Introduction to Himalayan Art

Definition: Himalayan 'Style' Art
Mission of the Himalayan Art Resources Website
HAR Services
Submitting Images
Copyright Information
Sign-up for Notification of Changes
Introduction: Essays & Articles
Art History: Essays & Articles
Photo Albums
Explorations For Kids!



Definition: Himalayan 'Style' Art

Himalayan 'Style' Art is art that is indigenous to the Himalayas, predominantly Tibet, Nepal and Kashmir, and the areas under the cultural sway of these cultures. Himalayan 'style' art is primarily concerned with religious subjects and is recognizable through the use of composition, symbols and motifs. Individual works of art are commonly created in sets forming much larger works of art.

Geographic Region of Himalayan 'Style' Art: The Himalayas include the Tibetan Plateau, Nepal, Kashmir, Bhutan and the northern most regions of India and Pakistan. The surrounding geographic regions where Himalayan style art is found are China, Mongolia, southern Siberia, Tuva, Buryatia and northern Burma, all of which are to the north and east of the Tibetan Plateau. Himalayan art is especially found throughout China. In the very center of China's capital city, Beijing, is Beihai a Himalayan style stupa and reliquary mound. Also, along the Pacific Ocean at locations such as Hangzhou south of Shanghai, Himalayan art from the Yuan period can be found in abundance.

Religion: Himalayan style art, characterized by Tibetan, Nepalese and Kashmiri religious culture, is generally sacred or religious in nature, drawn from the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon and various Tribal groups.

Artistic Features: The artistic style is best recognized through painting composition, accompanied by symbols and motifs unique to the individual Himalayan regions, as well as from artistic and cultural exchange with other great neighboring civilizations. Painting and sculpture sets are a unique feature of Himalayan art; many art objects are created as a much larger whole in effect a very large work of art with many individual parts.




The mission of the Himalayan Art Resources website (HAR) is to create a comprehensive education and research database and virtual museum of Himalayan art:

First, the website exhibits images of art from museum, university and private collections throughout the world.

Second, the website documents all Himalayan art objects that are known through past or present collections or publications.

Third, the database identifies and catalogues all images (comprised of painting, sculpture, ritual objects, murals, etc.). When an object image is not available for lack of permission from the copyright holder, the database uses a place card image. Book cover images are used for publications and generic place cards for collections.



Submitting Images

Museums, institutions and private collectors of Himalayan art are invited, and encouraged, to submit images for cataloguing and display.

To submit an image for consideration, please send a digitized image, by e-mail or CD, preferrably 1000 dpi in size. Additionally, you must submit a written statement attesting to your ownership of either the object itself or the rights to the image being submitted.



Copyright Information

Materials and Content: Text and graphic images made available on the Himalayan Art Resources website, created to provide an educational resource to the public, are the property of the Himalayan Art Resources Inc., a not-for-profit 501 C 3 registered charitable corporation, unless otherwise noted, and are protected by copyright. The reproduction, redistribution and/or exploitation of any materials and/or content (data, text, images, marks or logos) for personal or commercial gain is not permitted. Provided the source is cited, personal, educational and non-commercial use (as defined by fair use in US copyright law) is permitted.

All parties using, printing or downloading the materials and/or content of the Himalayan Art Resources website in any manner, represent and warrant (1) that they understand and will observe the limitations on the use of the materials and/or content; and (2) that they will not infringe or violate the rights of any other party.



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Introduction: Essays & Articles

Maps of Enlightenment
by James Shaheen

A Virtual Museum: Himalayan Art Resources
by Barry Boyc

Virtual Treasures: The Himalayan Art Project to the rescue
by Joan Duncan Oliver

Buddhist Artifacts as the Support of Spiritual Realization
by Tulku Thondup

Tibetan Religious Thangkas and their Religious Significance
by Tulku Thondup

Visual Dharma: The Buddhist Art of Tibet by Chogyam
by Trungpa Rinpoche



Art History: Essays & Articles

The Development and Symbolism of Tibetan Buddhist Art and Iconography
by Peter Della Santina

Painting Styles in the Rubin Collection: Identifications and Clarifications
by David Jackson

Myth and Symbolism
by Peter Della Santina

The Identification of Individual Teachers in Paintings of Sa-skya-pa Lineages by D.P. Jackson



Photo Albums

Tibet in black and white: The images presented here reflect aspects of journeys in 1990 and 2002 by Matthew T. Kapstein.

Chortens in Amdo: A Photographic Album
by Rob Linrothe

The Great Applique Tangka of Drepung Monastery a photo essay
by Nancy Jo Johnson

Historical Photographs of Tibet primarily made by Sonam Gyatso Thartse Khen Rinpoche (1930-1988)

Recent Photos of Tibet Ancient sites in Tibet and the Himalayas
by Michael Katz

Images of Kham Photos from the 1990's of the monasteries, people and landscape of Eastern Tibet by Joseph Duane

Shalu Association Photographs documenting conservation and restoration projects in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)