Sunday, December 6, 2009

Important Site Address Change

Please change your link or bookmark to the new Himalayan Art Resources News Page ( This HAR Google Blog site is no longer being supported because it cannot be accessed in all parts of the world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Secrets of Shangri-La: Quest for Sacred Caves

If you have access to North American Television please tune in to PBS, November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La.

In the summer of 2008, Jeff Watt, Director and Chief Curator of Himalayan Art Resources, spent a month in the Mustang Region of Nepal with a National Geographic sponsored film crew to investigate previously inaccessible caves filled with ancient artifacts, texts, and Buddhist and Bon cave murals. The cave murals were primarily Buddhist in origin and span the 14th to 16th centuries.

In one cave complex called Mardzong, just south of the town of Lo Monthang, a stash of 14th and 15th century manuscripts were discovered in the upper chambers; after collating, amounting to thirty large Tibetan volumes. Predominantly belonging to the Bon religion, the remaining texts were Buddhist and many of them relating to the Sakya system of Lamdre (the Path Together with the Result).

Mustang is one of the last remaining Buddhist Kingdoms in the world, although also containing a smattering of Bon communities. Two of the main temples in the capital walled town of Lo Monthang, in Upper Mustang, are a treasure of murals in the tradition of the great Tibetan murals of Gyantse, Shalu and Sakya. For Sakya Art History, Lo Monthang is equally important for the study of mandalas and the Tantric systems of Maha Vairochana and Sarvavid Vairochana, along with the visual culture of other Yoga Tantra systems.

Secrets of Shangri-La: Quest for Sacred Caves

"Tune in to PBS November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La ( To see a trailer for the program, go to:"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The Walters Art Museum presents the contemporary works of Amita Bhatt in dialog with tantric art from the John and Berthe Ford Collection.

The Walters Art Museum is proud to present selected works from the John and Berthe Ford collection of traditional Indian and Himalayan art in visual dialogue with contemporary paintings by India born artist, Amita Bhatt. Bhatt derives her imagery from Hindu and Buddhist Tantric sources infused with her understanding of Western philosophy. She explores classic themes of desire, conflict, struggle and transcendence as they manifest themselves in the present day. This thought provoking installation recognizes the power of visual expressions to articulate, to mobilize, to activate, and to provoke. Informed by tradition but speaking in the present, Bhatt’s works explore fundamental struggles and eternal tensions common to all cultures. The show will run from October 31st through December 13th, 2009.

Walters Art Museum, 600 N Charles St.,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: 410-547-9000 Email:

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Chinese Government & Google Blogs

The Chinese Government and Google have a dispute over which news feeds Google provides over its internet Blog service. Subsequently Google Blogs, which the HAR website uses, are blocked in China.

There are too many people in China using the HAR site to have it hobbled by international politics. The HAR team has already come up with some ideas for changing the blog. One suggestion was to move to a Coldfusion blog application, completely stable and free. The only problem is we have to implement it. It is not exactly right out of the box. We will look at several different options before deciding on a remedy. This blog accessibility problem will be a priority for the next few weeks.

Wutaishan Mountain: Unidentified Manjushri Forms

There are two examples given below of unidentified forms of Manjushri. These are only two of many unidentified forms found on Wutaishan Mountain.

The first found in the Golden Temple, frequented by Chogyal Pagpa in the 13th century, has one face and two hands and rides atop a lion. What is unique about the form is the right hand holding an utpala stem and the left extended across the left knee with the left leg pendant.

The second form, found in a building in front and below the Golden Temple, is a very large sculpture with eleven faces and one thousand hands, seated in a Western style atop a lion. Is there a Sanskrit or a Tibetan source text for these two unique forms of Manjushri? Are the forms possibly of a Chinese origin and inspiration?

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Rare Form of Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava as Guru Dupung Zilnon (gu ru bdud dpung zil gnon) is possibly related to the Vajrakilaya practices of Longchenpa called Purba Dupung Zilnon (phurba bdud dpung zil gnon). Note the unique form of the posture with the right hand holding a vajra extended outward to the side in a gesture of blessing above the heads of demons. The left hand holds a purba peg extended outward to the side and pointing downward subduing the demons below.

This extremely fine painting can be dated stylistically to the early 19th century and created in a Kham-dri style similar to the Khampa Gar painters of that time. It is not clear from the inscription on the back of the brocade (top), or the iconographic subject on the front, if the painting is a single composition or part of a related series (set) of paintings. Although one other painting with a different iconographic subject but the same stylistic elements, brush strokes and colour palette has been identified.

