keep an eye out when traveling to gyangze from lhasa because it's possible to come across mini festivals along the way. these colorful gatherings by the roadside can be anything from a religious celebration to a farming or trade fair. whatever they may be, stopping by and having a look is always a good way to immerse into the local culture.
so, if you have the time to spare, stop by and meet the locals!
The Tibetan game of "Sho" is a game similar to backgammon in which players throw dice to determine moves marked by a path of shells. It's very popular on the side streets of Gyangze. ("Sho" is the Tibetan word for the standard "dice" used in this game.)
You'll see a round yak leather pad used as a gaming table and old Chinese coins along with cowrie shells used as game pieces. The Tibetans get very animated when playing this game and I distinctively heard one fellow yell the Tibetan word "Ka-choo!" upon rolling the dice.
HOW TO PLAY
Spread the 64 shells in a loose circle around the round yak leather pad.
Each player gets 9 coins. (See additional photo)
- Each shell represents a space for players to move along. For example, if the Dalai Lama rolls a 7 he places his coin in the space after the seventh shell to make a space.
- The winner of the game is the player who first moves all his coins from the start position through and over to the other end of the shell circle.
- To roll the SHO (dice), place both dice in the wooden bowl forcefully down onto the center of the pad while covering the two dice in the process. The player who rolls the dice is not allowed to remove the cup over the dice themselves, the player next in line must do so.
- There are 3 basic moves a player can make during the game: 'place' 'kill' or 'add'. If he can kill or add a coin then he gets to roll the dice again. If he can only place a coin then his turn is over:
- PLACE; a player places his coin in an empty space. 2 players cannot occupy the same space.
- KILL; a player must land on a coin or coins of an opponent to kill. They must have at least the same number of coins or more than their opponent. The player who got killed has to start again from the beginning.
-ADD; a player must land on one of his own coins. The stack of coins are moved together as one, so it is to the player's advantage to add as many coins as possible to one stack. .
For more details on the rules of this Tibetan game, please see the link I provided below.
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In the big entrance hall of out hotel in Gyantze was an exhibition of traditional costumes. The colourful dresses were richily decorated and embroidered. They told us that, these dresses were only used for special occasions. That's why we didn't see any Tibetan, walking in the streets in such a costume. That was a pity, but by this exhibition we could get any idea of the local traditional clothes anyway.
Many houses have a cow in front of their door. That can become a messy business. But in Tibet the people use all the products of the animals. The menure is often dried and used as fuel, to warm the house or to cook.
But if you have many cows what to do? You can stack it on the wall around your yard like this family did...
These men are trading things just in the middle of the street at the busiest intersection in Gyangze. Because of the sewer works there is no traffic othere than bicycles and small cart drawn by donkeys.