Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Style: Kham Region (Kham-ri)

Kham Regional Painting Style | Regional Painting Styles

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 painting traditions and styles such as Menri, Tsangri, Karma Gar-ri and new Karma Gar-ri are often used when discussing Eastern Tibetan art. It is important to remember that painting traditions and painting styles are not necessarily the same thing. At locations such as Palpung, in modern times, they refer to all of their own art as Karma Gar-ri, yet a clear definition of the style and examples in support has not yet been shown.

It can be said that Palpung monastery and its founder, Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne, have their own unique style of painting characterised by placing Khyenri style figures onto a background of sparse, minimalist, and sometimes a 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 blend the best of Menri and Khyenri 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 new Menri in foliage along with some Khyenri elements and incorporates elements of Chinese style landscape with open and uncluttered horizons.

Jeff Watt [updated 12-2-17]