Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Pilgrimage Art Main Page (Tourist & Souvenir Art)

Pilgrimage Art (Tourist & Souvenir Art) | Painting: Confusions & Controversies

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Pilgrimage Art Description (below)
- Pilgrimage Outline Page
- Holy Mountains & Sacred Sites
- Cityscapes
- Depictions of the Lhasa Jowo
- Shakyamuni Buddha: Stone Model
- Bodhgaya Temple Model
- Pilgrimage Paintings for Newar Merchants
- Temple Shop Art
- Confusions
- Others...

Art as commodity was known in Tibet for the last several hundred years with paintings produced in advance for sale to pilgrims and traders traveling to Tibet from India, Nepal, China and Mongolia. In Tibet the market places of Lhasa and Shigatse were the primary sources for such paintings and objects of general consumption. In China, pilgrimage art was mainly sold in and around the entrances to temples and monasteries. The quality of such art ranges widely from very good to very, very, bad. The poorest being the Temple Shop Art where accuracy of subject and figures just didn't matter.

In general, Pilgrimage Art can vary in quality from very good to very poor. Often the best of the quality is found with the paintings made for the Newar (Nepalese) merchants travelling back and forth from Kathmandu to Shigatse and Lhasa.

Jeff Watt 3-2015 [updated 6-2017]

(Please see the excellent and thorough article Tibetan tourist thangkas in the Kathmandu Valley by Yael Bentor, December 1993).

(The images below are only a small selection chosen from the links above).