Tibet sits on the highest plateau in the world, at an average of 12,000 14,000 feet.
Tibet’s high plains, forests and mountains form a unique ecosystem on the
planet and are home to an array of rare wildlife, including the snow
leopard, blue sheep and Tibetan wild ass.
India - south and west
Nepal and Bhutan - south
China - north and east
Situated in the Himalayas
Five of Asia’s great
Mount Kailash - third and sacred mountain pilgrimage site of Hindu and Bonpo
as well as Tibetan
PERMAFROST - permanently
temperature, not moisture or
ground cover. The ground must
remain at or below 0°C for at least
Stylistic Sources of Art and Architecture
INDIAN Art : 11th - 14th
NEPALESE Art : 14th -16th
CHINESE Ming schools - 15th onwards
Buddhism - introduced in
towards the end of the 8th c
Detsen, invited two Buddhist
masters from India.
Tibetan Buddhism combined
the original, or Mahayanist
rituals and elements of an
older Tibetan religion known
Annual Buddhism dancing festival at the Labrang Temple in Xiahe County, northwest China's
Gansu Province, Feb. 8, 2009.
Monks of the Labrang Temple belonging to the Tibetan Buddhism's Geru Sect perform
religionary dance on Sunday to pray for peace and happiness.
Prayer flags - Lung-ta, or "Windhorse“ - horse which is both the subduer
of evil & the vehicle of enlightenment.
One roll of 25 flags strung together showing five traditional
designs, each five times. The five colors have many meanings in
Tibetan Buddhism - five directions, the five physical elements, the
five wisdoms, the five meditation Buddhas, the five mental
attributes, or the five realms of existence with blue sky, white
cloud, red fire, green water, and yellow earth.
Prayer Flags at Namtso,
5,190 meter high Lakenla
Pass on the way to Namtso
Found strung along
mountain ridge and
peaks, to sanctify the
Prayer flags are also hoisted on special occasions such as the
marriage, new business, new year, childbirth and before opening most
important work as it , bring good luck and prosperity.
Buddhist Temple, Lhasa, Tibet
The Buddha Śākyamuni (Wangdrak) with structural
(Jackson, David & Janice. 1984. Tibetan thangka painting: methods and materials. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY)
Great Stupa at Sanchi, India
Chorten or Tibetan stupa
Dagoba or stupa from Sri Lanka
Dome is smaller and the spire is
more prominent .
Chorten (Tibetan) or Stupa (Hindi)
Square foundation - symbolizing
Dome - symbolizing water
enlightenment - symbolizing the
element of fire.
Steps lead to a stylized
parasol - the symbol of
wind, which is topped in the
ethereal sphere by the wellknown
shimmering crown of the
Eight different kind stupas, all referring to major events in
Buddha Shakyamuni’s life.
1. ORGANIC DESIGN to compliment
the natural surroundings.
2. Use of natural materials - stone,
clay, and wood.
3. Ranging from one to three stories
Flat roofs with parapets – in
central and western Tibetan
plateau with seldom rain.
Sloping roofs covered either
in slate, shingles, or ceramic
5. Symmetrical in lay-out and façade design.
Use of stone or rammed earth may be up to a meter thick at the
Temples and manor houses - slightly trapezoidal form, heavy at
the bottom (stone foundations) and light at the top, generally with
sloping inward to create
an illusion of height.
7. Windows are usually small because the
walls are so heavy that large openings
would make the structure weak and
paper-covered wooden latticework
then but was replaced by glass.
decoration of doors, windows
and parapets (including
5. Painted black frames around
doors and windows, and
complex wooden overhang
6. Intricately carved interior
7. Organic design – buildings
appear to grow out of the
1. Outer White Palace - houses
the administrative quarters,
2. Inner Red Quarters - houses
the assembly hall of the
Lamas, chapels, 10,000 shrines
and a vast library of Buddhist
• Located on Moburi (Red) Mountain, to the west of old Lhasa 12,000 feet
above sea level.
13-storey palace stands 117 meters high
and has over 1,000 rooms.
Covers an area of 360,000 square meters.
Made of stone and wood, with walls
averaging from 1 – 5 meters thick.
• 1st Buddhist temple in Tibet, located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa.
• Built during the reign of king Songsten Gampo (605?-650 CE) to celebrate
his marriage with Chinese Tang Dynasty princess Wencheng, who was
said to have introduced Buddhism to Tibet.
• The temple was called the Tsulag Khang or ‘House of Wisdom’ but it is
now known as the Jokhang which means the ‘House of the Buddha’.
Talisman guarding the rooftop of Jokhang, the most revered religious icon of Tibet
where hundreds of prostrating pilgrams gathers everyday.
One of the many
with delicate images in
the Gyantse Kumbum.
Tashilhunpo, seat of the Panchen Lama
Sky Burial Site
A pilgrim surveys the sky burial site at the Lower Ganden Kora (pilgrimage
(Tagong Temple), built in 641AD.
It’s a symbol of the cultural mixture of the nations in China at that time and
is one of the most important temples in Tibet. combines the architecture
style from both Tibet and China. The high golden tower is a symbol of
Tibetan temple while edge of the roof resembles Han Chinese style.
