Metal Craft of Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh


The Norbulinka Institute, set up in Dharamsala for the preservation of Tibet's cultural traditions, a centre has been established to provide training in the art of both sheet metal and metal casting; it is the combined use of these techniques that distinguishes Tibetan metal work. A range of statues are made to cater to a variety of requirements-large statues are made for the monasteries while smaller statues are made for sale to individuals. The large statues are made as individual cast parts that are eventually joined by soldering or brazing. The statue is fininshed through the mercury gilding process, usually executed under the supervision of a master craftsman. The occasional addition of inlaid precious stones to the bronze statue is motivated by the belief that the statue' s spiritual presence is increased by the value of the material used. The training received by the craftsmen includes the development and refinement of drawing skills and a knowledge of the proportion system and measurements laid down in canonical texts.

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