Milarepa Life Story Paintings

Two more Milarepa life story paintings have come to light. These two paintings belong to the same set as HAR #66417 and are part of a nineteen painting set. The composition of these paintings is also the same as the famous Stockholm nineteen painting set. The two new images will be uploaded to the HAR site in the near future along with detail images of the inscriptions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Milarepa: Another Image

The image here is a detail from a Drugpa Kagyu composition with Naropa as the large central figure and Marpa Chokyi Lodro in front. To the right side is a very small figure of Milarepa seated on a deerskin appearing to float on the water.

What is interesting about the form is the over-all relaxed posture, white clothing wrapped fully around the body and the right knee slightly raised with feet visible.

Is this Milarepa depiction related to, or derivative of, the Milarepa forms posted in previous news entries?

See the Two Previous Posts:
- Four Milarepa Paintings
- Four Milarepa Paintings and One Sculpture

Densatil Sculpture and the Capital Museum, Beijing, China

The Capital Museum houses one of the best collections of Densatil sculptures available. Densatil sculptures originate generally from the Densatil Monastery (or surrounding monasteries where the artists also worked) founded by Pagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo, one of the four principal students of Gampopa, in turn the student of Milarepa. Many of these sculptures, now in museums spread around the world, were used to decorate the stupa, or reliquary, containing the mortal remains of Pagmodrupa.

Densatil Resources:
Capital Museum, Beijing, China - website
Capital Museum sculpture on the HAR site
Densatil Page, HAR site
Beijing Quick Guide Outline

Golden Buddhas from Tibet, Reconstruction of the Fa├žade of a Stupa from Densathil
History of the Drigung Kagyu with reference to Densatil

Densatil Images:
Images 1
Images 2
Images 3
Images 4

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Exhibition: The Path of Buddha

The Path of Buddha: Tokyo National Museum, Friday, July 27, 2007 - Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"This display traces the development of Buddhist statues from Gandhara (Ancient India), China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan to provide insights about how Buddhist beliefs and statues developed in each region.

Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings, known as dharma, of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India around the 5th century B.C. He attained "Enlightenment" and became Shakyamuni Buddha when he was 35, and spent the rest of his life teaching his insights to others. After his death, his followers continued to practice and spread his teachings. Following his cremation, the Buddha's ashes and relics, known as sharira, were deposited in stupas, originally mound-like structures. Buddhist art developed when stupas were decorated with reliefs that depicted stories of Buddha and other designs.

Initially, Buddha was not presented as a human figure. This changed around the 1st century A.D. and Buddhists began to worship the statues. Over time, Buddhism spread to other areas, where statues were crafted and worshiped in various forms." (Text from Tokyo National Museum website).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Forms of Arapachana Manjushri

There are four basic forms of Manjushri that are either called Arapachana by name or use the Arapachana syllables as the principal mantra for the deity. The first (1) is Arapachana, orange in colour, sometimes white. He holds a sword in the right hand and the stem of an utpala flower supporting the Prajnaparamita text in the left. The second (2) form is Manjushri associated with a famous Sanskrit praise, orange in colour. The third (3) form is Arapachana, white in colour, sometimes orange, with the two hands holding the stems of two utpala flowers supporting a sword and text. The fourth (4), Vidyadhara Pitika (not shown here), is similar to the second form except white in colour and with the left leg pendant.

All forms of Arapachana Manjushri are peaceful in appearance. There are also many other forms of Manjushri that are peaceful but do not use the Name Arapachana or the arapachana mantra. Also, not all forms of Manjushri are peaceful. The principal examples of semi-wrathful and wrathful appearance are Black Manjushri as semi and then the many forms of Vajrabhairava, Krishna Yamari, Rakta Yamari and Manjushri Nagaraksha.

On the illustrated example page provided above there are four additional images of Manjushri related to Arapachana. These are found on a mandala painting of Vagishvari Dharmadhatu. The painting depicts twenty-three peaceful forms of Manjushri, three wrathful forms known as Yamari, and three mandalas in total.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Daewon-Sa Tibetan Museum in Korea

The HAR site lists three museums in Korea that have collections of Himalayan and Tibetan style art. Several of these museums such as the Daewon-Sa and the Hahn Cultural Foundation specialize in Himalayan style art. It is rumoured that there are possibly an additional two more museums of Himalayan art in Korea. These other museums, like the one introduced here, are thought to be museums attached to Buddhist Temples, unlike the Hahn Collection or the National Museum of Korea.

"The Little Tibet in Korea, Daewon-Sa Tibetan Museum. Tibetan Museum is built to introduce spiritual culture and art and to activate the spiritual exchange between Korea and Tibet. The museum is built in the Tibetan Temple style."

