Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trek 2

C: These structures/swings are amazingly sturdy and seem to pop up all over the place during Tihar.

C: A bit of street gambling.

C: I vowed after taking this picture that I wouldn't eat goat again... the little ones are soooooo cute. Sorry to say that didn't last long. Not only are they cute but they taste sooooo good.

C: I spy our first water buffalo.

Tihar Day 2

C: Brothers day, where all brothers get tikka(ed) by their sisters... then the brothers give their sisters cold hard cash. But all jokes aside, it was really great to have been invited to this family event to experience the ceremony (thanks Bimala & Buddha!)

P: The food was off the hook! We had chicken, mutton curry, wild boar, and village-smoked-pork-fat-on-a-string. The latter was particular.

KTM Punk Rock

C: This was totally insane...so we got home late one afternoon and heard the sounds of electric guitar off in the nearby distance. We walked for a few minutes, just below our house and came upon these dudes! Check out this kids Metallica hat! The crowd was a mix of young and old, everybody hopping around. It was rad.

C: One beautiful little girl in the crowd... with incredibly piercing eyes.


C: OM!
P: We were invited by our friends Buddha and Bimala to celebrate Tihar with all the youth of Dharmadhatu Foundation. Tihar is a multiple day festival. Each day has its own significance. This particular evening, girls go around the neighborhood dressed up asking for money and candy. Then fireworks extravaganza! Every family creates a small design on the floor for puja (worship).

C: Buddha & Bimala's puja room where P and I made our first prostrations.

C: Far off in the distance you can see fireworks.

C: The city reflects itself as if there was a lake below...

Monday, December 28, 2009


P: My first Thangka!! It is a Sakyamuni Buddha (also known as Siddharta, Gautama, the historical Buddha, the man himself!). In Thangka every representation is highly "codified." The posture of this Buddha is always this, left hand at rest on the lap, sometime with bowl, and right hand touching the ground. The whole body-face-lotus composition is constructed according to sacred geometries.

P: The background is where artist freestyle the most.

P: Prakash Lama (my teacher) instructs me on the preparation of the surface. I find this technique fantastic! It gives a super smooth transportable canvas. One starts with muslin which gets stitched and stretched, then rubbed with something I think is gypsum, hot yak skin glue and water. Then it gets polished between a wood board and a smooth surface (traditionally a stone, now a quart bottle of rum!)

P: Talking with Buddha Moktan, the founder of the Dharmadhatu Foundation, which among other things is a social enterprise that instructs, produces and sells Thangkas. The profits from the sales are used to support indigenous peoples of Nepal and in particular to provide scholarships to Tamang youth from rural areas to study in Kathmandu.
C: I have been so impressed by the patience of the painters (some of which are quite young) often sitting for several hours at a time. The concentration and skill level are so high and the work is amazingly intricate. The stories of workers/painters vary- some come from generations of painters, many have come to it for economical reasons. Its been fascinating seeing the contrast in quality and learning more about the conditions under which they are made. Beware of the Thangka art school/gallery/showroom/sales space, they often are work factories that favor seller over artist.

P: Work in progress.

P: My first Buddha head sketches!!