Colorful Tibetan Lifestyle (June 2007)

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Upon landing at Lhasa, Tibet, at an elevation of over 11,000 feet above sea level, our Tibetan tour guide draped around our necks a white silk scarf, the color of compassion. Shadows of clouds were cast against the surrounding mountains. As we noticed, draped across the mountains were also wind-torn, white cloths and prayer flags. Here was a place that many aspiring Mount Everest climbers dream of stepping foot on.

Tibet’s Sweeping Vista

People of Tibet

Lhasa Square is the hub of social activity and where one can see crimson-robed monks emerge, side-by-side or holding hands, from Buddhist monasteries in the evening. We enjoyed seeing the Jokhang Temple, a pilgrimage destination for Tibetans. Other sites we visited included the Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and the Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama.

I had a delightful encounter with some children playing on Barkhar Street after midnight in Lhasa. Like the grown-ups, they seemed to be dressed in their usual attire of brightly colored clothes and jewelry. This highly cherished moment was the heart of my experience in Tibet. Regardless of the roughness of life, the Tibetan people live a colorful life devoted to their Dalai Lama.

Tibetan Architecture, Art, Industry

In Shigatse, Tibet, I came upon a house on the side of a road and was struck by the exterior décor and the vibrant shade of blue of the door. The bright blue stood against the dull colored farmland. Tibetans highly revere blue as representative of certain elements, e.g. the sky and Akshobhya Buddha. It is also the color of the East and sometimes the South. As a matter of fact, the Tibetans have such a gift for seeing color and applying them on their buildings as if they were canvases. The Potala Palace was a great example of such art.

Another crafty item resting along a dusty roadside was a canoe composed of yak skin. The material was leather felt. A small fee was required to take a photo of it, which was requested by three gentlemen claiming ownership of the canoe.

After seeing a number of monasteries, we learned about the process of incense-making at a factory, which gave us new meaning in how we now see and burn incense.

Nurturing Inner Peace

Signs of spirituality was all around us.

Follow Jenny S.W. Lee:

Boston and Vancouver based artist and photographer exhibiting internationally.

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