See a listing of other Korean and Asian Museums.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Four Traditional Ways of Classifying the Schools of Tibetan Buddhism

The religious traditions, schools and lineages of Tibetan Buddhism can be very confusing with a seemingly endless number of Tibetan names and complex inter-relationships. The new page outlining the Four Traditional Ways of Classifying the Schools of Tibetan Buddhism lists the four systems and the traditions, or sub-traditions, included in each. Other Buddhist traditions such as Mongolian Buddhism and the Himalayan Buddhism of Bhutan are also included on the page but separate from the four traditional forms of classification. More sub-traditions will be added, along with dates, and links to the available art on the HAR site.

1. Nyingma & Sarma: Nyingma means old or ancient. Sarma means new. The earliest forms of Buddhism in Tibet are collectively known as Nyingma. With the introduction of new forms of Buddhism from India and Kashmir after the 11th century the old forms took on the name Nyingma and the new forms were called Sarma. The principal new forms (Sarma) are the Kadampa, Sakya, Dagpo Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu and Jonang, followed later by the Gelug.

2. The classification of the Four [Principal] Schools of Tibetan Buddhism is the most commonly known and used although probably the least useful in understanding the complexity of the traditions especially in understanding the religious context of the art on the HAR site. The Four Schools are the (1) Nyingma, (2) Sakya, (3) Kagyu and (4) Gelug. The Fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century is recorded as using this terminology to list the principal Buddhist Traditions of Tibet. He describes them as the four schools of Buddhism [cho lug] and then the Bon Religion [Bon lug]. This written statement of the Fifth Dalai Lama has come to be misconstrued in recent times and taken to mean that there are five schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which are the four principal schools and then Bon as the fifth school. This is rejected by followers of the Bon Religion that maintain there are two religions of Tibet, (1) Bon which came first and (2) Buddhism which came after. For the Bon there is no discussion of five schools - it is a Buddhist imposition.

3. Red Hat & Yellow Hat is a late classification that is most commonly used in Mongolia and China and rarely in Tibet or the Tibetan cultural regions of the Himalayas. Yellow Hat refers specifically to the Gelug School dominant in the two areas of Mongolia and China after the 17th century. Red Hat refers collectively to all of the Buddhist Schools that are not Gelug. Tibetan followers of the Gelug Tradition referred to themselves as the Yellow Hat Tradition, this is found in Tibetan Gelug writings and liturgical verses, but it is unclear when this classification began and when the other non-Gelug traditions became the Red Hat Tradition. According to this system the most important and iconic of the 'Red Hat' Lamas is Padmasambhava. The principal 'Yellow Hat' lama is Je Tsongkapa, founder of the Gelug Tradition.

4. The Eight Chariots of Spiritual Accomplishment is another late classification popularized by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye in the 19th century. This system lists what Kongtrul promotes as the most significant practice traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. The system of classification is not widely used or promoted outside of the Rime movement of the 19th century, but it does however give insight into what the Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu Lamas of the Rime Movement considered to be of significant importance.

The Eight Chariots are:
(1) Nyingma
(2) Kadampa Mind Training Precepts
(3) Margapala (Tibetan: Lamdre. The Path Together with the Result)
(4) Dagpo Kagyu Mahamudra Tradition
(5) Six Dharmas of Niguma
(6) Zhije & Cho
(7) Six Branches, Kalachakra
(8) Orgyan Nyendrub

Religious Traditions Pages & Outlines:
Traditions & Schools Index
Religious Traditions of Tibet Outline
Explanation of Four Traditional Ways of Classifying the Schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Four Traditional Ways of Classifying the Schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Religious Traditions Navigation Page for Outlines

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Arhat Resource Page

Whenever working with arhat paintings or sculpture it is always necessary to refer to a list of names and figural images to help with identification. This can be done in several ways, either by simply referring to a Tibetan text such as the Praise of the Sixteen Arhats where each arhat is named and described, or by looking at a single arhat painting, or set of arhat paintings, where the iconography is clear and the names are written beneath each figure, or to look at a set of block print images that have both the images and names for each of the arhats. These are the general approaches to identifying arhat figures when there are no identifying inscriptions on the works themselves.

I hesitate to mention one other approach, but shall do so anyway. An alternate approach is to have memorized all of the arhat names in both Tibetan and Sanskrit and know all of the depictions and attributes for each of the sixteen arhat figures plus knowing the several different systems, or variations, for visually depicting the arhats. The Arhat Resource Page is not necessary with this approach to identifying arhats.

