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The Painting

The Amchi painting took ten months to complete, from the time Tsampa helped stretch and nail the linen onto its double-braced spruce frame, to the moment Vance cleaned her brushes.

Amchi joins the Tibetan tradition of lineage paintings, which situate a great teacher in a long line of other great teachers, much as a geneological chart places an individual within a family. In this case, the painting is also a narrative record of Tsampa's first visit to America. 

Having completed this work, Vance has become the first westerner and the first female in history granted permission to paint a Tibetan lineage painting of such an accomplished Tibetan amchi. 

According to Tsampa's wishes, the painting includes three scripts which detail the narrative: Tibetan, which was painted by Tsampa's hand; English, which opens the text for many other visitors; and images, for viewers who do not read any written language. Many elements of the painting are traditional, for example, the centrally seated lama at his prayer table, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of enlightened beings.  The ritual implements on the table are also specific to Tsampa’s Himalayan Buddhist tradition.

What makes this lineage painting so remarkable is that Vance has included the flowers of her own Blue Ridge Mountains in this Tibetan setting, and the irises, Virginia bluebells, tulips, pansies, birds-on-the-wing, and many other American flowers flourish in the presence of this Tibetan teacher. Amchi could not have been painted except by an American who loves her own native ground but who has crossed the world to find herself at home in Tsampa's culture as well.

This painting and our project are born from reciprocation. Each member of the team making A Gift For The Village believes that mutual appreciation and collaboration build the fertile soil necessary for a landscape beyond conflicts.

Amchi Detail Images
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