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Tibetan Art: Folk Carving


Large in number, exquisite in materials and elegant tastes,Tibetanfolk carving has been well known for centuries. The dozens of primordialrock paintings found in scarcely populated valleys are the works of Tibetan ancestors, also known as the first batch of artworks found on this land.

The art of folk carving in Tibet falls into many categories, including wood carving, stone carving, bone carving, and clay and metal sculptures, etc.


There are three kinds of woodcarvings: decorative carvings on buildings, scripture-edition carvings and mould carvings. Various exquisite woodcarvings decorate Tibetan beams, pillars andtempleniches. Woodcarvings also appear on beams, pillars and windows in many homes. For example, the high and flat cabinets in many homes are decorated with continuous wood-carved designs. On top of the cabinet are lotus flowers and eight-treasure designs, which are painted in various bright colors.

Nowadays, Tibetan woodcarvers also make traditional and ceremonial carved furniture, such asaltars of all sizes, elaborate thrones, folding tables, incense burners, etc. Once completed, the carved pieces are polished in an old-fashioned way or painted in rich colors in accordance with Tibetan tradition. Some are further embellished with gold rims.

Some of the earliest examples of Tibetan woodcarving date back to the seventh century. The existing buildings of Tubo Times provide good insight into the perfect expressive art.

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