Tibetan Architecture
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Tibetan Architecture

Update: Jan. 10th, 2013

Tibetan Architecture

Tibetan Architecture is in various forms, not only showed in residential buildings, but also other architecture constructions.

Tibetan Architecture – Town Architecture

The famous Tibetan ancient towns include Lhasa, Shigatse, Qamdo, Gyantse, Zhalu, Ngari, Sakya, and some others. In general, they are laid out in two types: one is the town combining with the religion for its political system combining religion with politics, with rich religious color. Lhasa, Qamdo and other towns are developed base on the Buddhism scripture hall and monastery. Lhasa was named "rhasa" in ancient and which first was the name of Jokhang Temple. In 7th century, Songtsen Gampo built the Jokhang Temple, and Lhasa became the political center of the kingdom. In 17th century, fifth Dalai rebuilt Lhasa, and there were some other temples, lord mansion, bazaar and residential houses around Jokhang Temple. The whole town covered 1.3 square kilometers, with the Jokhang Temple in the center and stretched out. It is the political, economy, culture center of Tibetan, as well as a typical religion city. Zhalu Town is the other form of combining town and temple together. Zhalu is one of the top ten business towns in Tu Bo period, located in the valley near to Shigatse. The town is surrounded with soil barrier, and the Zhalu Temple on the west of city covered one third of the town. The main part of Sakya and Samye is temple. The other type of town is mainly in Rdzaong, dwelling districts and temples are laid out around the Rdzaong Mountain architecture. The Rdzaong government on the top of mountain and with dwelling district on the mountain foot surrounded it, temple on one part of town or on the mountainside.

Tibetan Architecture – Rdzaong Mountain Architecture

Rdzaong Mountain is the place where Tibetan Rdzaong government (equal to county government) located. The original meaning of Rdzaong was "blockhouse","mountain fortress" or "fortress". In ancient, Rdzaong Mountain, including scripture hall, hall of the temple, Rdzaong government, jail and storage house, commonly built on the top of mountain and dwelling district on the mountain foot. The most outstanding feature of Rdzaong Mountain is its defense system.

Tibetan Architecture – Palace Architecture

Palace architecture in Tibetan is Podrang. In history, every Zanpu of Tu Bo dynasty built some palace architecture. Later, political system of merging politics with religion related to the palaces owned by the dharma and religious leaders. That's one of its biggest feature and different from other emperor palaces. In 17th century, the Potala Palace is the most splendid palace architecture, which covered 41 hectares, including palace, mountain foot castle and Lingka three parts. The whole building is very magnificent, and it's the power center of Tibetan regime and religion.

Tibetan Architecture – Temple Architecture

With the spreading of Buddhism, temple architecture quickly developed and been the main part of Tibetan ancient building. As large amount of money and things spend on building temples, so these architectures mostly can reflect the Tibetan architecture accomplishment. It is recorded that Songtsen Gampo built the scripture hall of Jokhang Temple and Romoche Temple and 108 sanctuaries. These religious buildings are not monastery. In 779, Trison Detsen built Jokhang Monastery which is the first monastery of Tibet.

Most of Tibetan Monastery in large scale, like the Drepung on the mountainside of Gepei Mountain. The building is rolling, row upon row and pavilion between two floors, just like a town on the mountain, looks very grand. These different size temples are the place to hole religious activities, and the center of political, economy, culture, as well as the centers of fabulous wealth. As temples play an important role in Tibetan society, so they own many features in architecture.

In the development history of Tibetan Architecture, they absorbed other nations' architecture art and techniques, and kept their architecture characteristics and style, promoted the technique development. In 641, princess Wencheng brought many skillful workers into Tibet and joined in the building of Ramoche Temple. After Sakya government, the architecture art and techniques of Han nationality was largely absorbed. Constantly absorbing from other nations and combining with its local tradition make the Tibetan architecture lovely and with its own features.

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