Tibetan Culture

As a member of the great family of the Chinese nation, Tibetan people have created and developed a distinctive culture in the long history of continuous exchange and mutual absorption from the culture of other ethnic groups. Tibetan culture has always been a pearl both in Chinese culture and world culture. The culture in Tibet was formed gradually by the integration of the Turk culture in the Yarlung Zangbo River basins and ancient Zhangzhung culture in the west region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

By the Songtsen Gambo period in the seventh century AD, Buddhism was introduced into Tibet from mainland China, India, and Nepal, and gradually developed into Tibetan Buddhism. Due to the profound influence of Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama always describes Tibetan culture as Tibetan Buddhism culture. At the same time, the Indian and Nepal culture of South Asia, Persian culture, and Arab culture in Western Asia also influenced Tibetan culture in a significant way.

In the historical development of Tibetan culture, Tibetan architectural art and sculpture, painting, decoration, Tibetan art and crafts, and other plastic arts, as well as music, dance, drama, language, written literature, folk literature, Tibetan medicine, and astronomical calendars have all reached a very high level.

Tibet art features many auspicious patterns, such as patterns of Buddhist items, with a certain symbolic meaning. The art forms include Tibetan murals and frescoes, Thangka, Tibetan Butter Sculpture, Sand Mandalas, and Tibetan Cliff and Rock Carving, etc. Those artistic expressions help tourists know more about the mysterious Tibet.

The recommended places to experience Tibetan art and culture are the Potala Palace and the Tibet Museum. The treasure hall of Potala Palace showcases a large collection of valuable artworks, such as seals, gifts, Buddhism classics, palm-leaf manuscripts, Buddha statues, thangkas, and Tibetan Buddhist items. One of the most precious treasures is the Statue of Hevajra Tantra made in the 14th century.  Tibet Museum is Tibet’s treasure trove and the first modern museum, where you can not only appreciate the precious collection of Tibetan art but also learn about various Tibetan folk arts.

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