Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(self-designation, Pöba), a people; the native population of Tibet. Almost all Tibetans live in China (in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the provinces of Kansu, Tsinghai, Szechwan, and Yunnan); some, however, live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In addition to the above self-designation, the name Amdoba is used in Tsinghai, and the names Kambe and khampa are used in Szechwan and neighboring areas of Tibet. The Tibetans number approximately 4.5 million (1975, estimate). They speak regional dialects of the Tibetan language. Their main religion is Lamaism, a northern manifestation of Buddhism; it has several sects, the most important of which is the Gelugpa, or Yellow Hat, sect.

Tibetans can be grouped by occupation into settled mountain farmers (more than one-half the population), whose main crops are barley, wheat, and rice; seminomadic farmers and herdsmen; and nomadic herdsmen. The main livestock animals are the yak, horse, sheep, and goat. Certain trades, such as pottery, weaving, and metalworking, are well developed. Small industrial enterprises first appeared in the mid–20th century. The settled Tibetans live primarily in stone houses, the lower storey being for livestock and the upper for people. Those living in the eastern highlands live in clay houses, and those in the northeast, in wooden houses. The nomads live in woolen tents.

The main food of the Tibetans, known as rtsam-pa, is made with brick tea, butter, salt, and barley flour. Meat and dairy products are the main foods of the herdsmen. The traditional clothing of men and women is the shuba, a long coat with a high collar and long sleeves; the coat is made of cloth for summer wear and sheepskin for winter wear. Until the early 1960’s, Tibetan society was divided into two classes, the feudal lords, who constituted 5 percent of the population, and the peasants. Class distinctions were less pronounced among the herdsmen. Both polyandry and polygyny were practiced.


Narody Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Reshetov, A. M., and A. G. Iakovlev. “K voprosu o sotsial’no-ekonomicheskikh otnosheniiakh u tibettsev v pervoi polovine XX v.” In Sotsial’naia istoriia narodov Azii. Moscow, 1975.
Snellgrove, D. L., and H. E. Richardson. A Cultural History of Tibet. London, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As a part of the campaign, a five-member delegation, led by Tibetan Parliament member Youdon Aukatsang, met senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi at his residence to express the gratitude of the Tibetan people to the successive governments and people of India for their generous support and sympathy to the cause of Tibet for more than five decades.
They made a stop at National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, where several participants prostrated themselves on the ground -- a Tibetan praying technique -- to remind the world that more than 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest Chinese repression.
Pressure is increasing on Tibetans living in Nepal as the influence of Beijing in the Himalayan region grows.
The Agendas of Tibetan Refugees: Survival Strategies of a Government-in-Exile in a World of Transnational Organizations
Post-Buddhism is a term of my invention that covers various re-appropriations of Buddhist narratives in Asian diasporas in general, and in the Tibetan diaspora in particular, applied to literary contexts that are not strictly Buddhist, soteriological or even religious.
There are nearly 2 lakh Tibetans in India and around 48,000 would be eligible for voting rights.
The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment.
India has been helping Tibetans with their struggle to settle scores with its traditional rival China.
It vilifies the Dalai Lama as a separatist and derides his quest for autonomy for Tibetans.
There has been a recent surge of self-immolations among Tibetans across China.
BEIJING -- An overseas Tibetan rights group says an ex-monk has set himself on fire, becoming the 100th Tibetan to self-immolate in China since 2009 in protest of the Chinese rule.
SRyNAGAR (CyHAN)- Hundreds of Tibetan Immigrants gathered on the streets of Jammu today to appeal to Indian Government to support them against Chinese oppression in Tibet.