Chinese Name: 藏族
English Name: The Tibetan people,
Languages: Tibetan language 藏语, Chinese 汉语
Total population: 6.28*106 (China mainland 2022)
Distribution: Mainly inhabited in Tibet Autonomous Region, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, etc.
The Tibetan people 藏族 is one of the 56 ethnic groups in China and are the aborigines of the Tibetan Plateau 青藏高原. Tibetan history is an integral part of Chinese history and is one of the oldest ethnic groups in China and South Asia. They have their own language and characters, and the language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family 汉藏语系. They mainly inhabited in Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture 阿坝藏族羌族自治州, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture 甘孜藏族自治州, etc.
The history of the Tibetan people
Tibetans first originated from an agricultural tribe in the central region of the Brahmaputra River 雅鲁藏布江. In 1271, the Kublai Khan 忽必烈 established the Yuan Dynasty 元朝, and Tibet was officially brought under the direct jurisdiction of the Chinese central government.
The religion of the Tibetan people
Tibetan areas mainly believe in Buddhism, which is accepted by all classes in Tibetan areas, and gradually penetrates into all areas of Tibetan society. The upper-level figures of Tibetan Buddhism are often closely integrated with local leaders and make use of each other, forming a feudal system in which politics and religion are integrated in Tibetan history.
The Cultures of Tibetan people
Tibetan clothing 藏族服饰
Tibetan costumes, both male and female, are still intact. Different regions have different clothes. Men’s clothing is bold. Women’s clothing is elegant and unrestrained, especially jewellery, gold and jade as ornaments, forming the unique style of plateau women.
The essential features of Tibetan clothing are long sleeves, a wide waist, long skirts and long boots. This largely depends on the ecological environment of the Tibetan people and the production and way of life formed on this basis. Wearing this oversized garment at night can be used as a quilt to protect against wind chills.
The sleeves of the robe are spacious, and the arms can be stretched freely. During the day, when the temperature rises, one arm can be removed to facilitate heat dissipation and regulate body temperature. Therefore, taking off one sleeve of the costume forms a unique style of Tibetan clothing.
Tibetan costumes are colourful, and their characteristics are also prominently reflected in the colour matching and composition. During theatrical performances and festivals, all kinds of colourful Tibetan costumes will become the focus; while the daily costumes of Tibetan people are mainly blue and white, with gorgeous belts or lace.
Tibetan medicine 藏医
Tibetan medicine is the abbreviation of Tibetan medicine. Tibetan medical science is quite developed. Tibetan medicine has a history of more than 2,000 years, and a system was formed as early as the Tibetan Empire 吐蕃.
Diagnosis in Tibetan medicine mainly consists of inquiries, inspections, and palpation. Tibetan medicine generally divides diseases into cold symptoms and heat symptoms. Treatment methods include emesis, diuresis, heat-clearing, etc. In addition to internal medicine, there are also acupuncture, hot and cold compresses, and medicinal baths.
Tibetan opera 藏戏
Tibetan opera in Tibet has a long history and its origin can be traced back to the Trisong Detsen period 赤松德藏时期 in the 8th century. Artists combined Tibetan folk dances with Buddhist stories into a pantomime-style god-jumping ceremony.
In the past, when Tibetan opera was performed in the square, only drums and cymbals were used as accompaniment, and the vocals were used as the accompaniment of the actors. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Tibetan opera has been put on the stage, and the singing and bands have been reformed, which has enriched the expressive power of Tibetan opera music.
Tibetan song and dance 藏族歌舞
Tibetan folk songs and dances have various forms and distinctive features. Songs and dances have a wide range of lyrics, such as singing praises to the sun, moon, stars, mountains, rivers, and land, praising women’s appearance and clothing, missing relatives, blessing the meeting, blessing good luck, and religious beliefs.
Nangma 囊玛 is mainly popular in the Lhasa 拉萨 area. Nangma’s music is basically composed of three parts: medium-tempo introduction, slow song and allegro dance. The music in the song part is elegant and beautiful, accompanied by simple dance movements. The dance part is enthusiastic and lively, the dance is light and stretched, and the performers only dance but do not sing.
The tune of the introduction is basically fixed; the dance parts are similar with minor differences, most of which are in the Shang mode 商调式, and some songs end in the Yu and Gong modes 羽、宫调式; the tunes of the songs are different, and some songs have closely related modulations.