Tibetan books are symbols of the traditional culture of Tibet. Tibetan book, sutra or manuscript covers [Tib. glegs shing] take a profound place in Asian art history. They are an important vehicle for the transmission and development of the Buddhist teachings. All features are skilfully carved in a pure and confident way, with great lines, natural volumes and fine movements.
Classical Tibetan books are printed on both sides of long strips of paper. The sheets are placed one on top of each other. Traditional Tibetan books are not bound; the loose pages are tied between wood covers to protect the pages.
Buddhist manuscripts kept in the Buddhist monasteries of the Himalayas were enclosed between wooden book-covers and wrapped in cloth. Like this examples the wooden covers were often illustrated or finely carved.
Tibetan book covers are usually made of wood, a precious substance in and of itself on the 12,000-foot high, virtually tree-less plateau of Central Tibet. Wood was used at great cost, as it had to be carried over vertiginous passes from southern and southeastern Tibet and surrounding areas with tree populations like India, Nepal, and Bhutan.