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Compass Directions

Nothing Should Be Taken for Granted
Since the beginning of Chinese and European cartography, we are used to the fact that maps, as well as other images, show the direction North at the top. This is, however, not as universal a practice as one would think; at least the Tibetan culture does not do so!

Common View

Tibetan View

It must be said, to avoid any misunderstanding, that also Tibetan North points to the so-called North Pole. In all representations, however - such as mandalas and thangkas - that very same North is shown at the right side of the image.