Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Hats of the Himalayas Main Page

Glossary: Hats of the Himalayas

[1] Pandita Style

[2] Lotus Style

[3] Fan-like Style

[4] Cap Style

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Hats of the Himalayas Explanation (below)
- Religious Traditions Hats
- Glossary: Hats of the Himalayas
- Black Hats
- Miscellaneous Hats
- Gifts of the Yongle Emperor
- Eye Coverings
- Dance Hats, Aprons & Costumes
- Initiation Crown
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Hats are one of the most unique and interesting features of Himalayan and Tibetan art. They are also the most important characteristic to look for when trying to identify religious teachers and traditions in painting and sculpture. All of the different religious traditions, both Buddhist and Bon, have their own distinctive hats. There is an almost endless variety of colours, shapes and styles. For the novice iconographer and student of religious traditions the hats can be easily separated into four basic styles: pandita, lotus, fan-like and cap style.

It is very important to remember that all of these hats represented in painting and sculpture are merely artistic interpretations. The the shapes, sizes and specific decorations of hats in art may not reflect exactly the real hats of the past or present. An interesting example is the black hat of the Karmapas which appears different one from the other depending on century and artistic style. The same applies for all of the other styles and shapes of hats.

Jeff Watt 8-2012 [updated 6-2017, 4-2020]