says the happiest part of his life is when he paints, so he does it every day in Shanghai for more than three years.

"The more we do, the more virtuous we become," he said with a firm voice. "It’s not for money, but to be more virtuous."

Tang Dafei / SHINE
Tang Dafei / SHINE
Tang Dafei / SHINE
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