Himalayan Art Resources

HAR: Jeff Watt - Profile

Jeff Watt | HAR: About Us

- Himalayan Art Resources: Executive Director
- Zhiguan Museum, Beijing: Director & Chief Curator
- Sichuan University, CTS, SCU, Chengdu: Visiting Professor
- Oxford University, Oriental Institute: Guest Lecturer
- Tibet Thangka Research Center, Lhasa: Vice President
- Tibet Thangka Painting Academy, Lhasa: Associate Dean
- Expert Committee of China International Thangka Art Festival, Lhasa: Deputy Director

Jeff Watt (Wikipedia), one of the leading scholars of Himalayan art, acquired his prodigious knowledge of Buddhist, Bon and Hindu iconography from a longtime study of Buddhism and Tantra. As a teenager, he studied with Dezhung Rinpoche (Seattle, Wash.) and Sakya Trizin (Dehradun, India), dropping out of school at seventeen to take monastic vows from the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. For the next eleven years, Watt trained intensively in India, Canada and the U.S., with teachers such as Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, and Sakya Jetsun Chimey. In 1985 he gave back his monastic ordinations but continued to study and to translate sacred Tibetan and Sanskrit texts, along with completing numerous traditional retreats over years of periodic isolated practice, much of it in the rugged mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

He is the Director and Chief Curator of Himalayan Art Resources (HAR), a website and 'virtual museum' featuring upwards of 100,000 images with detailed descriptions, making it the most comprehensive resource for Himalayan 'style' art and iconography in the world. He has worked on HAR since April 1998 at which time there were 625 images in total (Tibetan paintings only).

As of May 1st 2015, under Watt's leadership HAR established itself as a not-for-profit 501 c 3 registered corporation, Himalayan Art Resources Inc., in the state of Delaware, USA. HAR from the beginning was a project made possible by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. From 1997 until April 30th 2015 HAR was solely funded by the Rubin Foundation. As of May 1st 2015 the new corporation and its Board of Directors assumed full responsibility of HAR with Watt remaining as the Director and Chief Curator.

Watt was also the founding Curator and leading scholar at the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) in New York City, from October 1999 until October 2007. The RMA houses one of the largest collections of Himalayan and Tibetan art in North America which is currently the best catalogued. The HAR website has been the primary curatorial tool for cataloguing and mounting all Himalayan exhibitions at the RMA. (See exhibition & publication list below).

During his tenure as Senior Curator at the RMA he built the collection from a personal founder driven collection into a world class museum collection with some of the finest examples of Himalayan Art comparable to the best museums in the world. The Jourdan-Barry Collection was the single largest purchase (2005) with over 72 works of sculpture, many of which are on permanent display at the RMA. (See other examples below).

