Tibetan Art and Crafts
More than a thousand years, Tibetan artists have played a very important role in the cultural life of Tibet. From designs for painted furniture to elaborate murals in religious buildings, their efforts have permeated virtually every facet of life on the Tibetan plateau. Nevertheless, apart from the petroglyphs of Rutok and the Jangtang, which have not yet been accurately dated, there is little evidence of Tibetan art prior to the seventh century. The earliest surviving examples so fully absorbed the impact of the surrounding artistic traditions that it is difficult to discern pre-Buddhist elements, should an earlier, purely indigenous tradition be found to exist.
Due to Tibet’s vast geographic area and its many adjacent neighbors including India and Kashmir, Nepal, the northern regions of Burma (Myanmar), China, and Central Asia (Khotan)—are reflected in the rich stylistic diversity of Tibetan Buddhist art, during the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, Pala India became the main source of artistic influence. In the thirteenth century and thereafter, Nepalese artists were also commissioned to paint Thangka and make Sculptures for Tibetan patrons. By the fourteenth century, stylistic influences from Nepal and China became dominant, and in the fifteenth century, these fused into a truly Tibetan synthesis.
The Art of Tibetan Medicine is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the triangular relationship among the Tibetan art and science of healing (Sowa Rigpa), Buddhism, and arts and crafts. This book is dedicated to the history, theory, and practice of Tibetan medicine, a unique and complex system of understanding body and mind, treating illness, and fostering health and well-being.
Generously illustrated with more than 200 images, Bodies in Balance includes essays on contemporary practice, pharmacology and compounding medicines, astrology and divination, history and foundational treatises. The volume brings to life the theory and practice of this ancient healing art.
Tibetan scroll painting or “Thangka” belong to the rich Tibetan cultural heritage and are an integral part of many public and private collection of Asian Art in the western world. Their existence is linked to the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century, although the earliest known examples date from the 13th century.
Tibetan Buddhist statues can be categorized into two major schools: 1) exotic statues (from outside Tibet or influenced by outside Tibet); and 2) local Tibetan statues. Both can be further divided into more specific genres. Styles from different schools and periods can be seen at places like the Sakya Monastery, Samye Monastery, and Potala Palace. The main exotic styles are East Indian statues, Kashmir statues, Nepalese statues, and Yong Xuan statues (statues prevalent at the Chinese royal court in the age of Emperor Yongle and Xuande in the Ming Dynasty in the early 15th century.
Tibetan Stone and Rock Carvings: Tibet is in rich repositories of culturally significant stone and rock carvings. When you are traveling in Tibet, you will find stone and rock carvings everywhere. Such images include those of animals, human figures, gods, plants, utensils, buildings, symbols, and natural objects. About 80 percent of old rock carvings of animals and hunting scenes and the daily life of the nomadic people.
Pottery in Tibet has a more than 5000-year history. Neolithic pottery pieces and unbroken pottery wares unearthed at Karub ruins in Qamdo are the earliest pottery ware crafts ever discovered in Tibet. The patterns were of the objects were made by pasting, carving and drawing. They are mainly woven patterns, labyrinth-patterns, water streaks, lozenges, and straight lines, appearing in the middle part of the body of the ware. The pottery jars with either single ear or double ears were beautifully built and finely worked.
Tibetan ornaments and jewelry includes as rings, bracelets, necklaces, made of red and yellow coral, Tibetan carnelian, yak bones, Tibetan silver, Tibetan copper, turquoise, and other natural materials joined together with yak-hide string. The most common Tibetan ornaments are broad and delicately designed silver bracelets, peacock-blue yak-boned necklaces inlaid with turquoise, and dangling earrings made of red coral and Tibetan silver.
The history of Tibetan Rug making dates back to some fifteen hundred years but a standard piece from that date is virtually nonexistent these days. Rugs in Tibet historically were practical, everyday objects, woven locally for use in homes and monasteries as saddle covers, sleeping mates, window coverings and other utilitarian purposes where they would over time wear out and be discarded.
Tibetan Knife is an indispensable tool for Tibetan people, who use it to cut meat, to defend themselves, and for other purposes. It is also one of the most representative handicrafts made by Tibetan people. Many Tibetans wedge their knives into their waistbands and have been used in livelihood, and for self-defense and decorative functions.
Tibetan tailoring possesses a unique skill and experiences. During the old times, Tibetan clothes are made by hand and take many days to complete a set. Tibetan tailors or öla in Tibetan hold important social values in Tibetan society and they are well-respected groups, and it is quite common for the monks to engage in handicraft skills such as sewing and tailoring. But nowadays, the tailors in contemporary Tibet are mostly using modern advanced sewing tools and equipment.