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Tibetan Arts

Tibetan is an ethnic group with a mysterious cover. The wisdom, knowledge about life, compassion, tolerance and peace of mind, all contribute in making the culture of Tibet. The simplicity of life, the spirituality of minds and rich customs and traditions give a strong hold to this alpine region.

Tibetan art and architecture have been almost entirely religious in character. The Tibetan attitude to a work of art is that when it is successfully completed it has an existence of its own and an inherent power to help the viewer come to spiritual realization. The art of Tibetan Lamaism retains strong elements drawn from the forms of both Hinduism and Buddhism in India and Nepal, and was later influenced by the arts of China.  


In architecture, the chorten, or Tibetan stupa , was derived from Indian prototypes and was composed of one or more square bases, a square balcony, a bulbous dome, and a mast upholding umbrellas, surmounted by a flame finial. Tibet is famed for its gigantic monastery-cities, which house thousands of monks. The one at Tashi Lumpo, built in the 15th century, is the headquarters for the Tashi Lama. A labyrinthian complex, it is composed of long streets of cells, which surround courtyards. At the center is a shrine. The 17th-century monastery at Lhasa includes the Potala palace, residence of the Dalai Lama, and a series of monastic skyscrapers that echo the forms of the surrounding mountain peaks.


Tibetan sculpture, often in the form of gilt bronze statuettes, consists of slim, elegant figures with heart-shaped heads, resembling the Indian Pala or Nepalese figures and frequently ornamented with elaborate jewels.

Metal, clay, stucco, wood, stone, and butter are all used in the creation of sculptural images, yet by far the best known of these is metal, since small, portable, bronze images of a great variety of meditation deities are most frequently encountered. Nevertheless, clay and stucco have been used since ancient times, particularly in the creation of very large images installed in monasteries and temples. Wood is also widely used, intricately carved for entrances to temples and for interior pillars and in covers for scriptures in monastery libraries.

Works of art are usually commissioned, either by monasteries or lay patrons, and their execution generally follows strict canonical rules as to proportions, symbols and colors, in accordance with artistic manuals.


Tibetan paintings appear most frequently is the Thangka or scroll painting, usually painted with brilliant colors on cotton cloth, more rarely on silk. Colors are traditionally made from minerals as well as vegetable dyes. Before application they are de-saturated in varying degrees in lime and mixed with boiled gum Arabic. These ‘stone’ colors maintain their intensity so well that many old Thangkas still retain striking colors. Today, Tibetan artists also use modern synthetic dyes.

Thangkas are traditionally mounted in frames of silk brocade with a pole or batten at the top and bottom so that it can be easily hung. Since it is also easily rolled up, the thangka can be stored away or readily transported from once place to another. Itinerant lamas used them as icons of personal devotion and to sanctify tents in which they held teachings of Buddhist doctrine. They are also used as effective teaching aids. In most Tibetan homes the thangka, together with small bronze images, is an integral part of the family altar and a vehicle of visual dharma.

The central figures of Thangkas may follow Nepalese or Indian types, but their decorative details, such as cloud scrolls, flowers, and architectural motifs, are often of Chinese origin. It is difficult to date these paintings, since the text, canons of proportion, and technical rules for making them have been almost unvaried for centuries. The symbolism is highly complex. Strongly schematized paintings portray ritual diagrams, scenes of the pantheon of divinities, and the wheel of life.

Manuscripts also are often adorned with miniature paintings, as are their wooden covers, and sets of initiation cards, called tsakali, which are another medium of miniature painting.


With the profound Tibetan Buddhism influence, Tibetan music should be marked as a religious music firstly. This ethnic music melody also mixes the music features of India, Bhutan, Nepal and further abroad. Enriched from the time to time, Tibetan music has developed its unique characters melted ethnic taste. In some way, the music of Tibet is a reflection of the cultural heritage of the trans-Himalayan region, while it also highlights the Tibetan culture in each music note.

The symbol of the Tibetan art is the dances and songs. They are a group of people mixed the art factor in their souls. Every one is a singer as well as a dancer. Unlike other countries, the music and dance here is not mainly for entertainment, but most of the songs here are religious, echoing the influence of Buddhism on Tibetan culture.

The singing style of Tibetan's is quite peculiar and their songs are sung from throat in a different way that makes the sound echo in the valley and can be heard even from long distances. The people of Tibet consider it as one of the medium of spreading their beliefs and religion as far as possible.


Dances definitely have an entertainment edge as well to them. They are generally performed during various festivals or any personal celebrations. Dances like Guoxie, Duixie (Tibetan Tap dance) and Quamo dance make the prominent part of every cultural event in Tibet.

Lhasa Langmar it is tradition dance music of Tibetan, and it is popular in Lhasa city mainly. The name of Langmar is from its performance place called Langmar Mound of Potala Palace. Its performance form is singing first and combination of the singing and dancing. The part of song is the pith of Langmar.

Afterward, Langmar was popular in the folk, and dance music is behind the song, also Langmar have dance movements just like Duisher rhythm accordingly. Thus, Langmar music is composed of song and dance. At present, Langmar is deeply in folk, tourists can find Langmar Fall which used to perform Langmar everywhere in Tibet.


The opera in Tibet is usually called “Lhamo” as a mysterious culture passed from the ancient time. This art form is reputed as “the living fossil of traditional Tibetan culture” with a history more than 600 years which is 400 years longer than the very traditional Peking Opera.

There is a beautiful legend about the Tibetan Opera in its present form. In order to earn money to build iron bridges across major rivers in Tibet, the bridge builder named Drupthok Thangthong Gyalpo summoned a singing and dancing group of seven beauties to perform in Tibet. This is believed to be the source of the present Tibetan Opera. Firstly, Tibetan opera named as Ace Lhamo which meaned fairy sister in Tibetan dialect. And Thangthong Gyalpo himself is considered as the father of Tibetan Opera.

Nowadays, Tibetan opera has formed a three-part stage format. The prelude part introduces the actors and actresses and explains the story line of the opera that is to follow. The following part will be the opera itself. The last part The second part is the opera itself. The third part is an epilogue which features a blessing ceremony and is also an occasion for the presentation of hada (silk ritual greeting scarves) and donations from the audience.

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