Horse hair-embroidered Tangka protected in Inner Mongolia

HOHHOT (Xinhua) – When workmanship of making Tibetan Tangka spread to north China’s Inner Mongolia region hundreds of years ago, locals innovated it by adding horse hairs to give the embroideries more texture and make them more vivid.

China’s only museum for horse-hair Tangka opened before the New Year holiday in Alxa Left Banner. The museum shows over 200 Tangka works made by Taogerile, 75, the leading inheritor of the art in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and her disciples.

Tangka often depicts images, events and figures in the Tibetan epic. Horse-hair Tangka adds the animal hairs along linellae, a thin fabric, to give the silk embroidery a stereoscopic perception and make the texture rugged.

Taogerile said she inherited the workmanship from her grandpa and her mother.

Three years ago, the technique was dying out. Only a few inheritors still had some of the traditional works at their homes as decorations.

Worried about the dying culture, Taogerile called her children living abroad back in 2015 and set up a private workshop to sustain the traditional artistry.

To her surprise, the complicated embroidery was designated as a poverty-alleviation programme in the banner, which has seen hundreds of farmers and herdsmen get involved in the training over the years.

“The art has not only survived but is also revived. New artworks have become more and more aesthetic and valuable,” she said.

So far, more than 400 people have grasped the traditional artistry. The banner has made the museum a public venue to sustain the artistry.

File photo shows visitors view a folk artist creating Tangka painting at a market about intangible cultural heritages in Rangtang County, southwest China’s Sichuan Province. – XINHUA