The Tibetan cultural zone

tibet_provinces-1 (c) 2017

Today’s Tibet appear as the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China on maps, and yet there are more than the TAR that can be called Tibet. The traditional Tibetan cultural zone is subdivided into three major regions, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region was traditionally Ü-Tsang, while the other two being Amdo, which is the current Qinghai Province of China, and Kham which is located at the west of Sichuan Province.

Geography shapes culture, and the three main regions of Tibet has been shaped into distinctive branches of the greater Tibetan culture due to unique terrains and locations. Ü-Tsang, locating at the back of the Himalayas and the height of the Tibetan plateau, has been the political and cultural center of the old Tibetan Empire, and has formed a agricultural-oriented culture where more  people tend to settle in villages, towns, and cities, which has made it possible for art, economy, and religion to flourish。

locating at the north of Ü-Tsang, Amdo or Qinghai has a less mild climate, and the vast land provides less to support human lives, and nomadic husbandry is more common here. people from the Amdo region are known for their generous and bright characteristics- their hearts are as vast as their homes.

The Kham region is much more colorful- grasslands, forests, green mountains; diversity is the word here. comes with the geographic diversity is the cultural diversity of Kham; unlike the solemn Ü-Tsang and the vast Amdo, Kham stands out for the fusion of cultures; Kham has been home to Tibetan people, Qiang people, Han people, and Hui Muslims for centuries, and they complement each others well.