Thangka Artist: Gam Pol

Gam Pol lives and works in Dêge. At the age of twelve, he began to learn thangka painting from his uncle Qumi Dorje. His uncle studied with the Lama of Dor Zhg Monastery.

Gam Pol paints in the Garxue or “new style” tradition of the Garma Garze School of painters. Gam Pol describes this style as characterized by realistic scenery and the naturalistic representation of plants. In keeping with the Garma Garze School, the imagined landscapes, that accompany his subjects, include scenery like that in traditional paintings from India. The Buddha and other Tibetan deities are rendered in a Tibetan style. Coloring is Chinese.

Gam Pol makes his own pigments from minerals and organic material. He uses a set of historic guidebooks, some as old as four hundred years, to guide the proportions of his figures. His thangkas, depending on size and complexity, may take from three months to three years to paint. Gam Pol first offers his paintings to monasteries followed by lamas, and lastly to “wealthy” collectors.

Gam Pol has eighty-five students. Instruction is free. He hopes that his students will carry on the traditions of the Garma Garze School of painters. Ten years of instruction is expected of his students.