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Tibetan Art and Crafts2018-12-04T03:54:25+00:00

Tibetan Art and Crafts

During your tour in Tibet. You will encounter with lots of Tibetan Art and Crafts during your Tibet travel. Here are our attempt to help you understand the real meaning behind all the artwork in Tibet.

Buddhism plays a Dominate role in every aspect of our daily life in Tibet. Throughout the Tibetan History, we gave higher importance to spiritual matters than compare with the materialistic development. Tibetan art and crafts can reflect this fact. All our Arts and crafts are either originate or focus of religious values. Many of those signs and symbols are often used for decorating the interior of the house or furniture.

We often consider thousand of volumes of literary works, the numbers of profoundly realize mystics and scholars as the greatest accomplishment of our culture. All the visual art and crafts are explicitly dedicating to help raise the level of realization for the Spiritual practitioners.

The primary purpose of spiritual practice in Buddhist is to attain enlightenment that frees us from the cyclic existence of Saṃsāra. The goal of Buddhist work of art is to aid the practitioners as a source of inspiration and as the object of Meditation.

In Tibetan religious art, The images deities and other iconic figures are generally the Images that have appeared in the vision of great masters while mediating. The artist has followed the guideline from the scripture. And an ordinary artist cannot modify it. To make changes to the instructions of the art out artist must follow the new directions from the vision of the realized contemporary masters and with their permission.

We can observe the Tibetan religious artwork on several levels. On the general appearance, it is beautiful artwork and could convey some spiritual qualities to those who see it. One the more in-depth level, it is an aid for the spiritual practice. The object became the inspiration for the meditator. Many travelers think we Tibetans are worshiping the idols, but in the real sense, we are only taking it as the inspiration after seeing the images of enlightened masters.

Following as different kinds of Tibetan art and crafts, you may want to familiarize before traveling to Tibet.

1) Thangka Painting

Thangka paintings are traditionally not valued for their artistic beauty, but the primary use of the Thangka is to aid in meditational practices. Practitioners use thangkas to generate a clear visualization of a specific deity, increase their concentrations and to form the link between themselves to the diety. Historically in Tibet, thangkas are also used as the Teaching tools. The Teacher, also known as Lama Mani would travel to teach on Dharma, and life of great masters. He would carry a large Thangka scroll to illustrate the stories and teaching.

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2)Thangka Appliqué

Thangka Appliqué is a technique of making thangkas with precious silk without the use of paint. Thangka Appliqué is a sacred art in Tibet as Thangka painting. Artist follows the iconography of deities as mention in the Buddhist scripture. The art of appliqué first began among the Huns of Central Asia to embroider saddle blankets. Gradually, it spread east across the Silk Road and was adopted by Tibetans as religious art.

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3)Tibetan art of Statue Making

Tibetan art of Statue making in one of the skills brought into Tibet during the construction of those Temples. Nowadays we use two materials to make a statue: clay and metal.

Just like other sacred arts, statues are made accordingly with the proportions of deities as they are laid out in scripture so they may be used as proper objects of meditation. The training of a statue-making artist is much lengthier than that of a thangka artist, because not only must a statue-maker learn the proportions of deities in two dimensions, he must master the new portions of depth.

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4)Tibetan Wood Carving

Tibetan Wood Carving tradition dates back to the seventh century. It was during the seventh century when our king Songtsen Gampo married the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal and Princess Wencheng of Tang Empire. For the marriage, both princesses brought holy statues from Nepal and Tang China. Upon the arrival in Lhasa, the Temple has to built to house those statues. Craftsmen from Tang and Nepal were invited to help build two temples in Lhasa; Jokhang and Ramoche. Skills from the invited craftsmen are later transferred to the local Tibetans. That is why the seventh century is considered as the beginning of all the Tibetan arts and crafts including the wood carving.

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5)Tibetan Wood Painting

Tibetan wood painting is another essential local art form. We do painting both sacred artworks like Thangka Painting and Decorative painting like Ornament furniture and wall of the House. Although the use of each is different. Tibetan appreciation of beautiful art is clearly visible in both religious and decorative art. Tibet decorative art has a powerful influence Tibet’s rich Buddhist tradition. We often use religious symbols such as the Five Offerings, Eight Auspicious Symbols, and the Eight Precious Substances. Also, landscape elements and Animals had spiritual importance and believed to bring good luck to fill your house with these auspicious symbols of good luck

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6) Tibetan tailoring

Tibetan tailoring. Tailoring in Tibet is a very unique skill. Traditionally all the clothes in Tibet are made by hand. In Lhasa during the old times, All the high lamas and high noble family has they own personal tailor. The tailors are highly respected and called öla (Oola). Tailors are invited into the household to live with the family to make clothes for the family members. The tailor would first observe the entire family members for a couple of days to know how they live and how your family members will use the clothes. They would use the holistic approach in making your clothes by measuring both your body and lifestyle.

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7) Tibetan Weaving 

Tibetan Weaving history is a long and prosperous one. We have developed our unique method of weaving. The historian can trace Tibetan weaving to the 7th Century. What is so interesting about Tibetan weaving is that we have developed a unique way of making clothes and rugs which is entirely different from any other surrounding regions. In Tibet, we use local wools from the Yak and Sheep for weaving. We produce different kinds of clothes and rugs for over centuries.

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