Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

Tibetan Sutra Pages

Tibetan books are symbols of the traditional culture of Tibet and occupy a profound place in the history of Asian art. They are an important vehicle for the transmission and development of Buddhist teachings. All features are skilfully carved with purity and confidence, with great lines, natural volumes and fine movements.

Classical Tibetan books are printed on both sides of long strips of paper. The sheets are laid one on top of the other. Traditional Tibetan books are not bound; the loose pages are tied between wooden covers to protect the pages. Buddhist manuscripts kept in the Buddhist monasteries of the Himalayas were bound between wooden covers and wrapped in cloth.

The majority of Tibetan texts originated in India and were originally written in Sanskrit. They were brought to Tibet more than 1000 years ago and translated into Tibetan. This is why you will almost always find the words 'rgya gar skad du' and 'bod gar skad du' on the first page of these texts today, meaning 'in Indian' and 'in Tibetan'. The vast majority of the original Sanskrit texts no longer exist. If they were brought to Tibet, they "survived" in their Tibetan version. Unless they fell victim to the Chinese invasion in the last century.

Rajjgir [a city in the Nalanda district of southern Bihar state] was home to India's largest Buddhist university, Nalanda, founded in the 5th century, were at times over 10,000 students and 1,000 professors studied and taught.

At the beginning of the 13th century, there was a great invasion of India by the Mughal rulers from the west. The Muslim commander and usurper Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed the Nalanda monastery, which was never rebuilt. In the process, almost all the unique Buddhist texts were irretrievably destroyed. Those texts that had been taken to Tibet and translated before this time were preserved. Unless they fell victim to Chinese invasion last century. The library of the Nalanda university is often compared to the library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt because of its holdings and importance at the time.

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