For basic arhat identification the Arhat Resource Page presents first the individual block print images from the Three Hundred Icons published by Raghu Vira and Lokesh Chandra. These images are especially valuable because they provide both the Tibetan name and the Sanskrit name for each of the arhats. Following these essential tools for the identification of arhats are the important Arhat Pages and topics both on the HAR site and as external resources. Navigation is provided as screen capture images along with links.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Manjushri Outline Page Updated

The Manjushri Outline page has been updated and split into two pages. The first is now Art Topics and the second is Iconographic Forms of the deity. More work needs to be done. There are so many different types of Manjushri that it is really a major project in itself just to list them all and note the texts and compendiums that they are found in.

Manjushri Art Topics
Manjushri Iconographic Forms
Manjushri Tantra Classes
Arapachana Manjushri: Explanation of Form

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hevajra: Explanation of Form

Hevajra is one of the more common complex deities depicted in art. The form with eight faces and sixteen hands is the most common form of this deity. However, he can have as few as one face and two hands, hold only weapons and be white, red, yellow or green in colour. Hevajra can also be paired with a consort other than Nairatmya. He can also appear with no consort at all. The forms of Hevajra are described in the Hevajra Tantra of Two Sections (Root Tantra) and the Samputa explanatory Tantra.

Hevajra: Explanation of Form

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kurukulla: Explanation of Form

Kurukulla is a goddess of power in Tantric Buddhism. She has many different forms, colours and deity affiliations. Her appearance with one face and four hands, red in colour, dancing on a prone male form, is the most common form found in painting, murals and sculpture. In this form her hand attributes can vary slightly but the colour, posture, and number of arms will remain the same.

Kurukulla: Explanation of Form

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Arapachana Manjushri: Explanation of Form

Manjushri in the form of Arapachana is one of the most common and recognizable images in Tantric Buddhism. Other than appearing with the hands in the Dharma teaching gesture this is the form that is most often depicted in paintings, murals and sculpture. The explanation of form is a brief introduction to how Manjushri appears in this particular appearance, what he holds in his hands, along with any other significant characteristics.

Arapachana Manjushri: Explanation of Form

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mahakala Resource Page

The Mahakala Resource Page is a work in progress. There are just quite simply a lot more types of Mahakala than there are of Shri Devi. Like Shri Devi, Mahakala is a class of deities. Always wrathful, always protectors and sometimes meditational deities of the Anuttarayoga classification. The Mahakala types are aligned much more closely with specific Tantras and major deities such as Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja and in the case of Shadbhuja Mahakala with Hayagriva and Avalokiteshvara. It is not a matter of just uploading all the Mahakala information. It is a matter of how to frame it, contextualize it, and present the information in a way that makes sense and includes Mahakala in the greater realm of Himalayan and Tibetan art, literature, religion and culture. We will let you know how it works out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Explanation of Iconographic Forms

An Explanation of Iconographic Forms is a new feature on the website. The purpose is to explain more clearly the iconographic features of the main figures and types of deities, along with the complex multi-headed and multi-armed deities. The intention is to make it easier to read and understand an iconographic form. To that end we hope to provide the necessary tools.

Currently there are five forms explained:
Simhanada Lokeshvara (Lion's Roar Lord of the World)
Ushnishavijaya (The Victorious Crown Ornament)
Nilamabara Vajrapani (Blue Cloak Vajra Holder)
Shakyamuni Buddha (Enlightened One, Sage of the Shakya Clan)
Je Tsongkapa - Founder of the Gelug Tradition

Shri Devi with Three Faces! Sipai Gyalmo?

Shri Devi with Three Faces! Sipai Gyalmo? An inquiry has been made about an iconographic form of Shri Devi (Palden Lhamo) with three faces. Unfortunately, I don't know of a three faced, six armed, Shri Devi in Tibetan Buddhism. It doesn't mean that there isn't a Shri Devi having this appearance, it just means that this form hasn't been broadly identified in art or in Buddhist textual description, so far. However, the Bon Religion has a wrathful female deity exactly fitting this description - Sipai Gyalmo, Queen of the World.

Shri Devi is a Sanskrit name used by Indian religious traditions and Buddhist Tantric traditions. To my knowledge the Bon Religion does not typically use the Sanskrit name Shri Devi or the corresponding Tibetan name Palden Lhamo.

