The scriptorium project was a series of handwritten texts illuminated in gold, silver and other precious materials. Buddhist scriptures are considered even more holy than statues in Tibet and the most precious of these volumes were written by hand, on specially made paper.
It was our late Thangka Master Tenchoe la’s idea to resurrect hand written scripture. He said he knew the method for making what is referred to as “black paper,” which is several layers of Tibetan handmade paper treated with special ink and rubbed until it shines. The ink used to write on this paper is made from various metals and minerals and comes in several colors. There is gold and silver ink, and ink made of turquoise and coral and other precious stones. The project lasted for six years, during which the two former students from the Academy of Tibetan Culture were retained for the project, hand copied a number of scriptures. From 2002 to 2008, Norbulingka also received commissions for more scriptures and our statue department made traditional book covers for the volumes of scriptures with figures of deities embossed in silver and highlighted in gold plate.
This was part of the many smaller projects, made for the sake of cultural enrichment, for the love of the craft and the perpetuation of tradition.