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mezzotint

12.5 x 10.5 in.

Diki, 2008

My mother-in-law, Diki Lhazi Surkhang, was born in 1919 in Lhasa, Tibet into the aristocratic family of Yabshi Yuthok. She was raised to attend to her mother’s needs such as helping to arrange her wardrobe and ensuring that their home was kept clean. Her mother’s love for Tibetan traditional music greatly influenced her and from a young age she learned to play the Tibetan string instrument “dranyen” and loved singing “Nangma Toeshey,” popular songs from central Tibet.

 

At age 16 she was married into the Surkhang family where overnight she had to take responsibility for a large household. Until 1959 life was comfortable as the wife of a senior Tibetan government official, Surkhang Shabpe. However, in 1959, with the incursion and occupation of the Chinese military, the entire family emigrated to nearby India where they lived as refugees until 1964.

 

In 1964 she and her husband moved to Seattle, Washington where he was offered a post in the Far East Department at the University of Washington. Since first coming to this country forty-five years ago, the number of Tibetans in the United States has increased greatly as is reflected in the sprouting of numerous Tibetan Buddhist Centers and many personal visits paid by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the United States. Consequently, Mrs. Surkhang feels truly happy and blessed. She is deeply spiritual and attends the teachings of H.H. the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist teachers when they visit the United States. Presently, Mrs. Surkhang is living in Oakland, California with her son and daughter. She says the weather there suits her much better than in Seattle.

 

Tenzin Norbu Nangsal