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Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Archival materials
Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows took its name from a translation of the Tibetan term for Tibet, Bhod Gangchen-Jong, or "land of snows," to describe a community of people who are Tibetan in origin but live outside the historical and ethnographic boundaries of Tibet. These Tibetans began to leave Tibet in 1959 after His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the people of Tibet, fled to India after a decade of negotiations with the Chinese government for peaceful co-existence had failed. He eventually established a government-in-exile in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala. Over the subsequent 40 years many other Tibetans escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet and settled throughout India and Nepal, and smaller numbers emigrated to North America and Europe. In 2000, approximately 140,000 Tibetans lived outside of Tibet. Another 6 million Tibetans remained in the Tibetan areas of present-day China. This Festival program focused on the culture of the Tibetan refugee community, beyond the land of snows.

Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows provided a platform for a number of Tibetans to speak and paint a more complete picture of their culture. Festival participants spoke of the horrors of torture and cultural destruction by the Chinese, while others explained the Buddhist insights developed by Tibetan masters over centuries into highly sophisticated intellectual reflections and meditation practices. Some of these narratives might have reinforced what Westerners have long thought about the spiritual preeminence of Tibet, while others might have tested preconceptions and questioned the feudal traditions and inequities historically found in the country's social order. Young Tibetans born in India or the West have less grounding in the spiritual Tibet of memory and text than do their elders, and some are quick to look for new sources of inspiration in secular Tibetan and Western cultures. The Festival program allowed a broad range of Tibetan voices to be heard in the West.

Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows afforded a rare opportunity for the public to hear directly from monks, nuns, and religious leaders from India and the United States. A highlight of the Festival was the Monlam Chenmo (Great Prayer Festival) on the National Mall on July 2, presided over by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and followed by his public address to the crowd of fifty thousand visitors. Throughout the Festival, visitors could also speak with the finest of traditional artists now living outside Tibet, and with musicians from Canada, craftspeople from Dharamsala, cooks from the United States, and weavers from Nepal. From these discussions Festival visitors could gain a clearer understanding of the status of Tibetan culture in the 21st century, a complex picture that included images of Tibet as a contemporary living ethnic community, as well as a historical ideal. Certainly visitors could gain a deeper understanding of how critical a role culture plays in shaping the identities of both a refugee community and a nation.

Richard Kennedy and Jamphel Lhundup were Curators; Matthew Pistono was Program Coordinator in the U.S. and Tenpa Samkhar was Program Coordinator in India, with Marni Kravitz as Program Associate.

The program was produced in collaboration with the Conservancy for Tibetan Art & Culture and with the assistance of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and the Tibetan government-in-exile. Major support was provided by the International Campaign for Tibet, Tibet Fund, Tibet House New York, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Gere Foundation, Inner Harmony Wellness Center/Peter Amato, Steven and Barbara Rockefeller, Edward F. Nazarko, the Kruglak Family, Tibetan Alliance of Chicago, Inc., The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Inc., Utah Tibet Support Group, Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer, and Padma Health Products, Inc. In addition, more than 1,400 individuals and foundations contributed funds to ensure the program's viability.
Tashi Chozom, Dawa Dolma, Jamyang Dorjee,Choying Drolma, Jane Farmer, Dolma Kyap, Dachen Kyaping, Losang Rabgey, Sonam Tashi, Geshe Lobsang Tenzin, Sonam Tenzing, Tenzin Thokme, Penpa Tsering, Topgyal Tsering, Ganzey Tshering

Mohammed Yusuf Bhutia, traditional hat maker, Kalimpong, India

Tashi Dolma, traditional apron weaver, Dharamsala, India

Samdup Dhargyal, carpet weaver, New York

Awang Dorjee, stone carver, Dharamsala, India

Kelsang Dorjee, sculptor, mask maker, painter, Dharamsala, India

Penpa Dorjee, sculptor, metal worker, Dharamsala, India

Ven. Yeshi Dorjee, thangka painter, Rowland Heights, California

Ven. Sangey Hishey, thangka painter, Dharamsala, India

Ven. Samten Jigme, doll maker, Dharamsala, India

Samten Lama, paper maker, Kathmandu, Nepal

Chhiring Yuden Lamini, traditional weaver, Kathmandu, Nepal

Norbu, woodcarver, Dharamsala, India

Tsering Norbu, incense maker, Panipat, India

Pekar, sculptor, painter, Dharamsala, India

Choe Phuntsok, sculptor, woodcarver, Dharamsala, India

Nimto Sherpa, paper maker, Kathmandu, Nepal

Soga, craftsperson, religious implements, Dehra Dun, India

Thanley, tailor, Dharamsala, India

Ven. Hishey Thomey, tailor, Dharamsala, India

Topey, nomadic skills, craftsperson, Ladakh, India

Lekshek Tsering, printer, wood-block carver, Tashijong, India

Penpa Tsering, sculptor, metalworker, Dharamsala, India

Ven. Phuntsok Tsering, appliqué thangka tailor, Dharamsala, India

Tsering Tsomo, nomadic skills, craftsperson, Ladakh, India

Lobsang Yarphel, carpet weaver, yarn maker, Kathmandu, Nepal


Pema Rabgey, traditional Tibetan cook, Seattle, Washington


Dawa Dolma, Doctor of Tibetan Medicine, Dharamsala, India

Jhurme, religious storyteller, Dehra Dun, India

Tashi Lhamo, Doctor of Tibetan Medicine, Dharamsala, India

Phurbu Tsering, traditional Tibetan astrologer, Dharamsala, India

Ngawang Choedak Zingshuk, calligrapher, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, India


