The Art of Tibetan Statue

by | Nov 14, 2018

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.

With the spreading of Buddhist culture since the 7th century, many schools of Buddhist statues emerged in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Ever since Buddhism was introduced to the Tubo Kingdom in the 7th century, the Buddha statues have been localized consciously or unconsciously to cater to the traditional Tibetan appreciation of beauty.” Mostly the Tibetan statues are made out of the Wooden statue, Bronze statue, Lacquerware Statue, Marble Statue, and Lava stone Statue.

In Tibet, Buddha statues are considered as the symbol of sacred support for different Buddhist practices in Tibet. Tibetan Buddha statues are the core of Tibetan Buddhist altar. In Tibetan Buddhism, Buddha statues are believed to be alive and provide blessings to living beings, and Buddhist devout in Tibetan Buddhism also believe in using the right kind of Tibetan Buddha statues to move on the right path and also inspire others in taking the right path. Finding the peace and calm through the medium of Buddha statues is one of the common practices in Tibetan Buddhism.

Along with Nepal, Tibet is also known all over the world for their unique as well as different styles of Buddha statues. Being the representation of Gautama Buddha himself, Buddha statues in Tibet are also considered sacred and holy so Tibetan Buddha statues are seen with highly religious importance.

Tibetan Buddha statues are also considered as a medium during chanting practices and provide motivation and internal satisfaction, that may lead to the Enlightenment. The two core of Jokhang Temple is Buddha images of Shakyamuni Buddha as well as Vairocana Buddha. Buddha statue of Shakyamuni Buddha was brought by Princess Bhrikuti as a part of her dowry, while, Buddha image of Vairocana Buddha was brought by Princess Wengcheng. Both Princess Bhrikuti and Princess Wengcheng are two wives of King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet.

Our Other Post on Tibetan Art & Crafts


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. 

Stone and Rock carving

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.

Tibetan Pottery Wares

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. 

Tibetan Jewelry

Tibetan jewelry and ornaments include 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.

Tibetan Weaving

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. 

Tibetan Knife

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.

Tibetan Tailoring

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. 

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