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Tibetan Heritage

Age-old culture and nature took part in forming the Tibetan heritage historically, but more too. Its contributaries are teachings, (canon), arts and industry stemming from it, language, breeds of animals, medicine, herbs, clothing, food favourites and food specialities, statistical data, architecture, landscaping, customs, ritual and a banking system - to name some of them. [More at Wikipedia, s.v. "Tibetan Culture"]

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

The potala in Lhasa
The Potala in Lhasa, Tibet (click on the image for one more view)

The palace is in the northwestern corner of the old Lhasa capital and has a view of the Lhasa River valley. It was first built in the 600s CE by a king for his princess bride, and was expanded during the 1600s. The building is a mixture of Han and Tibetan styles. The 13-story palace stands on top of a cliff in 3.700 meters altitude and is the largest example of ancient architecture still in Tibet. The building complex has 1000 chambers.

The sumptuously decorated palace was for 400 years the winter home of the Dalai Lamas. The Chinese government has earmarked money to renovate the palace.

The glorious endless knot of Tibet

The endless knot
The Glorious Endless Knot

The Tibetan Eight Symbols of Good Fortune include the Glorious Endless Knot.

In Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture, Dagyab Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama, explains the source and meaning of nine groups of commonly used Buddhist symbols, beginning with the Eight Symbols of Good Fortune, which include the Wheel and the Glorious Endless Knot. He also describes how Buddhist symbols are used to remind practitioners of the "interrelations between inward and outward, between mental activities and material appearances."

Intricate images serve as tools for meditation, they also link up past and future in part.

Dagyab Rinpoche further illuminates the concepts of Tibetan Buddhism, which is grandly visual.

Carpet industry

TIBETAN CARPETS: Carpet weaving is a centuries old Tibetan art. In recent years it has become the primary means of support for Tibetan people living in exile in Nepal and India. Through the sale of carpets, they are able to provide for the education of their children and care for their elderly. It is also an important source of income for the Tibetan Government in Exile and is used to increase worldwide political awareness of the Tibetan situation.

Link:◦Tibetan rug


Tibetan Terriers

Link:◦Tibetan terriers (puppy)

They are very quick learners – very self-reliant – extremely eager to please – not particularly high energy dogs; they normally adapt to the lifestyle and pace of their owners. [◦From a FAQ]

The Tibetan name for the breed, Tsang Apso, roughly translates to "shaggy or bearded (apso) dog, from the province of Tsang". The breed is able to guard, herd, and also be a suitable companion dog.

Tibetan Spaniels

Link:◦Tibetan Spaniels

The Tibetan Spaniel is a breed of assertive, small, intelligent dogs originating in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, and and friendly and outgoing with their families. They love to give kisses by licking your face and love to cuddle up in your lap.

The breed is also a reliable little watchdog and lapdog, active, alert, lively, and happy. Their keen eye, ability to see great distances, and alarm barking, tend to make them good watchdogs. [More at Wikipedia, s.v. "Tibetan Spaniel"]

  • "Yes, they are good with children."
  • "Tibbies adapt fine to apartment life." [Ibid]

Tibetan Mastiffs

Link:◦Tibetan Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiffs are large dogs that lack the usual "doggie" odor and are generally considered to be hypoallergenic. They keep their double coat all year, with no shedding until Spring/Summer (generally).

This may hold good for Tibetan mastiffs bred by the English: Strong-willed, courageous – making good judgements; adapting well to different lifestyles – aloof with strangers – highly intelligent, and with an exceptional memory. Once introduced to someone, they will rarely forget that person.

Bred in Tibet, this dog, known as "Tsang-khyi", "dog from Tsang", is a large guardian dog that serves to guard monasteries, villages, nomadic camps and livestock herds. It is predominately territorial and loyal to family, but is not for everyone - for it can be "ferocious and aggressive, unpredictable in ... behavior, and very difficult to train". And the Tibetan name is variously translated as "home guard", "door guard", "dog which may be tied", "dog which may be kept". [More at Wikipedia, s.v. "Tibetan Mastiff"]

Tibetan art

"Most Tibetan art is religious art. The term "Tibetan art" encompasses art made not only in Tibet, but also that produced throughout the Tibetan cultural region. . . . The subjects of Tibetan religious art are typically Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, lamas, historical figures, and deities; mandalas, representing the abodes of the deities; stupas or reliquaries; and ritual implements for use in shrines and temples.

The vivid world portrayed in Tibetan religious art is filled with elaborate and esoteric symbolism and transcends our ordinary mundane perceptions."

Link:◦Tibetan religious art

Flag of Tibet

Flag of Tibet
Flag of Tibet

The flag that is known as 'Snow lion flag' and the 'Free Tibet flag', was a flag of the military of Tibet, introduced by the thirteenth Dalai Lama in 1912 and used asa military flag until 1959. It was designed with the help of a Japanese. Traditional Tibetan symbols were added to a rising sun surrounded by rays.

After the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, the snow lion flag is used a symbol of the Tibetan independence movement. The fourteenth Dalai Lama established the exile Central Tibetan Administration in India and standardized and adopted symbols as nationalist symbols. They include the former military flag.

The Central Tibetan Administration website explains that the symbolism of the flag includes the mountain representing Tibet, the snow lions of "a unified spiritual and secular life", three-coloured jewel of the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist Way and proper fare) and the Sangha (Buddhist society).

More than the flag is taken to mean - a flag that is banned in mainland China:

  • The snowy mountain in the centre represents the nation of Tibet, "the Land Surrounded by Snow Mountains".
  • Six red bands spread across the sky represent ancestors of the Tibetan people: the six tribes Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru and Ra. Red bands (for the tribes) and six dark blue bands for the sky represents incessant enactment of the virtuous deeds of protection of the spiritual teachings and secular life by the black and red guardian protector deities of Tibet.
  • The sun with its rays stand for equal enjoyment of freedom, spiritual and material happiness and prosperity by all beings in Tibet.
  • The pair of snow lions on the mountain slopes are blazing with the manes of fearlessness, which represent the country's victorious accomplishment of a unified spiritual and secular life.
  • The three-coloured jewel held aloft represents the ever-present reverence of the Tibetan people towards the Three Supreme Jewels (or objects of refuge): Buddha, Dharma (law, righteous life, etc.) and Sangha (community life, etc.).
  • The swirling jewel (yin-yang-emblem) held between the two lions represents such as principal virtues for handling life and modes of conduct fit for life.
  • The surrounding border of yellow represents such as the purified teachings of the Buddha.

It is possible to put some more - and less - into the imagery. [C]

"In China today it is refered to as "the snowlion mountain flag", as to call it the Tibetan Flag might infer some degree of legitimacy on its bearers." [Source C]

Link:◦Tibetan flag, source A
Link:◦Tibetan flag, source B
Link:◦Tibetan flag, source C

Sides to Tibetan culture, Literature  

Tibetan Buddhism, selections: [Link]

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