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Beijing Sichuan Tibet
Arts & Culture l Everest l Ihasa l Monasteries
Arts and Culture Dances l Musical Instrument

In a country rich in religious traditions, the arts and culture has inevitably been influenced and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the two. What is clear though is that the arts and culture has become comparable to the magnificence of the Vatican City.

Mandala/sand painting

The word ‘mandala’ is Sanskrit for circle, polygon, community or connection, and it is used in Tibetan Buddhism as an aid to meditation in the rituals of tantric initiation. They are representations of imaginary palaces commonly made from colored sand and sometimes from paper or textile. Each object in the palace has some significance in representing an aspect of wisdom or as a reminder of religious principles. The size, shape and colors of these objects are dictated by tradition with different types of mandalas representing particular ideals or concepts. Most mandalas contain representations of inanimate objects as well as deities who are represented by Sanskrit characters. The mandala is usually represented in two dimensions and takes several days to construct. It is then destroyed shortly after completion.


Used during prayer as a means of offering homage, Thanka paintings are generally hung in monastic shrines or in domestic altars. Large sized Thankas are unrolled during annual ceremonies and hung outside the walls of monasteries. Pilgrims also carry rolled up images of protective deities on their journeys throughout the land. This practice helped disseminate styles across the vast lands. The Tibetans regarded these paintings as more than works of art. They are rich in iconography and are also sacred objects of devotion and religious practice.

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