Tibetan Knives are traditional and well-known handicrafts with a peculiar style. they are indispensable in the life of herdsmen. Tibetans use them as the tools to defend, to slaughter livestock and to eat meat. Tibetans have a sense of security with knives because Tibetan look might and valiant with knives.Tibetan knives are produced in many regions in Tibet. People may focus on knives’practicality, sharpness, decoration, shape, etc. There are two categories: one for man and another for woman. Men’s knives tend to be more curly and sharper while women’s are delicate. The most famous Tibetan knives are Lhatse knife and XieTongMen knife in Shigates Region, whose delicate decorations are unique from those in other regions. Shigates knives are usually made of fine steel, with othe materials like bronze, silver, iron, sharkskin, ox horn, agate and wood for decration. Moveover, some of them are studded with gems. Thus, they are more expensive than the normal knives. The produing process is very complicated.
You cannot bring Tibetan knives with you when you take a plane. But you may post them by post office.
In a Tibetan house, there is an attractiveTibetan cushion. In general, there are some beautiful embroiders on the cushions, such as swimming dragons, running deer, flying phoenixes, flying butterflies, mountains and waters. Besides those mentioned above, the embroiders of some cushions may also include historic stories, tales, etc. A beautiful cushion may make a house more glorious. The cushion is made from pure sheep wool. The pigment is a local product which can make cushions colorful. They are hand-knitted. The patterns of Tibetan cushions are sepecial and various.
Apart from Tibetan cushion, there are Tibetan carpets, which include backing carpets, saddle carpets, sleeping carpets and nomarl carpets. All of them are produced with similar procudures. The size varies, from less than one square meter or more than ten square meters. Tibetan carpets have a long history and hav been famous all over the world.
Tibetan carpets involve complicate craftworks, reflecting the intelligence of Tibetan people. The craftsworks are the combination of practicality and charm.
About Tibetan sculpture, there is one more special kind handicraft-masks, which is called Ba in Tibetan and mainly used in the various folk performances. Generally speaking, they are divided into “ a dance to worship deity mask”, “hanging mask” and “Tibetan opera mask”. The first kind masks are mainly used in some important festivals, including the masks of ghosts, Gods, immortals and animal totems while the second ones are usually related to people daily life.
According to the historic record, the history of masks may date back to A.D. 779 when Tibet was under the rule of a great king,Songtsen Gampo. At that time, people wore various masks in the important festivals and pretended to be lions, tigers, oxes and leopards to dance. Tibetan masks usually have a inclination of expression and symbolization which is extensive and exaggerated. The styles of Tibetan masks are diverse from region to region. The masks in the mid-Tibet are serious while those in the east of Tibet are monstrous.
Thangka is a very popular art in Tibetan painting. It is the most special art form in Tibetan paintings, similar to the scroll painting in other regions in China. Some believe that the source of thangka is closely related to the scroll painting of China while others believe that it derives from the painting forms of India and Nepal. The species of thangka are various. Its size may be over ten square meters or only smaller than one square meter. In general, its size is between one and two square meters. Thangka has various categories. It may be divided into three categories: embroidery, painting and printing.
Tibetan bracelets are usually made fromTibetan silver and bronze, with sanskrits carved on the surfaces, having a sense of primative simplicity and mystique. Tibetans wear crescent-shaped silver ornaments, which symbolize purity studded with agate gems symbolizing health and good luck. Red or blue Tibetan ornaments imply that the owner has a strong will to survive in the nature. It needs to be pointed out that there is a grain on the back side of genuine Tibetan ornaments. Also, the grain is not carved or printed, but is melted on it with brass wires through them.
In the past, the ornaments were made from alloy, containing 30% of Tibetan silver. But nowadays, Tibetan silver found in the market is mainly alloy. Some people refer to the archaized alloy as Tai Silver (a special name for 925 pure silver).
1. Tibetan carpets, knives, rugs, aprons, folk costumes, national shoes and caps, gold and silver ornaments, and other traditional handicrafts are made by traditional folk arts and crafts. Bakhor Street in Lhasa is the most famous small commodity center. It is also an ancient and sacred place. It is worth spending time there. Remember to bargain for your souvenirs.
2. You may run into troubles if you buy wild animals furs in Tibet, or Procapra horns (a Mongolian gazelle) or the skulls of wild yaks, which are illegally obtained by the poachers.
3. Tibetan medichine is famous throughout the world. Some medichine, such as glossy ganoderma, Tibetan red flower, awetoes, Procapra horns, snow lotus, and the medichine are made by Lamas.
4. There are lots of ornaments (made by Nepalese craftsmen) for sale around the Jokhang Monastery. They may be very expensive. It is also worth noting that you may be able to find some Indian and Tibetan audiovisual products there which are not available in other places.