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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:41 pm 
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I commend to forum members - and the wider public – a new book “Living Hands: Tibetan Arts and Artisans” by Chris Buckley with photographs by Chris and Miranda Mimi Kuo.
Quote:
"Living Hands is the first book that treats Tibetan art and craft as a living subject"

"This unique volume portrays weavers, dyers, metalworkers, thangka painters, mask makers, sculptors and carpenters and their crafts, in Tibet and Nepal. It is an outstanding introduction to Tibetan art and craft, as well as proof of the vitality of Tibetan traditions today."

The book is published by Torana Publications, Hong Kong, 2011. It has 100 pages, 131 color photographs, 8.5" x 11" (21cm x 28cm). Price: 200RMB/ 250Hong Kong Dollars/ 30 US Dollars /25 Euros/ 20 Pounds Sterling. Currently the book is only available direct from Torana but Chris hopes to have it on Amazon soon.

'Living Hands' is very much designed for a reader such as myself who does not have a detailed knowledge of Tibetan arts. Chris, as will come as no surprise to forum members who value his clear and thoughtful posts, takes the reader on an informative journey through Tibetan living crafts. There is plenty on textiles but it encompasses a wider content (painting, metalwork, clay, masks, jewellery and furniture). The aim of the book is to present the product of living Tibetan artisans. It has a very particular charm for me as many of these individual artisans are presented to the reader in words and photos. It satisfies my longing when I see work that I admire to know something of the maker. The images are very direct and, in the case of some of Miranda Mimi Kuo’s photos, at times almost disconcertingly so and there is an almost ‘Mona Lisa’ connection with the subjects.

As textiles are my passion I found this information of particular interest and am grateful that Chris presents technical information in both words, photos and a few diagrams. I gained a good understanding of the different pile techniques. I was intrigued to read of a unique form of loom-less weaving which is used mainly for horse blankets and for horse and yak collars. I confess that here Chris’ summary of the technique did not completely enlighten me and I can only agree that ‘Skill and concentration are needed to handle the loose mass of cords while the piece is being woven’! There is a good section on Tibetan natural dyes which Chris via his Tanva Weaving workshop and the Lhasa Villages organisation are working to support although, as elsewhere, the challenge is finding markets for naturally dyed textiles which cost more to produce than those using synthetic dyes due to the scarcity of materials and extra steps involved.

This is certainly a book to read before visiting Tibet and Nepal and it is slim enough to find its way into a suitcase for the trip itself. It has quite wet my appetite to want to consider a visit!

For some further information on the book including some sample pages see http://www.toranahouse.com/LivingHands.html


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File comment: 'Living Hands: Tibetan Arts and Artisans' - cover image of papier mache animal head mask used in cham dances
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