See the Shri Devi Resource Page
See the Sipai Gyalmo Comparison Page

Well, aside from pouring through endless sets of Nyingma initiation cards (tsakli) looking for a three faced Shri Devi, I can only think of one instance where I've seen a Shri Devi-like figure with three faces on a Buddhist painting. Look to the middle left side of this Buddhist Sidpaho Protection Chart (above). Fortunately I thought it was strange enough when I first chanced upon it to think to take a detail photo of the unusual, at the time, un-Buddhist-like Shri Devi (detail of Shri Devi figure above). You will note that the body, number of faces and colours along with arms and hand attributes are identical to the Bon deity Sipai Gyalmo Dre'u Nag (Riding a Black Mule). I had no explanation for this.

I did go back and look at the painting several times to see if it was in fact Buddhist, and to think about whether or not the Bon had a similar practice of painting sidpaho charts, as if that would help! Possibly it belonged to the Bon Sarma Tradition? Bon Sarma is a branch of Bon that intentionally seeks to blend the practices of the two religions of Bon and Buddhism. However, I can only conclude that the painting is Buddhist.

Looking at the Sidpaho painting and the Shri Devi-like subject more closely, it did seem unusual to have the small buddha-like figure depicted as if hovering above the head. This is a practice sometimes found occurring on Bon paintings especially with the subject of Tagla Membar where a peaceful Tonpa Shenrab is placed hovering directly above the wrathful head of the central figure. It can however be found, although rarely, in Buddhist paintings. See an example of a Drigung Kagyu deity painting of Guru Dragpur, a Nyingma Terma Tradition, where the Buddhas of the Tree Times are placed above three stupas above the three heads of the central deity. What is common with Buddhist iconography is to find the Five Symbolic Buddhas such as Amitabha above the head of Avalokiteshvara, or Akshobhya above the head of Manjushri, or Amoghasiddhi above the head of Green Tara. A figure depicted like the historical Buddha Shakyamuni is not usual, especially when they appear to be floating and detached from the main figure below.

It is possible that the artist commissioned to create the painting belonged to the Bon Religion and inserted a protector deity that he/she was familiar with - just an idea.

So, now it comes down to what do we know?
1. It is possible that there is a Buddhist form, or specifically a Nyingma form, of Shri Devi with three faces and six arms (as pictured above).
2. There does not appear to be any Sarma (Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang, Gelug, etc.) three faced forms of Shri Devi. This statement is entirely based on looking at iconographic images and reading the general iconographic texts and histories of those traditions. However, this could change if new information comes to light.
3. The most important female protector of the Bon Religion has three faces and six arms, riding a mule, in a similar appearance to the Buddhist deity Shri Devi. Of the two principal forms of Sipai Gyalmo, (1) Riding the Black Mule and (2) Riding the Red Mule, the form riding atop the black mule can have slightly different hand attributes depending on the Bon tradition. The primary difference is the third right hand which can hold either a spear or a banner. In the Buddhist painting exhibited above the Shri Devi-like figure holds a banner in the third right hand.

Conclusion: Until more examples of a three faced, six armed Shri Devi like deity are found, along with Buddhist textual descriptions, we must, for the time being, consider that all such forms are most probably the Bon protector deity Sipai Gyalmo.

Jeff Watt
Director & Chief Curator

(The Sipai Gyalmo Comparison Page has also been added to the bottom of the Shri Devi Resource Page for comparison purposes).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

E-letter for September 26th, 2009

Dear Subscribers,

Since the last Newsletter of May-July 2009 there have been some significant improvements made to the Advanced Search feature.

See the New Advanced Search.

Two extensive subject Resource Pages have been added. These pages are intended to group together related information under one heading. This is part of the ongoing HAR struggle to contextualize the art and subject content and to keep it easily retrievable in an ever growing art and iconography database. We hope to add more Resource Pages to help with navigation for other large categories and topics on the site.

Mandala Resource Page | Introduction to Mandalas

Shri Devi Resource Page | Introduction to Shri Devi

Two ongoing projects that only effect the site user when landing on certain pages are the continued use of Greyscaling and the addition of Visual Images of Painting Sets.

The Tibetan yogi and saint Milarepa has been a topic of some interest of late. See three new pages discussing the Milarepa Life-story painting sets, and a Milarepa composition possibly painted by the famous terton of the 19th century - Choggyur Lingpa.

Four Milarepa Paintings | Terton Choggyur Lingpa

Four Milarepa Paintings & One Sculpture | Milarepa in Life Story & Lineage Painting Sets

A Mitra Gyatsa Page has been added along with numerous sub-pages: outline page, contents list, lineages, etc.

The Vajravali Outline Page has been updated with new sub-pages: contents, lineages, etc.

