The long painting is titled “The Everlasting Sino-India Dharma Connection” in Chinese. It is made on specially handcrafted paper and on its lower part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping are shown smiling and shaking hands.
Above, Buddhist and Hindu deities are showering the two leaders with blessings; a white elephant and a dragon on their sides depict Sino-India cultural symmetry.
This work of delicate Chinese art – and carefully crafted diplomacy – could have found itself on a spartan wall in Modi’s 7 RCR home after his China visit.So could have a smaller portrait of Modi himself – done on silk, showing himself with a piece of paper.
But Modi’s tight schedule in Beijing now means that it will not be possible for Jinke Xuanlei – Sino-Esoteric Buddhist Association head who carries the title Vajra Master – to present the two paintings to the Indian PM.
“We were very keen to formally present the two paintings (to the PM). The Indian embassy was in touch with us. But about two weeks earlier, we learnt it will not be possible,” Yinyu from the Beijing Jinke Mandala Painting and Calligraphy Institute told HT at the institute’s quiet premises in the eastern fringes of the city. The Institute is run by the association.
Yinyu was translating from Chinese to English for the two painters Jinke Yindang and Jinke Yinduan – who under the guidance of Jinke Xuanlei – the paintings.
The Modi-Xi painting took three months to be completed and the one with Modi took 45 days, Yinyu said.
The hours of daily painting were preceded by Buddhist rituals.
“We had to shower before beginning to paint. Burn incense. Meditate for about 45 minutes. Then make offerings of fruits and flowers. We chanted Buddhist mantras while painting,” Yindang said, adding that the works were not just paintings but blessings.
That is the reason why the presentation of the paintings to Modi could not have been a simple ceremony.
“The presentation has rituals. We have to be told at least three days before. The Master (Jinke Xuanlei) has to meditate and chant mantras. Then pray for the Indian PM and the people of India,” Yinyu said.
India has a special place among the association’s disciples: They believe their ancestors were from India. And, the given names of all association members have an India connection.
“That is why we were keen to present the paintings. To promote bilateral ties. Our founders were Indian monks. This was our way of paying respect to our ancestors and masters,” Yindang said.
Both paintings carry prayers for the individuals as well as people. For example, the prayers on Modi’s painting say that may his heart “attain the ultimate wisdom and reach perfect enlightenment”.