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Fine Art Prints by Ricky Qi



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I hired a guide, a local Khampa cowboy named Lorong, to take me on a kora, a pilgrimage trek, around the three peaks of Yading, in Tibetan Sichuan. Midway through, a rare October snowstorm caused whiteout conditions on the trail. We shivered the night away in a shepherds hut, telling stories and watching the embers trace mysterious pathways across the dying coals. After seeing how unstable the snowpack was the next morning, Lorong and I agreed we couldn't continue the kora. With heavy hearts, we returned to the valley. 

Back under the sheltered awnings of Chonggu Temple, my disappointment had nowhere to hide. Getting here was incredibly difficult and costly, and the plateau weather conspired capriciously against me. When would I have a chance to do this again?

It was still snowing when we wandered past an elderly pilgrim coming out of her lodging, in the rear of the temple grounds. She saw us and invited us inside for tea. We entered a dilapidated, drafty chamber. It was one of the ancient, possibly original parts of the building, abandoned long ago. As the wind howled outside, we took turns churning butter on the pilgrim's wooden hand churn, its gnarled surface coated with a dark luster that could only time could bestow. The butter was then scooped into to three worn teacups, each receiving a portion of piping hot tea.

As we sipped on the salty yak-butter tea, the pilgrim told us about her journey: she had walked hundreds of kilometers, many of them alone, to arrive here and pray for her son. She had not seen him in the many years after he moved away to find work. Nor did she know where he was, or whether he was alive or dead. But always he was in her thoughts, her dreams, in every step of the long way up this mountain and into this drafty room where we were sitting and taking tea. I observed her: her clothes were ragged and ripped, her skin was soot-smeared and sunburnt, yet her heart was pure, like the softly falling snow.

Perhaps it was the tea, or the way the sun began to peep through the cracks of the drafty door, but my hopes began to lift. The journey had not been in vain. For even in the midst of disappointment and setback, the spirit of the pilgrimage had revealed itself to us, in a small unassuming room on the ancient grounds of Chonggu Temple. 

Chonggu Temple is a 700 year-old Tibetan Buddhist temple located deep in the Hengduan Mountain range. It lies at the foot of Mt. Chenrézig, one of three holy peaks in Yading sanctified by the 5th Dalai Lama.

Yading, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

About this print:
Gicleé inks printed on Hahnemühle Torchon, a 0.50mm thick, 100% alpha-cellulose archival paper manufactured in Dassel, Germany. Acid & lignin free. A unique watercolor texture lends to a three-dimensional effect and excellent sense of depth.

Signed & Numbered, Limited Edition of 100. 

A 0.8-inch, white border runs along the perimeter of the image. Does not come framed. Please allow print to gently flatten out over a few days upon arrival before framing or hanging.

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