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Culture of Tibet


Admission requirements



An introduction to the culture of Tibet, past and present. By highlighting five key figures of the ancient and recent history of the ‘Land of Snows’ important aspects of Tibetan culture will be concretized. Also themes such as art and material culture, pilgrimage, the position of women, and Tibetan medicine will be focused on. The course offers an analytical sketch of the traditional forms and modern shapes of Tibetan culture.

Themes of the lectures:

  1. Tibet: Introduction
    1. Landscape and History
    2. Tibet, Tibetans, and Tibetan Culture Today
    3. Art: Styles / Periods / Regions / Symbolism
    4. Architecture and the World of the Monastery
    5. The Greatest Yogi (Mila Repa, 1040-1123)
    6. The Scholar Reincarnation from Eastern Tibet (Situ Panchen, 1699?-1774)
    7. The Lama-Rebel (Gedün Chöphel, 1903-1951)
    8. The Power of Woman (present Dorje Phagmo Reincarnation)
    9. The Smiling Face of Tibet (14th Dalai Lama, born 1935)
    10. Sacred Sites, Pilgrimage and Sacral Geography
    11. The Art of Healing

Course objectives

  • Fundamental knowledge of the historic and present-day developments in Tibetan culture.

  • Fundamental knowledge of the various forms of expression (literature, art and material culture, performing arts, folklore, etc.) of Tibetan culture.



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load (5 EC): 140 hours:

  • attending lectures (ca. 25 hours)

  • preparation for the lectures (ca. 50 hours)

  • writing the midterm paper (25 hours)

  • preparation for the exam (ca. 40 hours).

Assessment method

  • Mid-term paper (on a topic from a list provided at the beginning of the course): 30%

  • Final exam (open questions): 70%
    Re-sit 70% (over final exam)

A resit exam is possible only if the student participated in the first written exam and received an overall mark for the entire course of “5.45” or lower.
The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.



Reading list

  • Kapstein, M.T. (2006). The Tibetans. Malden / Oxford / Carlton: Blackwell Publishing (series: The Peoples of Asia, Gen. Ed. M. Rossabi).

  • Lopez, D.S., jr. (1998). Prisoners of Shangri-La. Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Chicago-London: University of Chicago Press.

  • Fisher, R.E. (1997). Art of Tibet. London: Thames and Hudson (series: World of Art).

Further literature will be supplied in electronic form during the course.


Registration via uSis is obligatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. P.C.Verhagen