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Second Tangka Art Festival underway in Tibet

When it comes to collectibles, there are always counterfeiters looking to hoodwink unsuspecting buyers. The same goes for the art of ‘Tangka,’ listed as a world intangible heritage in 2006. A center has been set up in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to tell the genuine from the fake. It coincides with the Second Tangka Art Festival.

Twenty-one experts have been recruited by the center, most of them officially designated ‘inheritors’ of the art form. Their mission is to sniff out fake Tangkas done by machines using chemical pigments, as opposed to local artists using mineral paints.

A center has been set up in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to tell apart genuine from fake.

Cheap duplications have greatly harmed the artistic integrity of the originals.

“Real Tangkas like those seen in Potala Palace are painted with traditional mineral pigments. So the colors are getting even more bright with time. The center is testament to Tangka painting in terms of pigment, the labor put into it, and its overall art value,” said Dawa Dunzhu, director of Tibetan Culture Development Promotion Center.

With its themes of Buddhist stories, local history, legend, and heroic figures, Tangka is a proud legacy of Tibet, dating back more than 1300 years. As it’s an art form that appreciates with age, the seal of authenticity is a vital safeguard for painters and collectors alike.