The Torma Sculpting Tools are Carved from Special Bhutanese Wood

In this clip, Lama Gelek, the chopon from Mirik Monastery, is shown making a tool for sculpting butter tormas for the Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya. The wood he is using to carve the tool is called “geepshing” and comes from Bhutan. This special wood is naturally saturated with a resin that doesn’t stick to the wax butter, allowing for a smoother sculpting experience.

Making Wax Butter in Bodhgaya, Part 4

Monks and nuns worked hard to prepare the materials necessary for making butter sculptures for the International Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya, India. This footage was shot in 2008 by Ko Jung-Fa and Cynthia Chao and depicts the fourth stage in the laborious four-part process of preparing wax butter for sculpting butter tormas.

After the pastry margarine is thoroughly kneaded into the wax butter, oil colors are added to create the color palette.

Making Wax Butter in Bodhgaya, Part 3

Monks and nuns worked hard to prepare the materials necessary for making butter sculptures for the International Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya, India. This footage was shot in 2008 by Ko Jung-Fa and depicts the third stage in the laborious four-part process of preparing wax butter for sculpting butter tormas.

After the wax butter (or margarine) mixture has been thoroughly kneaded, a new element is introduced: pastry margarine. This is added to the wax butter mix to refine the texture of the final product. The pastry margarine must be vigorously kneaded into the wax butter until completely blended.

Making Wax Butter in Bodhgaya, Part 1

Monks and nuns worked hard to prepare the materials necessary for making butter sculptures for the International Kagyu Monlam in Bodhgaya, India. This footage was shot in 2008 by Ko Jung-Fa and depicts the first stage in the laborious four-part process of preparing wax butter for sculpting butter tormas.

Butter (or margarine) is melted in a large pot. Slabs of wax are added to the pot and thoroughly melted. Then the liquid wax-butter is poured into metal trays to cool and harden.