Tibetan Mask History
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Tibetan Mask History

Update: Jan. 10th, 2013

Tibetan mask

More and more people would like to visit Tibet plateau because most of them are attracted and addicted by the mysterious Tibet history, Tibet Buddhism, Tibet culture, Tibet food, Tibet adventure, Tibet trekking experience, etc. During different types of Tibet tour, people are very enthusiastic of taking part in the local festival activities such as Tibetan New Year, Shoton Festival, etc, and they found that mostly Tibetans wear a mask and dress very traditionally clothes when the festival held. The masks feature animal drawings, or Buddhism characters. There are 3 different sayings of the Tibetan masks.

Tibetan Mask History – Originated from Bon Sect

The first saying is said that Tibetan mask history is originated from the Bon Sect in ancient times. Bon Sect is regarded as the earliest religion available in Tibet region.

About more than 2500 years ago, Bon Sect was firstly created and constructed in Shangxong Region (Ngari region nowadays). It was established based on the primitive belief of Tibetans people's. Bon Sect could be regarded as the store of Tibetan ancient civilization. Bon Sect believes that everything in the world is alive such as the sky, the earth, the people, and the animals, etc. People thought that the deities lived over the sky, people and animals lived in the earth, and the devils lived underground. As the harsh primitive living environment at that time, people lived with the animals in the forest, so that they thought that the deities also lived with them together. When people were sick, they would ask the witch for help. During the worship ceremonies, the mask of the deities', the animals', the birds' started to be available. The sacrifice included the blood of animals. According to the Bon Sect history, the Bon Sect Temple has already constructed during the rule of the first Zampo (the king of Tibet) in Tubu Dynasty. Meanwhile, the dancing of sacrifice with the Tibetan masks was also created. The dancing is said to be created according to the means by the deity of Bon Sect when he fight with the devils. The great master of the first Zampo successfully succeeded the dancing and used it in the witch ceremony when the first building – Yungbu Lakhang established. Later on the dancing with masks were succeeded by generations of Bon Sect.

Tibetan Mask History – Originated from the 7th Century

The 32nd Zampo of Tibet – Songtsen Gampo founded the capital in Lhasa in the middle period of the 7th century. The tribes nearby were unified and finally established Tubo Dynasty. When Songtsen Gampo published the new rules in the great ceremony, people started to dance with masks which showed different drawings such as the deity, the bird, or other animals. Therefore the second saying of Tibetan masks is said to be originated from the Tubo Dynasty.

Tibetan Mask History – Originated from the 8th Century

During the middle period of the 8th Century, Tsisong Detsen invited padmasambhava and another great master to build the first Buddhism monastery in Tibet region. The Buddhism culture was quickly spread and developed. On the ceremony of celebrating the first Buddhism monastery, the religious dancing with masks was created.

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