Himalayan VOICES High Himalaya FORUM Himalayan Heritage  
 > Art, Crafts & Architecture
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The Himalayan communities have a wealth of traditional art forms and crafts, that include thangka painting, wood carving, carpet weaving, and traditional music and dances. These art and craft forms follow a distinct Himalayan style, characterized by Tibetan, Nepali and Kashmiri religious cultures and span the areas under the sway of these particular cultures. Himalayan style art is generally religio-aesthetic in nature, and comprises of iconography, composition, symbols and motifs drawn from the forms of religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.

The Himalayan crafts are a product of the available resources, climatic conditions and terrain of the Himalayas. The seclusion of the region and the severe winters allowed considerable time for crafts. Most crafts also served certain functions, for clothing, food, and various social, cultural and spiritual traditions, and the isolation of the Himalayan worlds necessitated self-reliance in their production. Many Himalayan communities therefore developed superior craftsmanship- in bamboo & wood carving, silver and gold articles, weaving of shawls, carpets and rugs. The abundantly available Himalayan resources, such as bamboo and The Arts & Crafts database in this section is a compilation of various Himalayan arts & crafts and their distinctive features. These arts and crafts find use in the Costumes & Ornaments, Music & Dance and the Material Culture of the Himalayas as well, and documentation on these aspects has been presented in the respective databases.

As with other aspects, geography, geology and climate, apart from lifestyle and aesthetic considerations, play a big role in the architectural styles that have evolved in this region. The flat-roofed, earthen structures of the western Himalayas and the higher altitudes, the multi-storied timber constructions of the mid-altitude ranges in the central and eastern Himalayas, are attuned to the materials, the climate, as well as the religio-aesthetic and lifestyle considerations of the region. The Architecture database presents material on the various architecture styles and patterns to be found in the Himalayas.

The traditional food of a community is closely linked to its identity and agro-ecology. The food culture of the Himalayan region is a fusion of the Chinese food culture in the north and that of the Indian plains to the south. It varies with cropping patterns and hence with altitude and latitude, although vegetarianism is dependent on the prevalent religion. In the higher altitudes, the variety of food available is limited, and a lot of dried and fermented foods are used as the cropping season is limited; the crops that are feasible to be grown are also limited because of the agro-ecological conditions. In lower altitudes, the food culture has much greater variety of fresh foods. The Himalayan Foods database allows a glimpse into the food culture prevalent in the Himalayas...

Art & Crafts

Costumes & Ornaments

Architecture of the Himalayas

Material culture of the Himalayas

Music & Dance, including musical instruments