Tibetan Treasures – Cultural Artefact Exhibition of Norbulingka
Hosted by: Summer Palace Administration Office,Beijing
Norbulingka Management Office of Tibetan Autonomous Region
Dates：22 September 2015 through 25 November 2015;
Locations：Garden of Virtue and Harmony (Dehe Yuan).
Norbulingka was first constructed in the middle of the 18th century in the reign of the 6th Dalai Lama Kelsan Gyatso (1707-1758) as the Summer Palace for the successive Dalai Lamas to weather the summer and undertake governance. In 1988 it was ranked as one of the major historic and cultural sites under state protection by the State Council. In 2001 it was listed in the Catalog of the World Cultural and Historic Heritages by the UNESCO. Being the gardening palace complex featuring the largest scale, most attractive architecture and most ethnic uniqueness in Tibet, Norbulingka is the important part of the Chinese classical gardening culture.
For the purpose of carrying out President Xi Jinping’s important instructions on protecting the historic and cultural artefacts as well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of founding the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Beijing Summer Palace and Norbulingka jointly hold the exhibition of Tibetan Treasures -- Cultural Artefact Exhibition of Norbulingka. It is the first time to introduce the Tibetan gardening cultural artefacts to the imperial garden. It aims to spread the excellent ethnic cultural heritages, further present the charm and artefacts of Norbulingka, which is an initiation of promoting the ethnic unity and cultural exchanges.
1. Buddhist Statues and Artistic Classics
As the major part of the Tibetan Buddhist art, the Buddhist statues are famous for their long history, various styles and special features. When marrying Princess Wencheng from the Tang Dynasty and Princess Bhrkuti from Nepal in the seventh century, Srongtsen Gampo received the figure-tall statues of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism aged at 12 and 8 respectively, which initiated the Tibetan Buddhism and statue art, and finally the statue art school featuring Tibetan religion and culture has come into being over 1,300 years later. Norbulingka collects over 10,000 statues, collectively representing the art achievements of the Tibetan Buddhist statues.
2. Tangka and Tibetan Encyclopedia
Tangka, transliterated from Tibetan, is a kind of religious scroll paintings mounted and suspended for worships. It has distinctive ethnic features and a strong religious flavor, and aunique artistic style, which is a special painting art in Tibetan culture.There are two groups of Tangka paintings, i.e.silk woven KuoTangkaand painted ChiTangka. Thangka features a number of painting schools calledChinzi,Mientang, Karmagachi, Nepaleseand Chiwukang. Norbulingka has collected over 1,000 pieces of Tangka painted between the 13th century and early 20th century, involving in the themes of history, politics, culture, religion and so on. They are called the name card and encyclopedia of Tibet.
3. Religious Instruments and Classics
Norbulingka has collected massive Buddhist instruments and classics such as stupa, vajra pestle, lucky Ghee butter lamps, prayer beads, and other instruments that are used for thinking, offering sacrifices, prostrating in worship and other Buddhist activities so as to achieve perfect virtues and merits as well as spreading the religion. They are the crystal of the Tibetan wisdoms and techniques at a high level.
4. Daily Life and Rare Treasures
As the summer palace of Dalai Lamas from a long line to dwell in, worship the Buddha and undertake governance, Norbulingka houses a variety of daily life terms including utensils, furniture and displays, clothes and ornaments, etc., reflecting the upper class people’s spiritual pursuits and aesthetic interests at that time.