New Outline Pages:
Female Teachers
Yogi Appearance in Himalayan Art
Amoghapasha Lokeshvara
Yama Dharmaraja Mandala
Yama Dharmaraja Mandala Schematic
Hevajra Mandala Elements
Chakrasamvara Mandala Elements
Yaks & Mandalas
Five Myths About Mandalas
Simhanda Lokeshvara
Magzor Gyalmo
Ekajati (updated with an introduction)
Shri Devi: Forms of the Deity
Shri Devi: Traditions
Shri Devi: Forms Comparison

Aside from these enhancements and additions many new thematic image set pages were created in order to populate and give depth to the outline pages listed above. Cataloguing is always ongoing and continues for the Jacques Marchais Collection, Santa Barbara Museum and the Prague National Gallery. These institutions are at the top of the list with numerous other museum and private collections waiting patiently in the queue.

Thank you for your continued interest.

Jeff Watt
Director & Chief Curator
Himalayan Art Resources

Advanced Search: New & Greatly Improved

The old Advanced Search was rather static with a query result only serving up a linear text list of either paintings or sculpture. Those days are now over.

The new Advanced Search is programmed to serve up thumbnail images as the default with the old List View as a secondary option. When searching on a specific subject the default is set to display both paintings and sculpture. For even more advanced search queries on topics such as medium or type then both broad categories of paintings and sculpture can be selected individually. The unique options for paintings (for us meaning two-dimensional) such as red background, textiles, etc., can be chosen under the painting category and the same for sculpture when searching on medium, repousse, etc. The HAR Team believes that this is a major enhancement to the site. Please try it out.

See the New Advanced Search.

And with the Keyword Search don't forget that since December of last year the HAR site has been using Google Custom Search. This has also been a huge improvement over the previous search engine technology.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shri Devi: Palden Lhamo: Glorious Goddess

From the Shri Devi Resource Page---

Shri Devi is the most important classification of female protector deity in Tantric Tibetan Buddhism. Out of the nearly two dozen textual forms of the goddess there are three principal forms that appear regularly in painting and sculpture. The first and second forms are almost identical. Only the hand attributes distinguish them one from the other. Known as Shri Devi Dudsolma, she has one face and four arms. There is a [1] Sakya version of Dudsolma and a [2] Kagyu version of Dudsolma. The Sakya version holds a sword, skullcup, spear and trident. The Kagyu version holds a sword, skullcup, peg 'kila' and trident. The [3] third form of Shri Devi, most popular in the Gelug Tradition, is known as Magzor Gyalmo and has one face like the previous forms but only two hands. She holds a vajra tipped staff and a skullcup.

Some Tibetan teachers say that there are twenty-one forms of Palden Lhamo (Shri Devi), often including the Bon religious protector Sipai Gyalmo as one of the forms. This is likely a late conflation occurring in the last one hundred years or so, an attempt to organize all of the different forms, along with the major and minor traditions, into a single structured system.

Not all forms of Shri Devi have the same entity or personality. The principal form of the protector, Dudsolma or Dudmo Remati, appearing with one face and four arms, riding a donkey, is a wrathful manifestation of Shri Lakshmi (Pal Lhamo). Principal here means earliest and having the most lineages from India, teachings and commentaries associated with her practice. Magzor Gyalmo with two arms, riding a mule, is a manifestation of Sarasvati. In the Bon Religion Sipai Gyalmo is the wrathful form of Satrig Ersang, one of the four principal deities/gods of the Bon Religion. This shows that the different forms of Shri Devi arise from various narratives, ritual and practice traditions.

The early references and teachings on Shri Devi Dudsolma, or using her full name Dudsol Dokam Wangchugma (Kamadhatv-ishvari) with four arms, are found in detail in two Tantras, the Fifty Chapter Mahakala Tantra and the Twenty-five Chapter Mahakala Tantra. In these texts Shri Devi is closely related to Mahakala, The Great Black One.

The form of Shri Devi known as Magzor Gyalmo, with two arms and riding a mule, has a different history derived from different source literature. In the main text narrating the history of Magzorma, the Dakinyagnijihajvala Tantra, she is described as the servant, or younger sister, of Shri Devi Dudsolma (with four arms and riding a donkey). See the Magzor Gyalmo Introduction and the source literature the Dakinyagnijihajvala Tantra, Dege Kanjur, volume 98, pp.223-253. It is found in the Nyingma Tantra section, vol.3.

Dorje Rabtenma, the special protector of Shalu Monastery in Tsang Province, Tibet, is also a form of Shri Devi: "...Goddess Dorje Rabtenma, Great One, with a body maroon in colour, one face, two hands and three eyes; the body covered by a human skin. Held in the right hand is a blazing sword, a mongoose grasped in the left, riding atop a three-legged mule." (Shalu Liturgical verse by Shakya Gelong Rinchen Namgyal).

