Butter Art from Tibet

The ongoing Tibetan butter sculpture making exhibition at the Fire in The Belly restaurant in Technopark throws light into an art form that is almost becoming extinct

Published: 01st February 2014 10:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2014 10:38 AM   |  A+A-


Fire in the Belly restaurant in Technopark here in association with Friends of Tibet a non-profit organization, that works to support the cause of Tibet and to create awareness about the issue of Tibet amongst people all over the world, under its Wellbeing programme is organising Butter Sculpture Making exhibition, in an attempt to restore, propagate and promote the endangered traditions and practices of Tibet.

Thupten Gedun, a Tibetan monk of Gyuto Monastery, Dharamsala, will be the one who will be engaged in making the butter sculptures during the exhibition here. The monk who began his session with the making of one of the 8 religious symbols will gradually move on to the other motifs and will finally conclude with the sculpture of Buddha.

The remarkable factor of this art is that the sculptures are made of real butter. The butter is mixed with various coloured powders before the work of molding is begun. The completed images are then attached to wooden panels of frames by means of ropes.

“The work is very difficult, since we must take care to keep the butter cold in order to be able to form and mold it. Here in Indian climate it is all the more difficult as butter will melt easily and the process becomes even more difficult,” says Thupten Gedun. So to prevent butter from melting the monk uses butter mixed with dalda.

The butter sculptures, if preserved well in a cool environment, will last up to 5-6 years.

 “The butter sculpture which is considered a great art in Tibet is taught to every monk in the monasteries,” says Thupten. The images of butter are used only for a particular festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first moon. As Tibetans follow the lunar calendar, the New Year usually occurs in February.

And because their art is part of a religious belief the monks do not sell their sculptures. “Such exhibitions are organised as part of an awareness programme. Though the monks do teach their art to anyone who goes to them they do not go out to teach it,” says Sethu Das founder of Friends of Tibet.

The exhibition is being organised as a curtain-raiser to the Losar festival celebrations which falls in March this year.

The exhibition which began on Friday will be on till Monday and timing will be from 10 am to 8 pm. For details contact phone: 9995181777, 9847044248.


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