ARCHITECTURE

DISTINCTIVE “TRAPEZOIDAL WINDOWS” OF TIBET

TRANQUILIZING TIBET- PART I

TIBET- The place full of peace and spiritualism. It’s the land reminds us of colorful prayer flags fluttering over mountains producing a colorful and spiritual aura that swirls with the winds celebrating sacred Buddhism.

Tibet, covering most of Tibetan Plateau is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people including ethnic groups like Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa and Lhoba people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m (16,000 ft).

Humans inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least 21,000 years ago.  This population was then largely replaced around 3,000 BP by Neolithic immigrants from northern China. Since then Tibet underwent several transformations and was ruled by great Kings which consequently gave rise to several dynasties. They influenced the religious, economical and cultural aspects of Tibet on a greater degree. With time Tibet has perfected in its own unique style of art and architecture revolving around monasteries and pilgrimage sites.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet.
Photo by Ferdinand on Unsplash

Tibetan Architecture

Tibet has its own style of architecture which evolved over a time span of 4500 years under Chinese, Indian and Buddhist influences. They show only limited foreign architectural influences even today and reflects deep religious approach in their structures for example, The Buddhist wheel, along with two dragons, can be seen on nearly every Gompa in Tibet.

No matter the materials, shapes, or colors, the structures are very corresponding with the surroundings, creating a harmonious balance between human and nature. They are designed beautifully in accordance with the temperature and climate, promoting local culture and folk heritage and consequently seeking great tourist attention.

In this post we will limit our discussion to the characteristic architectural element of Tibet- ” WINDOWS “.

Peculiar Window Style

Wandering around Tibet, one can find Tibetan Windows as an amusing piece of art. The showcase Buddhist traits and are peculiar in design. The window facts includes:

  • Tibetan windows are mostly Trapezoidal in shape.
  • In western Tibet, the windows are framed in black borders.
  • In eastern Tibet, however, the window borders are white.
  • The windows are framed in order to keep away demons and evil spirits.
  • The windows of the apartments for monks and dignitaries, consisted of long wooden latticework. They were insulated by white cotton drapes bordered in blue.
  • The Trapezoidal shape of the border signifies ox-horn which is actually evolved from the ancient totem (Yaks) of the Tibetans. The black border resembles the shape of ox horn and is a symbol of good luck.
  • Architecturally, the windows are of smaller size in order to keep up with sunlight and changing temperatures. Thus, the broad borders is used to magnify the smaller window so as to make it look big and visually proportionate to the large buildings.
Trapezoidal windows, Labrang monastery

Here are some interesting collection of Tibetan windows to look around:

From Drepung Monastery

Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, five kilometres from the western suburb of Lhasa. The windows here are vibrantly colorful and intricately decorated. They are bordered with ladder-shaped black frame to absorb sunlight and to repel evil spirits.

 Fascinating monastery window -Drepung Monastery, Tibet by cattan2011 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/44687700194/

Colourful windows – Drepung Monastery, Tibet by cattan2011  https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/31517409168/

Colourful windows – Drepung Monastery, Tibet by cattan2011  https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/44667663814/

From Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is the most important example of Tibetan architecture. Formerly the residence of the Dalai Lama, it is now a World Heritage Site. The windows are smaller in size with the same black trapezoidal border creating a spectacular visual appeal.

 Beautiful monastery windows – Potala Palace – Lhasa, Tibet by cattan2011  https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/41654020412/

Potala Palace – Lhasa, Tibet by cattan2011 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/41759086701/

The windows at the Potala Palace – Lhasa, Tibet by cattan2011  https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/39951060570/

From Gyantse Town

Gyantse, officially Gyangzê Town is historically considered the third largest and most prominent town in the Tibet region. The place is adorned with colorful architectural elements as the windows here are exquisitely composed of intricate borders, well-formed paintings, colorful motifs which has not only a distinctive decorative effect but also a profound religious meaning. 

Tibet Monastery Gyantse

Gyantse, Tibet – A house window on the street by archer10 (Dennis) https://www.flickr.com/photos/22490717@N02/2212621385/

Random Windows From Tibet

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Astonishing!!! Aren’t they ?

No doubt, Tibetan architecture is a classic mix of religion and art coming together to form a masterpiece. The patios are amazing and eye-catching with windows being a highlight element. The styles adopted are sustainable and complemented with nature, giving people the beauty of primitive simplicity and ruggedness.

We will continue our Tibetan tour in the next post… Keep reading !!

Hope you find it interesting, Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

REFERENCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet

LINKS: TIBETAN DOORS AND WINDOWS ,

6 thoughts on “DISTINCTIVE “TRAPEZOIDAL WINDOWS” OF TIBET”

  1. What is your opinion on the white borders in east Tibet? Also thanks to you if I see another trapezoidal window I’m gonna instantly know the inspiration.

    1. Glad you liked the post. We here come up with the heritage and architectural elements from all over the globe. However, if got a chance, will surely discuss the Free Tibet movement…..

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