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Buddha’s Painters

I have something a little different for you today: a film! Actually you may want to save it for the weekend if you’re reading this at work. It’s a 55-minute film that was submitted to the Globians Film Festival.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Tibet and China. A similar story may be less familiar to some of us; Seventy years ago, the Soviet Union took over Mongolia. Buddhism was outlawed, monasteries were burned, and monks were killed. All expressions of Buddhism were banned, and the Mongolians lost much of their ancient culture. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were free to resume their art. This film is about the art, the artists, and the Buddhism behind that art.

The film mostly centers on Master Artist Lama Purevbat and his school of Mongolian art. The cinematography and imagery presented here is incredibly beautiful, as are the works of art that art shown. As the monasteries are rebuilt, the artwork is restored, the Mongolians simultaneously relearn Buddhism, the basis for their ancient culture.

Even if you aren’t an “art person,” this is worth watching. It’s subtitled and nearly an hour, so set aside some time to watch carefully. Comment below if you see anything you don’t understand or particularly enjoy.

If the embedded player does not work, you can download the entire film here (3 gb).

5 comments to Buddha’s Painters

  • I have no idea what significance of the thing with the goat at the halfway point of the movie. I did notice later on, in one of the paintings, there’s a scene that the painter put in of the exact same thing so I assume it’s some kind of Mongolian ritual. Anyone know more?

  • Brian, as an artist, I thank you for this post. It’s a beautiful film, and the dedication taught by this school is a great lesson.

    Also, the goat footage (to my knowledge and research) is part of a Mongolian funeral ritual. A goat or sheep takes on the spirit of the deceased by being fed a large feast and large amounts of alcohol, and is then sacrificed by a twist or jerk to the heart that kills it instantly.


  • Timothy Hilgenberg

    This is a very interesting film… although I don’t go in for all these deities 🙂 As to the question of the goat – from my understanding it’s bad to spill blood (I think it may be limited to goats and humans, but am not sure) on the earth and by stopping the animal’s heart in this way, no blood is literally spilt… I wonder if this a “semantic misunderstanding” for some principle that no blood should be spilt, but I don’t speak Sanskrit, Pali or Mongolian to be able to verify this. I’m still thinking that this is causing “harm” but was surprised to see how calm the animal was initially.

  • Another interesting note that goes with Timothy’s comment, I also read that if a yak is being sacrificed, (instead of a goat or sheep) they will chase the yak off a kind of cliff, essentially for the same reasons, no blood is spilt directly by a human.

  • Helen

    The amount of detail and patience that goes in to these pieces is truly admirable. Great video!