Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Palden

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Palden

[VIDEO] Palden Gyatso is the inspiration behind this series. Palden Gyatso was born in Tibet, he was ordained as a monk by the 13th Dalai Lama. Palden was arrested in the 1950s, and spent 33 years in different forced labor (laogai) camps. As a young monk, he had two ‘yundon’ (swastika) tattooed on his hands [...]

Tattoo Symbolism: 'Chime Gudril'

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoo Symbolism: ‘Chime Gudril’

Several of the tattoos in this series have been referred to as a ‘Rangzen Bracelet’ or ‘Chime Gudril’.  Here is the deep-rooted history behind this symbolic image. The Life of Geshe Yulu Dawa Tsering & the Story of the Rangzen Bracelet: Rangzen is Tibetan for freedom or independence. The story of the Rangzen Bracelet begins [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tsetan

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tsetan

Tsetan is 35; he was born in Eastern Kham. He studied in a monastery for several years before coming to India; it was his hope to receive a more thorough education at the monastery in Southern India.  His initial walk from his monastery to the capitol city of Lhasa took 15 days to walk, after [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Phuntsok

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Phuntsok

[VIDEO] Phuntsok notes that tattoos became most popular in the 80s in Tibet, especially amongst those who have been in prison, or are ‘strong minded’. He and his friends began getting tattoos when they were still in school, at that time they heard of the riots in Lhasa, and ‘Bho Rangzen’ or Freedom for Tibet, [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tashi O.

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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tashi O.

Tashi came to India 20 years ago to receive an education. On his forearm, he has the Tibetan mantra ‘Om Mane Padme Hum’. When asked what reaction people have when they see it, he says it is a positive one, “When I walk the Kora, if someone reads it, then they are in fact reciting [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tashi

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tashi

‘Tashi’ is 27, and came to Dharamsala from Kham 7 years ago. It took him 12 days to cross the Himalayas, part on foot, partly by Jeep. He didn’t go to school in Tibet – he came to India for an education. He is from a nomadic family; his entire family is still in Tibet. [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tamding

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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Tamding

[VIDEO] Tamding is a young artist, he came from Amdo to India to study. He has trained in traditional Tibetan thangka painting, taught himself to play eight different Tibetan musical instruments, and also taught himself to tattoo. In the interviews above, he talks about the tattooing processes that he saw in Tibet (Including tattoos done [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Pema

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Pema

Pema was born in a nomadic area in Amdo; he came to India in the end of ’95, walking through the Himalayas took 23 days. As a child, Pema recalls his grandmother telling him stories about the 1959 Tibetan uprisings; she was only 15 then and recounted finding her father’s body in the streets, and [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Pasang D.

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Ex-Political Prisoners: Pasang D.

[VIDEO] Pasang Dorjee was arrested in 1993 and placed in a forced labor camp near Chengdu. A monk at that time, he hung up Tibetan flags, and handed out pamphlets, calling for China to leave Tibet, for the release of political prisoners and the release of the Panchen Lama. In 1996, after the Chinese abducted [...]

Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Pasang

Tibetan Tattoo Project

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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees: Pasang

[VIDEO] Pasang came to India in 2007 with the same aim as many youth, to get an education, and have an audience with the Dalai Lama. His skin bears the marks of Western, Tibetan and Chinese cultures. Pasang got his first tattoos in Tibet, both were done by hand with an thread-wrapped needle soaked in [...]