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Tibetan Culture and Arts


Tibet developed a distinct culture due to its geographic and climatic conditions. While influenced by neighboring countries and cultures, including Nepal, India, and China, the Himalayan region's remoteness and inaccessibility have preserved distinct local influences, and stimulated the development of its distinct culture.

Buddhism has exerted a particularly strong influence on Tibetan culture since its introduction in the 7th century. Buddhist missionaries who came mainly from India, Nepal and China introduced arts and customs from India and China. Art, literature, and music all contain elements of the prevailing Buddhist beliefs, and Buddhism itself has adopted a unique form in Tibet, influenced by the Bön tradition and other local beliefs.

Several works on astronomy, astrology and medicine were translated from Sanskrit and Chinese. The general appliances of civilization have come from China, [citation?] among many things and skill imported were the making of butter, cheese, [tibetan cheese, 'chorro' is dried yak milk, not found in Han China.] barley-beer, pottery, water mills and the national beverage-tea [there are many sculptures adorning the highway from Chengdu to Kangding commemorating the export of Tibetan tea to China. The Tibetan tea as consumed by Tibetans (a coarse black tea leaf steeped and then churned with yak butter and salt) is unlike the commonly consumed unadorned tea, or the sweetened milk tea commonly drunk by Chinese.]

Tibet's specific geographic and climatic conditions have encouraged reliance on pastoralism, as well as the development of a different cuisine from surrounding regions, which fits the needs of the human body in these high altitudes.

Tibet's religion. Tibetan culture and identity is inseparably linked to Tibetan Buddhism. Religious practice and Buddhist principles are a part of daily life for most Tibetans.

The immense plateau of Tibet is sparsely populated and they are mainly categorized as Drogpas(Nomads) and Shingpas(Farmers), due the its geographical and natural condition, central, eastern, southern and western Tibet is mainly populated with Shingpas(farmers) while far east and west, northern Tibet are inhabited by Drogpas (Nomads) since from its early days, but it is common that both nomads and farmers can be found in the same region, where nomads live in the mountainous grassy region and farmers live bottom of the valley and bank of the rivers.

Over the centuries, Tibetan culture was developed under both internal and external factors, cultural influence of the neighboring countries also played an important role in the development of Tibetan culture, including Nepal, India and Bhutan in the south and west, China and Mongol in the north and east. Later in the 7th and 8th century, introduction of the Buddhism from its origin country India had exerted a deep influence over the whole plateau, since then Buddhism became indispensable part of the Tibetan culture. Gradually cultural variations came to exist due to the regional geographical and environmental distinction in different parts of the Tibet, generally the culture variation in Tibet can be described by Utsang(central and western Tibet), Kham (far-eastern part) and Amdo (northern part), since then its geographical remoteness and inaccessibility had isolate the region from the rest of the world and preserved its rich and indigenous culture without any influence from the outside world in the names of modernization.

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