Achi Association
  • YTP Wanla

Workshop II: Dehradun

Team: Deldan Angmo, John Harrison, Ernesto Noriega and Martina Oeter

The first part of the workshop was spent bringing all the information together which was collected during the summer campaigns. It was used to start a series of drawings that will be part of the exhibition which will take place at the end of the next summer campaign. Among the drawings being generated are: a comprehensive site plan including the monumental area and the two villages of Zomal and Namtses; larger, more detailed plans of each village; sections through the villages and the monumental area; a complete set of large scale drawings of the Lhompo House. Preparations for the construction of a model were also initiated. And the interviews with the Wanla elders have been reviewed and the most important portions transcribed.

Creating a copy of wall-paintings by imitating the original techniques.
Creating a copy of the Kanji wall-paintings

Also, the group was introduced to different world heritage sites of earthen architecture. Three films documented the building traditions, the threats which affect the sites and the maintenance work which keeps alive these architectural heritage sites. Then, it was discussed over the beneficial aspects and the problems of earth as a building material and more in specifically related to the building tradition in Ladakh. Didactic materials explained the different types of damages which can affect a building structure and underlined the importance of maintenance, especially in the case of earthen architecture. Another topic of the morning lessons was the distinction of maintenance as a routine work to prevent damage and measures which tackle damage which has already occurred due to failed or missing maintenance, or due to other environmental and man made factors. Photos of different historic structures in Ladakh were shown to explain the challenges of maintenance and conservation there.

The afternoon lessons focused on historic painting techniques in Ladakh. A practical exercise consisted in having each participant copy a detail from the Tsuglag-khang paintings in Kanji on traditional earthen and ‘Karsi’ ground. After preparing the ground each student made a drawing and transferred it to the support surface. The final step was then to execute the painting, using traditional painting materials.

The participants of the second workshop in Dehradun presenting their wall-painting studies.
The participants of the second workshop presenting their wall-painting studies


For this workshop we had a smaller group of participants. This responds to different factors. The nuns have come under pressure from their institute to concentrate on their academic work and will probably not be able to continue. Two monks have left the college, and the two Leh girls could not take holidays from work (as is the rule during the first year in a government job) but will continue to participate in the program. Nevertheless, those who participated have done so with a strong sense of commitment and have asked if they could accept new members, as they have been asked by several interested candidates.