What's in a name?
Nyantok has an interesting and dubious history, it is a small village about 1.5 kilometers north of Rongwu on the west side of the valley. The name Nyantok has two disputed sources. The first is the village and monastery is located in a place where there used to be a number of springs that were the residences of many Nagas. Nyan means a kind of supernatural demon, tok means on top of. The second story (as translated by Norbu Drolma from an interview at Nyantok Monastery) is also ominous; when Genghis Khan, the Mongolian conqueror was in power he had 4 powerful and cruel military forces: the first force wore black pants and were noteably ferocious: the second wore black shirts and hats and they were deceitful: the 3rd wore yellow pants and they were most powerful powerful: the 4th military force wore tight pants and were skillful archers. This military occupied/controled the 40 tibes of Mongolia, the 12 fields/provinces of China, a large land area of Tibet and some smaller countries. During the reign of Kublai Khan a military officer named Hortuolong was put in charge of Northern Amdo, on the south side of the Yellow River. Hortuolong wore a huge black cape and had pants decorated with 13 fire-wheels. He studied magic from Chinese Taoism; he was able to make fire on a sword or knife and could part the waters of a river. The Tibetans called Hortuolong Nyanbo (supernatural demon person) and the place where he camped Nyanbo Ghartok (camp) or Nyantok for short. In the year 1269 the Mongol King * Khan promised not to harm the Tibetans any more and returned the occupied regons.
They teach art: making tangkas three different ways; painting (Tsontang), embroidery in the trupunto style (flowers and figures of padded satin sewn into a piece of cloth (Zakdrub)) and applique (Guitang). They also make huge applique tangka (Guisku), a portrait tangka (Adr), clay statue (Abkzuo), wood carving (Shangkui), stone carving (Rdoskuis)