Foto: Bechert/Hauber

until 15 | 03 | 2015
Tibet – Nomads at Risk

Located in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, the Tibetan cultural region covers an area about seven times as large as Germany. Today, the Tibet Autonomous Region claims about half of this territory. After the Chinese army had invaded Tibet in 1949/1950, it was established as an administrative unit in 1965. Most occupied regions in the eastern parts of Tibet were incorporated into chinese provinces.

Tibet is one of the highest inhabited regions of the world, with an average altitude of 4,600 meters. Due to the altitude the cultivation of grains is not possible in all places. In these regions of Tibet, the people have perfectly adapted their lifestyle to the harsh environment. As nomadic cattle herders they rely on the products of their animals. Moving their encampments several times a year the nomads roam the Tibetan grasslands with their yaks, sheep and goats.

Today, there are still living about two million people as nomads in Tibet. Besides numerous cultural similarities in their lifestyle and mode of production the various nomadic groups display also some regional differences.

In the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Chinese provinces with Tibetan inhabitants, the nomads were able to avoid state control better than others and preserved many elements of their culture.

The Chinese government has been following a policy of forced settlement since 2006. All Tibetans nomads are supposed to live in so-called “socialist villages” by the year 2015. Thus, the traditions of the Tibetan nomads reaching back centuries are now threatened to disappear forever.

The exhibition shows the life, the traditions and today’s threat of Tibetan nomads with photos of different photographers, supplemented by objects from the everyday life and ritual objects from the Tibetan collection of the museum.