Loten Namling, musician, singer, Utzigen, Switzerland

Bylakuppe Lhamo (Opera) Troupe -- Bylakuppe Lhamo (Opera) TroupeThinlay Gonpo, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaNamgyal Chonzom, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaLobsang Gyatso, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaLhagoe, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaNamdol, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaNgudup, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaThupten Pema, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaLhakpa Sichoe, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaSonam Tenzin, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaThupten, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaSonam Topgyal, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaDawa Tsamchoe, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaNamgyal Tseten, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaNamgyal Yangzom, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, IndiaPema Chodon Zomkey, Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, India

Chaksampa -- ChaksampaTashi Dhondup, Pacifica, CaliforniaTenzin Gonpo, Paris, FranceNyima Gyalpo, Berkeley, CaliforniaTsering Topgyal, Dharamsala, IndiaTenzin Wangdak, Brooklyn, New York

Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dharamsala, India -- Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dharamsala, IndiaTenzin Choedon, Dharamsala, IndiaLobsang Choephel, Dharamsala, IndiaTashi Dhargyal, Dharamsala, IndiaSamten Dhondup, Dharamsala, IndiaTashi Dhondup, Dharamsala, IndiaTseten Dolker, Dharamsala, IndiaNamgyal Dolma, Dharamsala, IndiaPhuntsok Dolma, Dharamsala, IndiaGombo Dorjee, Dharamsala, IndiaTsering Dorjee, Dharamsala, IndiaPassang Lhamo, Dharamsala, IndiaTseten Lhundup, Dharamsala, IndiaTsering Lodoe, Dharamsala, IndiaTenzin Ngedhen, Dharamsala, IndiaTenzin Ngawang, Dharamsala, IndiaTsering Paldon, Dharamsala, IndiaNgodup Paljor, Dharamsala, IndiaLobsang Samten, Dharamsala, IndiaTsewang, Dharamsala, India


H.H. Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Lobsang Nyima, Buddhist teacher, Drepung Monastery, India

Ven. Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen, Buddhist teacher, Frederick, Maryland

Sogyal Rinpoche, Buddhist teacher, France

Ven. Lama Pema Wangdak, Buddhist teacher, Cresskill, New Jersey

Namgyal Monastery, Dharamsala, India -- Namgyal Monastery, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Kalsang, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Kunchok, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Legmon, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Norbu, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Norgyal, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Phuntsok, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Samten, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Ngawang Tashi, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Thapkhey, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Ngawang Tsundu, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Tenzin Wangchuk, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Thupten Woesar, Dharamsala, India

Drepung Loseling Monastery, Atlanta, Georgia and Mungod, India -- Drepung Loseling Monastery, Atlanta, Georgia and Mungod, IndiaVen. Zangra TulkuVen. Lathing TulkuVen. Gangkar TulkuVen. Geshe Tsepak DorjeVen. Geshe Pema NorbuVen. Geshe Sonam DhondupVen. Geshe Yeshe ChodupVen. Geshe Dakpa KelsangVen. Geshe Thubten WangyalVen. Ngawang Tashi BapuVen. Geshe Thubten DorjeVen. Yeshe SherabVen. Geshe Dakpa TenzinVen. Geshe Thubten JamyangVen. Geshe Takpa JigmedVen. Geshe Thupten ChoejorVen. Agha Tenzin LegdupVen. Lobsang TsultrimVen. Tenzin LegdenVen. Lobsang TenzinVen. Phuntsok TsonduVen. Ngawang TsultrimVen. Thupten LobsangVen. Pema WangdenVen. Wangden TashiVen. Dondup TenzinVen. Kelsang DorjeVen. Lobsang PhurbuVen. Passang Gelek

Pal Shenten Menri Ling Bon Monastery -- Pal Shenten Menri Ling Bon MonasteryVen. Samdrup Dorji, Solan, IndiaChongtul Rinpoche, Solan, India

Tibetan Nuns Project, Shugsep Nunnery -- Tibetan Nuns Project, Shugsep NunneryVen. Ogyen Tsundu, Dharamsala, IndiaVen. Ogyen Dolma, Dharamsala, India
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Where a listening copy or viewing copy has been created, this is indicated in the respective inventory; additional materials may be accessible with sufficient advance notice and, in some cases, payment of a processing fee. Older papers are housed at a remote location and may require a minimum of three weeks' advance notice and payment of a retrieval fee. Certain formats such as multi-track audio recordings and EIAJ-1 videoreels (1/2 inch) may not be accessible. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 or for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright and other restrictions may apply. Generally, materials created during a Festival are covered by a release signed by each participant permitting their use for personal and educational purposes; materials created as part of the fieldwork leading to a Festival may be more restricted. We permit and encourage such personal and educational use of those materials provided digitally here, without special permissions. Use of any materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires a license from the Archives. Licensing fees may apply in addition to any processing fees.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2000 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
CFCH.SFF.2000, Series 4
See more items in:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2000 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections

MS 4832 Notes on the Khumbu and Pharak Regions, Solukhumbu District, Nepal

Cool, John C., 1926-  Search this
Bista, Dor Bahadur  Search this
6 Pages
Sherpa -- Shamanism  Search this
Sherpa -- Religion  Search this
Sherpa -- Government  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
May 4, 1966
Scope and Contents:
Observations on economic development, government and politics and religion and shamanism among the Sherpa communities, made during an 8-day trip.
Local Numbers:
NAA MS 4832
Local Note:
xerox copy of typescript document
Government and politics -- Sherpa  Search this
Religion -- Sherpa  Search this
Shamanism -- Sherpa  Search this
Nepal  Search this
Manuscript 4832, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

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