Tibetan New Year is the biggest holiday in Tibet. This year 2016 in Western calendar is the year of Fire Monkey year 2143 in Tibetan Calendar. New Year holidays lasts 15 days from the first day to the 15th of the first month in the Tibetan Calendar. On the 15th, which is also a full moon day, is the Butter Sculpture Display Day or the Festival of Miracles Day. This is the day of celebration of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni’s victory over six Gurus in a contest of Miracles. In this special day, all the monasteries and villages across Tibetan Plateau carry out religious rituals to honor Lord Buddha. Families lit yak butter lamps and offer them in their home altars, while big major monasteries are displaying Yak Butter Sculptures to the pilgrims.
The Art of Yak Butter Sculptures is a unique art in Tibetan Buddhism and also a special ritual that began in 1409. Traditionally, monasteries display butter sculptures on the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year in hope that the Buddha will bring them good fortune in the upcoming year.
The colorful, delicate works are bas-reliefs mounted on hay, wooden board, sticks, etc. The topic of this form of art can be a story of the Buddha, deities, kings, legendary figures, animals and other folk or history heroes of Tibet.
The most famous Yak Butter Sculpture is from Kubmum Monastery in northeastern Amdo Tibet. There are two arts classes in this monastery and each make their best art and display it in the evening of 15th day of the first month (Yeserday, on the Feb 22nd, 2016 in western calendar).
After display to the public on the 15th day, then both of these sculptures will move into the sculpture hall of Kumbum Monastery and display there until on the 15th of next year.