A craftsman repairs the Buddha mould made of beewax in a workshop in Deqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province, March 20, 2012. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
An apprentice engaged in metal craftwork, repairs the Buddha mould made of beeswax, March 20, 2012. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
Red-hot metal with sparkling glint, roaring noise from the blast box and continuous thumping of hammers, this makes a fine picture of making traditional Tibetan metal craftwork in a well-known craftsman's family in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
As usual, Losang Tashi, inheritor of Tibetan metal handicraft of the 14th generation in his family, was carving Buddha statues with humming songs in his workshop in Deqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan on March 20.
After a little while, a row of tiny decorative patterns appeared in the plinky-plunky music of hammer and chisel.
The handicrafts his family makes are mainly traditional Tibetan articles for use and ornaments including Tibetan knife and hussif, Losang Tashi introduced.
Losang Tashi told that the ancestor of his family was a metal craftsman named Losang Rinchen from Katmandu of Nepal. He settled down in Deqen and married a local Tibetan girl.
From then on, the metal craftwork was passed down generation after generation and renowned among all Tibetan areas in China.
So far, his family has made more than 2, 000 kinds of products including religious articles. Even a common hussif is made through as many as 14 working procedures from its design to finished product.
"Our family has long kept the traditional casting skill of soil, colophony and beeswax, which is unique in the Tibetan areas of China", said Losang.
All the family members of generations have insisted on making handmade craftwork, although many procedures can be easily done by machine today.
When it comes to the tricks of metal handicrafts, Losang Tashi said "calmness and patience are the biggest tricks".
In the past 28 years, the middle-aged Losang has taught the craft to his family and over 20 apprentices in his workshop.
"My father often urged me to bear the ancestral handicraft in mind, passing it down generation after generation. This is also my own will now", said Losang Tashi.
Now, Losang Tokyi, eldest son of Losang Tashi, chooses the same career as his father to fully inherit the traditional handicraft. But different from his father, Losang Tokyi also engages in advanced studies in Yunnan Arts University when he learns from his father.
"Though our effort would not suffice in spreading this traditional art, we just manage to do something and what we have done indeed bears our ethnic memories", said Losang Tokyi.