Producer: Dawa Drolma
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
[Catalog No. CFV11273; © 2017 Smithsonian Institution]
Surrounding the Gyanak Mani temple on the Tibetan Plateau in southern Qinghai(ching-high)
Province are an estimated two billion mani stones
carved with prayers and often painted with bright colors. In this video, Samten Dhondup from Semtse village demonstrates and explains the process for carving and painting the mani
stones, which come in many forms and varieties. Some are carved and painted colorfully; others have only simple indentations. They may have sutras and running scriptures of longer texts, or they may contain just one sacred word. Others may have an intricate image. They may be lined up along pathways or a mountain pass, placed in small piles or large stacks. They may be scattered next to a shrine or at the head of a creek. Traditionally, prayer stone carvings are done as a form of religious practice to accumulate positive merit through spreading prayers. Practitioners include monks, nuns, nomads, and villagers. Although mani
stones are traditionally handcrafted with hammers and sharp chisels, electric tools may also be used.