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Master Painter is First Tibetan to Paint Thanbhochi Outside Tibet


Sebastopol, CA – March 21, 2013:     On June 1st, 2013, Tibetan thangka master, Tashi Dhargyal will begin work on a thanbhochi.  While people may be familiar with thangka, traditional scroll paintings of Buddhist gods and deities mounted in brocade, this will be the first time a Tibetan master will paint one entirely in the traditional method outside of Tibet.  Thangka were designed to be rolled for easy transport in nomadic cultures. A thanbhochi is a multi-story canvas, designed to be displayed at special prayer ceremonies; the canvas Tashi will paint will be 20 feet high by 14 feet wide.

Dhargyal is one of the few masters in the West working entirely in the traditional Tibetan method, which includes hand-prepared canvas, hand ground mineral pigments, and 24k gold. He has opened a special studio and gallery in Sebastopol, California that is open to the public and will house this massive undertaking.

Thubten Samdup, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, says, “Preserving and safeguarding the rich heritage of Tibetan arts is utmost important for the survival of Tibetan spirit. Therefore, I am thrilled to learn that Tashi is opening a studio where the rich tradition of Tibetan arts will be showcased.”

The thanbhochi will take between three to four years to complete. According to Dhargyal, “The thanbhochi will feature an image of Shakyamuni Buddha with his two primary students in the center. To embrace the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the primary gurus of the Gelug, Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu schools and their disciples will be in the four corners.”

It will be painted traditionally: with hand-ground mineral pigments and adorned with 24k gold.  When complete, it will tour museums and monasteries, before ultimately being donated to a monastery in Kham (Eastern Tibet.) The entire painting process with be documented, and pictures and video will be frequently uploaded online.

Education on this rare art form is paramount to Tashi; since arriving in the US in 2010, he has taught in his studio and museums, donated lessons to charities, done demonstrations and incorporated learning into his numerous exhibits.  He notes, “Having a studio where visitors can come and watch the process and learn more about Tibet’s rich art heritage is truly a blessing.”

About Tashi

Tashi has trained and painted for over 15 years. From 2006-2010, he was the artist-in-residence at the Ganden Monastery in Dharamsala. He is both a master thangka painter and craftsman — painting and decorating statues both for the Monastery and private customers.

In the Summer of 2012, he personally presented his work to HH the 14th Dalai Lama, who commended his skill and talent, and requested that Tashi continue to paint, and teach.

Tashi has traveled throughout India to work in monasteries to restore and decorate statues and has been integral in the Tibetan art community. He studied under the late Ven. Sangye Yeshi, whom His Holiness the Dalai Lama personally invited to reactivate the long and rich tradition of thangka painting in Dharamsala by opening a school at the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives. When this first school was shut, due to restructuring of the Library buildings, Tashi worked with his teacher to start the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art. Through his initiative, the ITTA was started, and staffed with the best teachers.

Tashi has shown his works along with his ITTA contemporaries at the Tibet House in New Delhi, at the Museum at His Holiness’ the Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamsala, and at the Tibet House in New York.  His thangka were featured art on TLC’s series New York Ink (placed with Sheppard Fairey’s Obey art), at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, Tubac Center for the Arts where it received Honorable Mention in a juried group exhibition, as well as at Invisible NYC Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side.

Tashi’s thangka have been auctioned by Christie’s to benefit the Tibet House; he has also donated works and lessons to benefit the Tibetan Aid Project and the Tibet Fund, who showcased his work in their PSA on the Jumbotron in New York’s Times Square.  He has taught classes at the Tibet House, the Newark Museum, as well as to private groups and has completed murals for Jivamukti Yoga in New York.  His works have been commissioned by the likes of Jet Li as presents for HH the Dalai Lama.


About the Studio

Located in The Barlow (6770 McKinley Street #130, Sebastopol, CA). The gallery is over 1300 sqft with 24-foot ceilings.  It functions both as Tashi’s working studio, and also features original thangka for sale – both by Tashi, and by ITTA’s students. The studio welcomes requests from schools, sangha, and community for special presentations or events. Visitors can also join into his weekly classes.  The Studio opened July 2nd, 2013.


The Tibetan Gallery & Studio is a nonprofit.  Donations are welcome and will go towards the painting, supplies, and travel costs associated with the tour.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Checks can be mailed to: Tibetan Gallery & Studio – 6770 McKinley Street #130 – Sebastopol, CA – 95472.    Donation checks should be made payable to The TibetanGallery & Studio