Painting Future: How the Market Economy Transforms Community Through
Community Thangka Art in Rebgong

Ming Xue

[April 17, 2015]

6PM to 8PM

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000
between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan


This talk is based on Dr. Ming Xue's ethnographic research in Rebgong from 2009 to 2013. In Rebgong, Buddhist thangka painting is one of the major sources of income of local residents. Although thangka was traditionally a painting for religious teaching and practice, the aesthetic and economic value of thangka art has been increasingly recognized by art dealers, collectors and tourists from other parts of China and overseas. Since starting her fieldwork in 2009, the number of visitors in the area, the mobility of the painters, the material conditions, and the scale of the thangka market have been rapidly increasing.

The increasing cultural encounters between Tibetans and Han Chinese impose several interesting questions. For instance, how does Han culture specifically influence Tibetans? How do Tibetans view Han culture and reflect on their own culture? Do Tibetans also take advantage of sometimes competing, or conflicting cultures in an emerging free-market economy? In her talk, Dr. Xue will discuss three examples, including the changing status of Tibetan women as thangka artists, the acceptance of Han Chinese students, and the creation of contemporary thangka, to show certain critical and dynamic aspects of China-Tibetan relations that are usually overlooked by western point of view.






Lecture Archive

Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

Fall 2012 - Spring 2013

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

Fall 2010 - Spring 2011

Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Fall 2007 - Spring 2008


Fall 2006 - Spring 2007

Fall 2005 - Spring 2006

Fall 2004 - Spring 2005

Fall 2003 - Spring 2004

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003

Fall 2001 - Spring 2002


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2017

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: