What to Look for in Vintage Tibetan Crafts

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What to Look for in Vintage Tibetan Crafts

Tibetan crafts reflect the rich history and culture of the country in the north-east of the Himalayas. Many of the crafts relate to Tibetan Buddhism, which is an important part of the local culture. Exquisite vintage jewellery, bowls, rugs, and artwork offer an Eastern influence distinguished by its beautiful design and skilful craftsmanship.


Vintage Tibetan Jewellery

Vintage Tibetan jewellery is made of precious metal, as well as wood and bone. Many necklaces, bracelets, and rings include traditional Buddhist symbols worked into the design. Delicate Tibetan charms shaped like keys, moons, owls, and dragons dangle from fine chains. Traditional handmade beaded bracelets feature coloured yak-bone balls interwoven with silver beads that display the skill of the Tibetan artisans of the past.


Vintage Tibetan Bowls

Vintage Tibetan singing bowls are traditionally used for meditation and sound healing. They elicit rich tones when struck or rubbed with a soft mallet. Vintage items are handmade from a variety of metals using a hammering technique. These bowls feature unique designs and offer a wide variety of resonant, deep sounds. Buyers looking for authentic vintage bowls can identify the newer versions made by machine because they are typically cast and come in colourful designs.


Vintage Tibetan Rugs

Vintage Tibetan rugs have a long-standing tradition in the country. Classic rugs are made from highland sheep wool. These robust rugs were originally used for floor coverings, wall decoration, and horse saddles, as well as prayers and meditation. Vintage rugs are recognisable because their knotting method exists only in Tibet. Geometrical designs in rich colours feature additional accents, such as dharma wheels, crouching tigers, and fortune symbols.


Vintage Tibetan Lanterns

Vintage Tibetan lanterns are more difficult to find as they are delicate items made of cotton and latka paper, which comes from the Daphne shrub in Nepal. The fine texture and colourful designs recall the traditional Tibet Lantern Festival held in January. Handmade vintage lanterns appear in several shapes, with designs that include Sanskrit symbols. The original colours featured deep blue, green, red, purple, and gold.


Vintage Tibetan Thangkas

Vintage Tibetan thangkas feature painted, embroidered, or appliqued designs on cotton or silk. These images of Buddhist deities, landscapes, or mandalas are sometimes referred to as scroll paintings. Artists created thangkas to teach Buddhism, and some versions also depict historical events and myths. Each vintage work displays the craftsmanship of the artist, who had to complete extensive training regarding the symbolism of the designs. Collectors who wish to display their vintage thangkas can look for items with wooden rods that allow the pieces to hang from the wall.

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