Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling
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Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling

Update: Jan. 10th, 2013

Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling

Tibetan traditional houses, just like other culture types, are unique and with distinctive features. Tibetan traditional houses are various. The castle-like house in southern Tibet valley; tent in northern Tibet agricultural area; wood buildings in Yarlung Tsangbo River area; even the cave dwelling in Ngari plateau. The history of Tibetan houses is long. There are rich remains in Karo New Stone Age relics as early as 4,000 years ago.

Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling - Castle-like House

The most typical house of Tibetan is castle-like house. Most of the castle-like house in stone and wood construction, elegant and stable in shape, simple and boorish in style; the walls built closely to hill, and in-ward slope remains vertical. There are two floors in castle-like house, and rooms counted by the poles. The first floor is stable and storage house; second floor is used to live in, including the living room which is the largest, bedroom, kitchen, storage room or stair room which is the smallest. If there is third floor, it used to be a hall for chanting Buddhist scriptures or as a place for drying clothes.

Castle-like house owns the features of stability, tight construction, and neat pavilion. Castle-like house is not only good for taking shelter from the wind and cold, but also for defense.

Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling - Tent

Tent is totally different from castle-like house for it is a special building form to suit the traveling life of Tibetans in agricultural area. The common tent is very short and small, being square or rectangle on the base. The tent was supported by the 2 meters high wood framework, and covered by black yak felt with a split in 15 mm wide and 1.5 meters high. This split is used to let the air and sunshine come in and out the tent. The four sides of the tent are pulled by the yak wool rope and secured to the ground. In the tent, there is a 50 mm high wall around the tent which was made up of grass-earth-block, earth block or stones, with the barley, butter bag or dry yak dung ( used as fuels) on it. The furnishings in it is simple, with a kitchen stove in the middle little close to door, a statue of Buddha behind the stove, and the sheep skin around the stove for sitting and taking a rest. As the tent structure is simple, so it is easy to pitch up, as well as to dismantle for traveling.

Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling - Furnishings

Tibetan is a nation which loves beauty and good at showing the beauty. So, they pay particular attention to the furnishings in the house. You can see the auspice design on the wall, and the blue, green and red three ribbons in the living room which mean sky, earth and sea. The residences in Shigatse paint the picture of sun, moon and cloud or hang flag on the door, but the residences in Mangkang, Qamdo pay more attention to the out wall, window and door, furnish them with colorful paintings, that's very grand.

The most obvious mark of Tibetan dwelling different from other nations is its rich religious consideration. The furnishings both in and out the dwelling is showing the outstanding state of Buddhism. No matter the peasants and herdsman dwelling, or the lord mansion, there is furnishings to place the statue of Buddha. The most striking mark of Tibetan dwelling is the furnishings with religious meaning. There is curtain in red, blue and white in linear hanging under the out wall eave, and the around window case is black. At the turn corner of the roof is the pataka with linear red, white, blue, yellow and green. In Tibetan religious color, the five colors mean fire, cloud, sky, earth and water, used to express the auspice wishes.

Someone also used the wall furnishings to show the different wing in Tibetan Buddhism. For example, Sakya residence is colored with white ribbon on the wall, and then color the dusty red and dark blur-gray ribbon and white ribbon in the middle. The main building, or the right angle turning of the country yard as well as the widely wall are colored with dusty red and white color ribbons from top to bottom to mark this area believes in Sakya school.

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