The image of Shri Devi Dudsolma pictured above is taken from a photograph of a paper poster acquired in 1973. The poster is believed to have been made in India in the late 1960s or early 70s. There is no information on the poster at all, front or back, no writing and no numbers. If anybody has seen another image like this or knows where this original painting resides then please send an e-mail to us at Thank you.

Please see the extensive Shri Devi Resource Page

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Milarepa in Life Story & Lineage Paintings

The first composition in the set of the Stockholm Milarepa Life Story paintings depicts him in a relaxed manner similar to what we have seen in the Choggyur Lingpa painting and somewhat in the Choying Dorje sculpture. There are three known sets in this 19th century style and composition, maybe more. The Rumtek Monastery set of the Karma Kagyu Lineage Masters (Kagyu Sertreng) depicts a relaxed Milarepa similar to what we have been looking at in these other paintings. The Rumtek set, a gift of the previous Sanggye Nyenpa Rinpoche, is based on a much earlier version likely to predate Choggyur Lingpa and even Situ Panchen in the 18th century. Looking at these paintings it is interesting to see that the artists have no trouble switching the direction of the seated posture and portraying either the right hand across the knee or the left. Choggyur Lingpa would have been aware of these iconographic depictions of the Kagyu Masters. However, his painting still seems to be the model that the other three are based on with reference to the September 15th posting.

We have posted a new Milarepa comparison page looking at Life Story Paintings and Lineage Paintings:

Milarepa Life Story Painting Set Comparison

Four Milarepa Paintings & One Sculpture (Tuesday, September 22nd)

Four Milarepa Paintings (Tuesday, September 15th)

As to the comment about possible conflation between the relaxed form of Milarepa and the form of Avalokiteshvara known as Resting in the Nature of Mind (Tibetan: spyan ras gzigs sems nyid ngal gso), I have added a new page with examples of this form for comparison.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Four Milarepa Paintings & One Sculpture

After posting the comparison of the Four Milarepa Paintings last week we heard from a scholar of such subjects and he suggested that there might be a relationship between the four paintings and a well known sculpture carved from rhinoceros horn and said to have been created by Choying Dorje, the 10th Karmapa. The sculpture image is from the publication Karmapa: The Black Hat Lama of Tibet by Nik Douglass.

We have posted a new comparison page also noting the principal characteristics of the paintings and of the sculpture:

Four Milarepa Paintings & One Sculpture

Four Milarepa Paintings (Tuesday September 15th)

Three Paintings: Are they Painted by the Same Artist?

There is a Maitreya and a Manjushri painting that appear to be from the same set, then an Arhat painting depicting two central figures (this image will be uploaded to the site later today). The two paintings on the left, likely from a set of nine, are the same dimensions, possibly the same Eight Bodhisattva subject, colour palette, etc. The painting on the right with two Arhats, from a set of eleven, is significantly shorter and more traditionally rectangular in shape. Take special notice of the jewelry and ornaments on the figures, also the flowers, leaves, vines and trees. Are these paintings by the same artist, same atelier, or even in the same general style?

Three Paintings: are they painted by the same artist?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ekajati: Meditational Deity & Protector

Ekajati is a complex deity of Indian origin that should be understood as functioning as a:
1. Meditational Deity with many different forms.
2. Retinue Figure accompanying popular deities such as Lokeshvara and Tara.
3. Protector Deity, both represented as a central figure and as a retinue deity.

See the Ekajati Main Page and Outline Page.

The name 'eka jati' is a Sanskrit word combined of two parts (Sanskrit: eka = one; jati = braid), one and braid, meaning 'one braid' of hair.

(1) As a Meditational Deity Ekajati has a two-armed form, four-armed, eight-armed and a twenty-four armed and twelve headed form. (2) As a Retinue Figure Ekajati, in a wrathful form, stands behind Lokeshvara in the Five-deity practice. Older more traditional forms of practice of Green Tara describe the Three-deity Green Tara with the goddess Marichi standing to the right side of Tara and a semi-wrathful Ekajati standing on the left side. Ekajati is also an important (3) Protector Deity in both the Nyingma and Sarma (Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang, Gelug) Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the Nyingma Tradition Ekajati is the principal protector for the 'Revealed Treasure' Traditions. She manifests in numerous forms, both as a standard wrathful figure, black, with one face and two arms and appearing in her more famous guise with only one eye, one tooth, and one breast, sometimes even with only one leg as in the Drigung Kagyu Treasure Tradition (see detail lower left).

