Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Style: Eastern Tibet, Kham (Kham-dri)

In Eastern Tibet there are two large areas, Amdo to the North and Kham to the South. In Kham there are several large art producing centers: Khampa Gar, Chamdo, Dege, Palpung Monastery, etc. Names of styles and schools such as Menri, Tsangri, Karma Gadri and new Karma Gadri are often used when discussing Eastern Tibetan art. At locations such as Palpung they refer to their own art as Karma Gadri yet a clear definition of the style and examples in support has not yet been shown.

It can be said that Palpung and its founder, Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne, have their own unique style of painting characterized by placing Khyenri style deities onto a background of Chinese landscape. This technique produces a strong contrast and juxtaposition of bright thick colour against a pastel quiescent other-world.

Lhatog style painting is associated with Khampa Gar and the Drugpa Kagyu Tradition. Their works seem to blend the best of Menri, Khyenri and Jonang painting styles into a uniquely Eastern Tibetan style rich with colour and detail.

Chamdo, a predominantly Gelug center, produces paintings in various styles that follow the Menri in foliage and figures but incorporate the Chinese style landscape and the negative space produced by the open and uncluttered horizons.