271st Meeting – Tuesday, February 14th 2006
The Giant Appliqué Thangkas of
A talk and video presentation by Terris and Leslie Nguyen Temple
Present: Louis Gabaude, Bonnie Brereton, Carol & Bob Stratton, Annabel Coulet, Otome Klein Hutheesing, Maarten & Els Klein, Lucie Belton, Sophie Belton, Thomas Ohlson, Juergen Polte, Dianne & Mark Barber-Riley, Clarence and Vanvadee Shettlesworth, Paul Barber-Riley, Jeanette Pembroke, Guy Cardinal, Peter Hoare, John Cadet, Steve Epstein, Samphe Lmalungpa, Carina zur Strassen, Bodil Blokker. An audience of 25
About Terris and Leslie
Terris Temple (USA) has been involved in studying,
and teaching Tibetan thangka art for the last thirty years. Prior to
this project he focused on teaching thangka iconography and painting to
students. He is presently re-editing the Tsurphu Thangka film.
Leslie Nguyen (UK), who is a former psychology graduate and art therapist, assisted him on the work. Both artists had together earlier taken a growing interest in learning about appliqué thangkas, particularly those made in the Amdo region, which are glued and folded to create a traditional image using a combination of silks, brocades and painted details.
He studied in
A summary of his talk prepared by Terris and
Tsurphu monastery dates from 1187 when the first Karmapa - Dusum Kyenpa - identified the auspicious location for his dwelling. It was with that Karmapa that the tradition of reincarnating lamas was introduced in
The creation of such huge images as the thangkas is traditional throughout
The 35 x 23 meter thangka that my wife and I created for the Tsurphu Temple features nine figures: Sakyamuni Buddha in the center (9m high); Manjusri and Maitreya Bodhisattvas (7m high) flanking him; with the Primordial Buddha at the top center and a fierce wrathful protector at the bottom center. At each corner of the image sits a great Lama of the lineage - The First and Second Karmapas are in the upper corners; and the Sixteenth Karmapa, who passed away in 1981, and the Third Jamgon Kontrul, one of the Karmapa's foremost disciples who passed away in 1992, are featured in the lower corners.
Over 1,500 meters of silks and brocades were used
the Tsurphu gos.sKu. Seventy shades of color were chosen and a large
this palette was specifically dyed in
Creating such a large image as the Tsurphu thangka demanded quite a different approach to the creation of smaller images; most notably a workforce of sewers to prepare and assemble large pieces of the fabrics together. From researching the various sewing techniques used mainly in the
As well as designing and drawing the thangka, and recruiting the team of sewers in Lhasa, Leslie and I were also responsible for acquiring best quality materials, and, more urgently, raising the funds necessary to make the image. In order to secure financial support, we pledged to make the main patron a 3 x 2 meter replica of the Tsurphu gos.sKu. The Tsurphu thangka was completed in 1994 and is now shown for several hours each year for the Saga Dawa festival, which is attended by thousands of pilgrims.
Your convenor writes: Terris showed a video he and Leslie had made of the production of the thangka, the highlight of which was the finished 35 x 23 meter thangka unfurling down the steps cut into the mountain side on the other side of the valley opposite the
As well as showing the video and
significance, Terris gave a brief introduction to Buddhist Iconography,
sacred geometry. Terris and Leslie have a web site for contact or