• Called “THE LAND OF PAGODAS” as the
landscape is dominated by pagodas or stupas.
• ZEDI , Pahto, but are also commonly called
Hpaya synonymous with "Buddha“
• Hpongyi Kyaung - monasteries
6 PERIODS OF THE MYANMAR KINGDOM:
1. PYU ---------------------------- 6th c. until 1044
2. BAGAN AND POST BAGAN ---- 1044 – 1347
cultural peak of the kingdom, evident especially by the vast
and magnificent temples.
3. TUNGOO------------------------ 1347 – 1596
4. 2ND/3RD AVA ----------------- 1596 – 1789
5. AMARAPURA ------------------ 1789 – 1853
6. MANDALAY --------------------1853 – 1948
common style associated with Burma, the architecture is
similar to the contemporary Thai Rattanakosin style
BRITISH COLONIAL ---------------- 1885-1948
Referred to as Post Mandalay
• Four most important Burmese Buddhist pilgrimage
1. Bagan, an ancient capital
2. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda in Mon State
3. Mahamuni Buddha in Mandalay
4. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Central Burma situated on the left bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and
approximately 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Mandalay.
Site of an ancient capital city in Mandalay
Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana (the City of the Enemy Crusher)
Tambadipa (the Land of Copper) or Tassadessa (the Parched Land)
Pilgrimage centre and contains ancient Buddhist shrines that have been
restored and redecorated and are in current use.
Completed in 1091 A.D. by King Kyanzittha and modeled after the legendary
Nandamula cave in the Himalaya mountains.
51.0 m., and it received its golden gilding in 1990 in commemoration of the
900th anniversary of its construction.
Contained within the temple are 4 great statues of the Buddhas.
Dhammayangyi, the largest temple in Bagan, built by King Narathu who reigned from
1167 to 1170.
Built as the most important
reliquary shrine in Bagan.
Begun by King Anawrahta
and completed by King
Kyanzittha in 1089. It
contains several bones and
hairs of the Buddha.
Pre-Buddhist Nat worship
Buddhist themes in the
Nats are pagan anamistic spirits
Mrauk U, Myanmar
Two of the largest abandoned cities in the world lie in Myanmar/Burma.
Smaller version of the famous Bodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, India (where the Buddha
attained enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree).
Built during the reign of King Nantaungmya (1210-1234) and is completely covered
with niches containing seated Buddha figures.
Alisin ang frame
Known as Golden Rock, famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon
Believers claim that the
placed on the cliff 2,500
years ago, by two nats.
Atop the gilded boulder
is a 5.5 m (18 ft)
believed to contain a
hair of the Buddha.
Buddha is housed under a
pagoda built in the 1800s.
• The Great Sage, also known
as the Maha Myat Muni Paya,
Rakhine Paya, Payagyi, is a
major Buddhist pilgrimage
• Buddha statue was brought
from Rakhine State in 1784 by
King Bodawpaya as spoils of
• 4.0 m. high, and the statue is
made of bronze, weighing 6.5
The Mahamuni Buddha
Gold leaf is regularly
applied to the face of
Buddha, and monks
wash the face and teeth
of the image each
• SHWE -
• DAGON -
Shwedagon Pagoda (Main
Stupa) - located at the center.
Octagonal base with eight
smaller stupas on each of its
eight sides, making a total of
Around the Main Stupa - Many
pavilions (tazaungs), resting
(zayats), statues, temples, shrin
es and smaller pagodas.
(sphinxes), surrounded by a
number of Manokthihas are
found, one at each corner of
• Sits on Singuttara Hill and
dominates the skyline of
• 98.0 m. (320-360 ft.) high
solid gold plated pagoda,
covered in 60 tons of gold
• The top of the golden
stupa (hti or umbrella) is
o 5,448 diamonds
o 2,317 rubies
o Crowned with a
(sein bu) weighing
At each cardinal point of
Around the Shwedagon
Pagoda platform are the
eight planetary posts
representing the eight
days of the week
(Wednesday is divided
into a.m. and p.m.
days), each with its own
symbol. Beside each
planetary post is a
gilded Buddha figure
made of alabaster.
The monastery of Taung Kalat is also
home to the 37 Mahagiri Nats –
spirits of humans who met violent
deaths revered in conjunction with
Buddhism – their statues to be found
at the base of the Shrine.
M A Bhanpurwala
Wooden monastery is built on stilts and is located in Inle Lake.
Built in the 1850s, it is now home to numerous Buddhas as well as cats
that are trained to jump through hoops.
Monastery built of wood, and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in
Mandalay that was spared from damage during the WW II.
Originally located within the grounds of Mandalay Palace.
Intricate woodcarvings ornamentation of figures and flowers.
Walls were once gold plated and adorned with glass mosaic, both inside
Multi-tiered teak wooden structure
with four separate “Zeitawun” roof
Wood carving - statue depicting
serene Burmese Angels on Door of
Shwe-In Temple, Mandalay
Kyauktawgyi Paya Temple with colored glass artwork, Mandalay