Tibet Wine History
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Tibet Wine History

Update: Jan. 9th, 2013

Highland Barley Wine

The wine culture and history of a nation should be divided into two parts, material culture and spirit culture. The cultural characteristics such as the folk custom of wine, the drinking vessel and drinking songs, etc, are all the results of the wine. Therefore the wine culture and history of a nation are originated from brewing beer.

Tibet Wine History

The history of Tibetan beer brew is said to be introduced into Tibet region in Tang Dynasty by Princess Wencheng. But according to the history record, the time should be much earlier.

As we all know, Tibetan is a national community which formed in old times. According to the history data, the ancestor of Tibetan's has greatly connected with the Qang nation. Qang literally means "western goatherd". It is a general term of the ethnic tribe who are making living in nomadic ways during Yin-Chou Dynasty. According to the history record, the ancient Qang people originally lived in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. After the migration by generations, Qang people have been divided into many tribes, some of which are engaged in the farming. Both of the history and culture of Qang people are profound and attractive. Before the invention of the wheat of other ancient Chinese people, Qang people already successfully created it and cultivated gradually.

Therefore the history of Tibetan beer brew could be date back to ancient Qang period. According to Tibetan historical records, the rules of drinking alcohol have already been published at that time. It proves that the wine was once available before the coming of Princess Wencheng. But the skill of brewing the wine was a little poor at that time, which was made by highland barley simply.

In AD 641, Princess Wencheng got married with Songtsen Gampo and made a great contribution to the economy, culture and education in Tibet region. She brought the numerous books, food, and handworks into Tibet region and help Zampo (the king of Tibet) to make the rules and regulations of Tibet society. Meanwhile, Tibetans are encouraged to learn the advanced Tang culture and technology, including the way of brewing Tibetan wine. But it is not easy to brew the wine with poor working experience. After 9 years of the coming of Princess Wencheng, Songtsen Gampo ordered his man to learn the completed advanced skill of brewing wine to Tang Dynasty. With the promotion and development of the culture between Tibet and Tang Dynasty, the skill of brewing the wine of Tang Dynasty has been accepted by Tibetans gradually.

But it is not very common to drink the highland barley wine in ancient society according to Tibet history. But during Tubo Dynasty, there were full of different kinds of Tibetan wine such as wheat wine, grape wine, rice wine and highland barley wine. In southeast part of Tibet, the honey resource is so abundant that local people usually made the wine with it. But the honey wine was very precious so that it was usually drunk in royal families and noble families.

What's more, the wheat was the major food of Tibetan people. Even though the amount of the wheat is not more as highland barley, it was easy to make with the way of brewing the highland barley wine. Therefore the wheat wine was also available at that time.

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