Devout inheritor of Tibetan wooden bowls

In Lhamo's house in Qamdo, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, there is a one hundred-year-old wooden bowl. "My grandfather used this bowl throughout his life; it's a family treasure." Lhamo said, "I also have a bowl of my own, and although I don't take it with me when I go out nowadays, our habit of using a wooden bowl to eat still remains today. One wooden bowl might be used for a lifetime, so the quality must be good."

Lhamo's wooden bowl was bought by her mother years ago from Nyingchi's Zayul County, where the art of making wooden bowls has been handed down for thousands of years and the art was included as a kind of intangible cultural heritage of Tibet Autonomous Region in 2007.

Born in 1980s, Luosong Chophel has been making wooden bowls for nearly 30 years as a successor of the skill.

In 2006 he set up a company specializing in making wooden bowls. Besides, he is also committed in helping other villagers get rid of poverty by teaching this traditional Tibetan handicraft to them.

"In the past, polishing a wooden bowl was very tiring, but now you can use a machine to do the rough cutting first before hand-grinding, which saves effort as well protecting the traditional art," said Luosong Chophel.

Today, there are already 32 masters in his company, making an annual output of more than 1 million yuan (140,000 US dollars).

Luosong Chophel plans to take on another group of apprentices this year. "I'm going to focus on applicants from poor households and teach them the living-making skill," said Luosong Chophel, "wooden bowls have a special meaning to Tibetans and they have proven popular when I took them to Shenzhen, Chengdu and other places in recent years."

Luosong Chophel's father, Gesong Trinley, has already been making wooden bowls for nearly 50 years. "In the past, we made wooden bowls to make a living and I never expected it to be as valuable as it is today. I am so happy seeing my son developing the handicraft so well," he said.