- Unpublished Manuscripts & Translations List (1984 - present).
- Sakya Resource Guide Website (1996 - 2019).
- Himalayan Art Resources Website (1998 - present).
- Labor Arts Website (2001).
- Female Buddhas, Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mystical Art, Glenn Mullin & Jeff Watt (2001).
- Rubin Museum of Art Website (HAR Team, 2004).
- 'Turning A Blind Eye' (Orientations, June 2004, pp. 73-74). Rob Linrothe, Christian Luczanits & Jeff Watt.
- Demonic Divine, Rob Linrothe & Jeff Watt (2004).
- The Biography of Gaton Ngagwang Legpa Rinpoche. Treasury of Lives. New York, 2007 (manuscript 1997).
- Bon: The Magic Word, Samten Karmey & Jeff Watt (2007).
- Mandala, Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, Ed. Martin Brauen. (18 articles by Jeff Watt, RMA 2009).
- The Sakya Tradition: A Brief Overview. (Bodhi Magazine. Vol.10, no.3, Fall 2009).
- A Preliminary Survey of the Art and Iconography of Ling Gesar - A Tibetan Culture Hero. Jeff J. Watt, pages 174-197. From the Treasury of Tibetan Pictorial Art: Painted Scrolls of the Life of Gesar. Sichuan Museum. Editor, Zhang Changhong. June 2012. ISBN 978-7-101-08513-6.
- Online: Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Tricycle Magazine Blog Posts, (60 short articles), 2012-13.
- Approaching Buddhist Sculpture. 'Returning Relics From Oversea.' Essay & thirteen articles. Beijing, 2013.
- A Highly Important Imperial Embroidered Silk Thangka. 'Rakta Yamari: An Introduction.' Christies, HK. Fall 2014.
- 'Avalokiteshvara Gaganaraja.' Christies HK, Fall Cat., 2015.
- 'Embodying Enlightenment: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas' J. Watt and W. Arader, 2015.
- 'The Power of Silence' Beijing Culture and Art Centre, Jeff Watt, 2016.
- 'Holy Garze Into Shanghai.' Shanghai Art Association, Jeff Watt, 2016.
- 'A Brief Survey of a Large Collection of Paintings.' The Jongen-Schleiper Collection, Bonhams Cat., NY, Spring 2017.
- 'Tibetan Contemporary Painting: Symbolic Art,' Han Art Center, 2017.
- 'A Selection of Nyingjei Lam Sculpture' (Sothebys Catalogue, Hong Kong, September 2017).
- 'The Four Things to Know About Himalayan Art: Painting' Beijing, 2017
- Bon Painting and Iconography: An Overview of Subjects with an Introduction to Special Symbols and Characteristics. The Richard R. & Magdalena Ernst Collection of Himalayan Art. Sothebys Auction Catalogue, New York, March 2018.
- Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art, A Selection of Masterworks. Introduction to Art, October 2018.
- Forthcoming: 'Painting Curriculum Textbook', J.Watt, Sichuan University CTS, SCU, 2018.

- Female Buddhas, Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mystical Art, Glenn Mullin, Jeff Watt (Atlanta 2001)
- Demonic Divine, Rob Linrothe & Jeff Watt (New York 2004, Phoenix AZ 2005)
- RMA Opening Exhibitions, (New York 2004)
- Female Buddhas, Women of Enlightenment in Himalayan Art, Jeff Watt, Tenzin Dharlo, Monty McKeever (New York 2005, Connecticut 2005, Dallas Tx 2006)
- 'What Is It?' Concept & object selection, Jeff Watt & Tenzin Dharlo (New York 2005)
- 'Karmapa, The Black Hat Lama of Tibet.' Jeff Watt & Tenzin Dharlo (New York 2005)
- 'Dalai Lama.' Jeff Watt & Tenzin Dharlo (New York 2005)
- Wutaishan, Pilgrimage to the Five Peaked Mountain Jeff Watt & Karl Debreczeny (New York 2007)
- Bon: The Magic Word Jeff Watt & Samten Karmey (New York 2007)
- Big Himalayan Art (New York 2007, Dallas 2008)
- From the Land of the Gods: Art of the - Kathmandu Valley, David Pritzker under the Direction of Jeff Watt (New York 2008)
- Red, Black & Gold, David Pritzker under the Direction of Jeff Watt (New York 2008)
- Tibet House Repatriation Collection Exhibition, Honoring Jack & Murial Zimmerman, Jeff Watt (New York 2008)
- 'Embodying Enlightenment: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas.' J. Watt & W. Arader, University of Tennessee, 2015.
- 'The Power of Silence.' Beijing Culture and Art Centre, Jeff Watt, 2016.
- 'Holy Garze Into Shanghai.' Shanghai Exhibition Center, J. Watt, 2016.

Articles About Himalayan Art Resources:
- Maps of Enlightenment by James Shaheen
- A Virtual Museum: Himalayan Art Resources by Barry Boyce
- Virtual Treasures by Joan Duncan
- A Virtual Museum of Himalayan Art. Orientations, April 2004, by Kathryn Selig Brown

RMA: How or Why an Object was Acquired

[Updated 12-2017]