Tibetan Stone Carving Museum Opens In Shigatse
2019-06-24
A museum dedicated to the uniquely Tibetan art of stone carving has recently opened in Tibet’s second city, Shigatse. The first of its kind in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, the museum features more than 60 original stone carvings, some of which date back to the beginnings of Tibetan Buddhism in the 7th century.
 
 
 Tibetan Mani Stones in a pile carved with the phrase 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.
Tibetan Mani Stones in a pile carved with the phrase 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.
 
Stone carving in Tibet is a widespread art form that has a very long history. All across the Tibetan areas, you can find stones carved with Buddhist scripts, images of the deities and animals, and depictions of a number of social activities from ancient Tibet. Often colorfully painted over the carving, these examples of an ancient art can be found in many Mani Stone walls that stand outside villages and monasteries, and in the mounds of Mani Stones that are often formed into a cairn on the top of some sacred hill or holy mountain.
 
 A mound of painted Mani Stones from Xinzhai Village in the former Amdo Region.
A mound of painted Mani Stones from Xinzhai Village in the former Amdo Region.
 
However, these artistic rock carvings are more than just works of art – they are sacred items that show the religious devotion of the Tibetan people to Buddha and the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. Whenever a Tibetan passes some of these stones, they always pass on the left, as if passing around the stones in a clockwise direction. Often, they will pick up a stone and press it to their forehead, muttering holy mantras for health, peace, and protection. They will then drop the stone back onto the wall or mound or cairn.
 
 A boulder piled with Mani Stones at Dolma La on the sacred Kailash Kora.
A boulder piled with Mani Stones at Dolma La on the sacred Kailash Kora.
 
Stone carving has its roots in the ancient traditions and beliefs of Buddhism on the plateau, and the most common of the carved stones are the Mani Stones, so named because they are carved with the six-syllable Buddhist mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum”. Roughly translated as “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus”, the mantra is believed to invoke the benevolent attention of Chenresig, the Buddhist deity of compassion. While there is little evidence of it when this mantra first came into use, though the earliest records show its use in the 10th century in Tibet.
 
 The Shigatse Stone Carving Art Museum
The Shigatse Stone Carving Art Museum
 
The museum in Shigatse also has a display of more than 30 rubbings of the most famous stone carvings in Tibet, most of them are not able to be moved due to their locations and the size of the stones they were carved on. There is also an exhibition of more than 20 styles of stone carving crafts, which showcases this devout religious artwork from the seventh century to the present day.
 
 Stone carvings on display at the opening of the museum.
Stone carvings on display at the opening of the museum.
 
The culmination of many years of hard work and research by Tibet’s few art researchers, who have spent decades surveying, cataloguing, collecting, and preserving these ancient artifacts, the museum was finally opened to help raise people’s awareness of the importance of preserving these religious relics, to keep the art form alive. Much of the carving from the beginning of the Buddhist period of Tibet was done on slate tablets and precipices that were open to the elements. These carvings are vulnerable to damage and erosion, and the museum aims to inspire people to do all they can to protect and preserve them for the future.
So in order to explore the unique Tibetan culture at around Lhasa and Western part of Tibet, we have a special tour package which will serve you to discover them with real life experience, that's Cultural & Spiritual Tour.
TAG: Cultural and Spiritual Tour.Cultural Excursion stone carving mani stones mani wall sacred stones citrcumambulate clockwise kora stone museum shigatse museum

FEATURED ON

ADD:4-5 House Namsel NO.3, Doudi Road, Lhasa, Tibet | Explore Tibet is the leading Tibetan Owned Tibet Travel company
Mobile: 0086-13398000993 or Tel: 0086-891-6305152 (Lhasa), +124 0778 0765(USA)
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am - 7:00pm (GMT +8)

Copyright © 2015 Explore Tibet. Privacy Policy Tibet Group Tour DMCA.com Protection Status