This is such a project where the east and west meet to create the first Tibetan etchings - one day in 1998 a German man, a teacher at Woodstock School in Mussoorie in Northern India who was an etcher in his spare time, visited Norbulingka and offered to teach our contemporary art students his craft. We took up his offer, and within three months we had a team of etchers. Our first etching project was a series of fifty images representing fifty stages in the life of the Dalai Lama. The artists created a sketch from a photograph and scratched the sketch into the surface of a metal plate, which was then transferred to a sheet of paper. A number of the etchings were colored by hand with water colors. An accompanying text was written in Tibetan and English and silkscreened on Tibetan paper. The volume was released to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s temporal authority.
After this we had other projects but one of our most successful was a series of seventy etchings illustrating Tibetan costume, many of them in water colors. They were sold individually in the Norbulingka store. The artists have since disbanded, some nearby, many more abroad, but their work remains a tribute to an old western art form used to portray an ancient culture.
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.