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The Snowy Region's Treasures Collection - Tibet Museum

By OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos

Oh Good Party

The Tibet Museum is home to more than 520,000 artefacts, including Buddha statues, pottery, and jade. There are also about 1,000 artefacts related to Tibetan cultural history, such as historical architectural designs like Tibetan gates and transoms and works of Tibetan art.

The Tibet Museum is the only national museum and largest contemporary comprehensive museum in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is situated in Lhasa, close to the Lop Noringa World Heritage Site. It was founded in October 1999, marking the 40th anniversary of democratic reform in Tibet and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The Tibet Museum is home to more than 520,000 artefacts, including Buddha statues, pottery, and jade. There are also about 1,000 artefacts related to Tibetan cultural history, such as historical architectural designs like Tibetan gates and transoms and works of Tibetan art. About 100,000 visitors went here each year.

The Tibetan Museum, which is 53,959 square metres in size, is constructed in a manner that combines traditional Tibetan design elements with contemporary ones. Its buildings are made of grey brick, it has white and dark brown roof furnishings, and its roofs are gilded in a golden-orange colour. The primary exhibition hall, the garden of folk culture, and the administrative area make up the three main sections of the museum. The smooth white floors and original central black and white design in the courtyard's design, which is influenced by traditional monastic practises, are illuminated by a sizable skylight above.

"Long Songs of the Snowy Land: Tibetan History and Culture" and "Tibetan Folk Culture Closest to the Sun" are currently the two principal exhibitions.

From 50,000 to 3,000 years old, the historical and cultural exhibition collection. The Neolithic culture of the Tibetan Plateau and the nation's beginnings are represented by a large number of artefacts, including stone, pottery, bone, and metal objects, that have been discovered at the Karo and Qugong sites. Additionally, there is a room with several geological samples and displays of the various types of flora found in Tibet. The section of the museum is dedicated to the various dynastic eras in Tibetan history. Seals, books, official documents, and gifts from the emperor are among the museum's collection of artefacts that shed light on the political exchanges that took place between Han Dynasty officials and Tibetan leaders as well as the relationship between the Chinese central government and the local Tibetan government.

The Golden Seal of the Fifth Dalai Lama is the collection that must not be missed out on. In order to win the support of the Qing Dynasty's central government, Shunzhi Emperor gave it to the Fifth Dalai after he installed him in the throne. The 8.5 kilogramme gold seal is crafted from only the purest gold. The words "The Seal of the Dalai Lama of the Western Heaven, the Great Good Self-realized Buddha, who leads the world's Buddhism, and the General Wachira Dalai Lama" are engraved on the seal in Chinese, Tibetan, Manchu, and Mongolian characters. Since that time, the central government has recognised successive generations of Dalai Lamas.

The Tibetan culture is examined in the Folk Culture Exhibition, which is divided into eight major sections. These include Tibetan literature, including books, documents, and scrolls; musical instruments from Tibet; Tibetan medicine; Tibetan astronomy and calendar, including star charts; Tibetan sculpture; and thangka painting. The Cultural Relics Protection Organization of the Tibet Autonomous Region is responsible for protecting the cultural relics on display due to the rarity and cultural significance of some of the items. They contain numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva statues as well as priceless Buddhist texts that have been written in gold, silver, and coral powder. Additionally, there are priceless jewellery ornaments made of gold, silver, and jade that also speak to the religious and aristocratic culture of the time.

The collection of ethnic cultural artefacts is fairly extensive, and the thangka, statues, ancient writings, and folklore relics are among the most notable. The earliest is a woof Thangka from the late Yuan and early Song dynasties. Thangka includes a variety of painting schools and different techniques. The nearly 3,700 statues in the statue collection come in a variety of styles that can be broadly categorised as: South Asian style, including India, Nepal, Kashmir, and other styles; Central Plains style, including the early, middle, and late different styles; and local styles, such as the Indian style, which was influenced by the Kashmiri style, Tubo statue, Tangsati statue, and other local statues.

The art of sculpture in Tibet dates back to the Neolithic era, and the earliest sculpture discovered there to date is a pottery statue of a monkey's face that was discovered during an excavation at the Qugong site in Lhasa. Buddhist culture and art emerged in Tibet after the introduction of Buddhism in the 7th century. The majority of early sculptures were made of stone and clay. The precious stone artworks that have survived from the Tubo era include the cliff statues, stone carvings, and sculptures found at Sangye Monastery, Changzhu Monastery, Lhasa Chalalup, and Changdu Chaya Renda. Although there are some individual statues from the time of the Three Great Dharma Kings, foreign statues make up the majority of the early bronze statues in Tibet. The number of indigenous Tibetan statues gradually increased after the post-magnificent era (around the 12th–13th centuries). Early statues were typically cast as solid objects, but as the art of statue creation advanced, the solid early statues were transformed into hollow later ones that were filled with holy objects like sutra scrolls, medicines, and artefacts in inner Tibet. Last but not least, copper sheets were used to create the Buddha statue. Tibetan sculpture is expressed in many different ways, such as by bronze casting, stone carving, clay sculpture, wood carving, ghee sculpture, etc.; the techniques used include relief carving, round carving, openwork carving, etc. The vast majority of the statues on display in Tibetan museums are essentially products of the second stage of the growth of Tibetan sculpture.

Most of the porcelains on display in the Ming and Qing porcelain exhibition area were specially fired by the central government for the upper nobility and living Buddhas in Tibet, and they exhibit outstanding national characteristics. These porcelains are primarily official kiln-produced items, and the shapes of most of them are based on Tibetan folklore and religious objects. Because of how similar the mouth of the monk's hat pot is to the hat worn by lamas of the Kagyu school, it is known as a monk's hat pot. Porcelain monk's hat pots were first fired in the Yuan Dynasty. The pot is comparable to the offerings, is a type of lama in the temple during the puja activities, and is still in use in Tibet's most important temples. Also fired in accordance with Tibetan traditions were wooden porcelain bowls. Other typical types of ware include tiger skin tricolour dolmuchi pots, gold glaze engraved lidded boxes with lingzhi lotus motifs, carved lacquer shou-print bowls, and other porcelain vessels. All of these items reflect the central government's concern for Tibet and its courtesy to the higher monks and laypeople. Among them, porcelains decorated with Tibetan, Sanskrit, Baji, and other characters with regional cultural traits and traditional patterns are the most prevalent.

Thousands of years of Tibetan history, politics, religion, culture, art, and customs can be explored at the Tibetan Museum, which is a distillation of Tibetan history.


1. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm, closed on Mondays.

2. Admission is free, but tickets can only be used on the same day, once only.


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