Ending the year on a lighter note, High Peaks Pure Earth presents this English translation of an interesting Chinese language post that has been circulating on social media and apps such as WeChat recently.
The post lists 14 things that occurred first in Tibet! We’ve added some comments to provide some context to these claims, please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section.
A List of Tibetan “Firsts”
1) Invented Fast Food (Tsampa)
2) Invented Polo (In the 6th Century)
Fun fact, “polo” is one of the few words originating from Tibetan that has made its way into English, it’s even in the Oxford English Dictionary!
3) First to Breed Horses
4) Tibet held the first modelling competition (During the building of Samye Monastery in 779AD)
This is documented in the oldest Tibetan historical records, the Bazha (Sba bzhed). King Trisong Detsen and Guru Rinpoche decided to base the image of the statues in Samye monastery on native Tibetan models instead of Indian or Chinese models. The best youthful Tibetan men and women were summoned and models were selected.
5) Had the longest running dynastic rule
6) The earliest nation to cultivate cereals
Ah yes, barley has been in the news a lot lately! Read all about how barley was the key to human survival at high altitude: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/11/20/it-took-barley-for-humans-to-climb-the-mountains-of-tibet/
7) Tibet was the first nation to send students abroad
This refers to students sent to India by Tibetan Kings to study Buddhism. The Tibetan King Trisong Detsen sent Tibetan students to study in India in the 8th Century.
Also perhaps of interest to readers, just over a hundred years ago now, four Tibetan boys were sent to the UK for a modern education at Rugby school.
8) The first nation to construct an iron bridge
In the fourteenth century no less! Read more about the incredible Thangtong Gyalpo.
9) One of the earliest nations to decorate pottery
10) The first to hold eye surgery
11) The first to develop smelting technology
12) Has the biggest bronze statue (at Tashilhunpo Monastery)
13) Has the largest painting on cloth