What are the Specialties of Tibetan Ornaments? This is an Article about all of them!

Culture

The unique geographic environment and climate of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have formed the standard of appreciati...

The unique geographic environment and climate of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have formed the standard of appreciating the beauty and the Tibetans’ preferences of being beautiful. The traditional Tibetan ornaments and their unique materials and shape, as well as their profound cultural essence, become appreciated by more and more people in the city life of admiring nature and the natural way of living, and have also turned into a new fashion and a form of pursing the beauty. Tibetan ornaments are extremely rich in varieties. They are not only a simple “decoration”, but also the normal clothing style. It will never seem to sound inappropriate even if you use the phrase “ornamented all over the body” to describe their love of ornaments.

Headwear: Tibetan men and women all love long hair and plaits. Nowadays, not many Tibetan males have long hair, and the males in several specific locations still have long hair, but most Tibetan females have long hair. Tibetans attach so much importance to their headwear, and it has many varieties. Most ornaments on their head are net-like, stringed with agates, corals, turquoises and other precious stones, and they will be worn on their head like a hat. There are also pendants near the forehead, which are colorful and very luxurious. In addition, there is also another kind of headwear called “Bazhu”, which is made into the shape of a “Y” with cloth. The support is decorated with agates, turquoises, corals and so on. This headwear was once owned by the aristocrats, but it is now prevalent in Lhasa and Shigatse.

Necklaces. There are a variety of Tibetan necklaces, and the most frequently seen are those that are stringed with mung bean-sized beads. The materials used to make such necklaces include turquoises, agates, beeswax, lapis lazuli, sandalwood, Tibetan Silver and so on, with their colors varying from red, green, and yellow to white. There are no official requirements installed for the number of beads used to make each necklace, and the publicly recognized number is 108, for this number is associated either with the 108 beads representing 108 kinds of worries, or with the merits and virtues of the 108 Buddhas, according to Tibetan Buddhism.

A number of necklaces also have pendants, which are usually round, oval, or water drop-like, and are made of turquoises, agates, beeswax, lapis lazuli, jades, Tibetan silver, and so on. Among them, the Dzi bead is the most precious. There are numerous views regarding its origin. Historians think that the handicraft ornament was introduced to Tibet from Persia, but Tibetan legendary stories tell us that the Dzi was transfigured from a worm falling from Heaven. As of now, people still haven’t drawn a conclusion about that. Therefore, the Dzi becomes even more precious, with the Nine-Eyed Dzi Bead being the most precious.

Earrings. The unique Tibetan earring is usually made of gold and silver, with oval or round turquoises, agates, corals and others set on it, and the most frequently used materials are red agates, red corals, and green turquoises, which all look impressive and dignified. Sometimes people also directly use turquoises, agates, or corals to make eardrops, and they are usually longer.

Rings. The Tibetan finger rings are nearly the same shape and materials as the shape and materials used on their earrings. They are usually made of gold and silver, inlaid with agates, corals, or turquoises. They are usually big and look quite obvious when wearing on the fingers. A large number of Tibetans may wear more than one ring. For one thing, they think this is beautiful; for another, this is a Tibetan tradition: showing their wealth.

Bracelet. The featured Tibetan bracelets usually include three parts. The first part is the bracelet made of gold and silver, with unique Tibetan patterns carved on it, and agates, turquoises, etc., on it. The second part is the bracelet which is stringed together with agates, turquoises, corals, Lapis Lazuli, jades, sandalwood, beeswax, tridacnidae, bodi-ci, crystals, ceramic glaze and other materials. Each bead is about the size of a peanut or bigger than that, and each bracelet can coil around a person’s wrist once. The third part refers to the string of mung bean-sized beads which are made of agates, turquoises, corals, sandalwood, beeswax, and bodi-ci. Each bracelet is usually comprised of 108 beads. These bracelets are usually regarded as Buddhist prayer beads. At the time of murmuring Buddhist sutras or during the Zhuanshan Festival (Walking Around the Mountain Festival), the Buddhist believers will turn their Buddha prayer beads as they murmur the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra and others.

As an ethnic culture carrier, traditional Tibetan ornaments embody a variety of folk customs. With multicultural communication, the ornaments with Tibetan characteristics have also turned into the popular items appreciated by many Chinese people and those from other parts of the world. The cultural essence that they carry is being learned by more and more people. This phenomenon not only improves the attraction of the tourism, dining, service, culture industries in the Tibetan areas, but it also provides constant driving force for the Tibetans, and Tibetan culture protection and development.

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