What an uplifting article in yesterdays New York Times (NYT) - Seeking the 'Eye' for Art'.
Have you ever thought to yourself about how some Himalayan style paintings look better than others, that some sculpture are better formed, or more naturalistic? The Himalayan Art Resources Team (HAR) have been working very hard over these many years to exhibit as much art as possible, as many collections as possible, institutional and private. We also believe very strongly in accurate iconographic identifications, tradition and lineage affiliations, and use of original textual sources in cataloguing. Also, recognizing a need in the past few years, many new pages have been added to the HAR site which deal with connoisseurship and the actual looking at art (preferrably real art rather than just an image on a screen, but an image on a screen is at least a start and available to all). See the Masterworks Pages on HAR: Chakrasamvara Masterworks, Panjarnata Mahakala Masterworks, Karmapa Masterworks, etc.
As for the NYT article, we also agree that in the field of Himalayan and Tibetan art studies, the art has been hijacked by other academic disciplines such as Religious Studies (and the study of iconography), Anthropology and Ethnography. The art itself has become relagated to being mere data and props for the discussion of ideas and theories. As the NYT article says "data versus connoisseurship". This article is a wake up call, timely and refreshing.
(See post on the Tricycle Magazine Blog site).