In the Sarma, New Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism after the 10th century, Ekajati is represented in all three types, by many different forms in each, accompanied by different narratives depending on the religious tradition and lineage.

In the Sakya Tradition, as a protector inherited from Rinchen Zangpo, Ekajati also plays the role of the mother of Shri Devi (Palden Lhamo Dudsolma) and has a more typical appearance with a wrathful visage and one braid of hair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Magzor Gyalmo, a form of Shri Devi

Magzor Gyalmo, meaning the Queen who Repels Armies, or the Queen who has the power to turn back armies, belongs to the larger class of enlightened protector deities known as Shri Devi, or Palden Lhamo in Tibetan. Magzor Gyalmo is a wrathful emanation of the peaceful goddess Sarasvati, popular in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Shri Devi is understood as a class of female protectors. Some say that there are twenty-one forms of Shri Devi, often including the Bon protector Sipai Gyalmo as one of the forms. Not all forms of Shri Devi have the same entity. The principal form of the protector, Dudsolma or Dudmo Remati, appearing with one face and four arms, riding a donkey, is a wrathful manifestation of Shri Lakshmi. Magzor Gyalmo with two arms, riding a mule, is a manifestation of Sarasvati. In the Bon Religion Sipai Gyalmo is the wrathful form of Satrig Ersang, one of the four principal deities/gods of the Bon Religion.

Magzor Gyalmo, often shortened to Magzorma, was first popularized in Tibet by the Zhang, Mu and Sakya family lineages. This form of Shri Devi was likely indigenous to Tibet and the result of a pure vision (dag nang) or a revealed treasure (terma) discovery. It later entered the Gelug School through the family tradition of either the 1st or the 2nd Dalai Lama (see possibly the earliest Gelug painting). Again at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century it became the special protector of the Dalai Lama incarnation tradition and of the Ganden Podrang Government of Tibet.

The majority of Magzor Gyalmo paintings and sculpture on the HAR website were created for Gelug practitioners and institutions in Tibet, Mongolia and China. Of the nearly 100 objects on the site only three paintings can be identified as belonging to the Sakya Tradition. All of the others are Gelug in origin. How do we know?

There are two ways to distinguish between Sakya and Gelug forms of Magzor Gyalmo. With paintings, inspecting the over-all composition, the minor figures surrounding the central Magzor Gyalmo must be looked at carefully. [1] It is most often the case that Lama Tsongkapa, founder of the Gelug Tradition, wearing a yellow hat, will be placed at the top center, and if not there then somewhere else along the top of the painting. [2] In the texts describing the iconography of Magzorma, for the Gelug, she has a snow lion as an earring for the right ear and a coiled snake for the left earring. In the Sakya Tradition this iconographic detail is reversed. Don't believe us? Look for yourself: Gelug Example, Sakya Example.

Because Magzorma is the wrathful form of Sarasvati and because Sarasvati is the goddess of learning and eloquence, then it follows that she is related to and paired with the bodhisattva of wisdom - Manjushri. However, it would not be proper to have the peaceful appearance of Manjushri associated with the wrathful appearance of Magzorma. So, with all of that said, Magzorma is most commonly associated with the wrathful forms of Manjushri: Heruka Vajrabhairava, Rakta Yamari or Krishna Yamari. These three are the most wrathful forms of Manjushri. They are also meditational deities of the Anuttarayoga Classification of Tantra. It is very common to find one of these three wrathful figures of Manjushri at the top of a Magzorma painting. Sakya paintings generally portray Rakta Yamari at the top along with one or two Lama figures, and often Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, wearing a red pandita hat.

In the Tantra narrating the history of Magzorma she is described as the servant or younger sister of Shri Devi (with four arms). Aside from functioning as a protector deity in the Sakya and Gelug Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Magzor Gyalmo is used extensively in the ritual of divination - generally using dice or prayer beads.

The textual source for Magzor Gyalmo is the Dakinyagnijihajvala Tantra, Dege Kanjur, volume 98, pp.223-253. It is found in the Nyingma Tantra section, vol.3.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Terton Choggyur Lingpa (1829-1870)

Choggyur Lingpa was a Terton, treasure revealer, of the 19th century and descended from the hereditary Baram Kagyu line. He was also a contemporary and friend to both Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. He discovered many 'termas' that are still popular within the Kagyu and Nyingma Traditions today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Four Milarepa Paintings

There are four paintings that depict the Tibetan yogi Milarepa in a similar composition and posture. They are numbered one through four and arranged according to a possible chronology of oldest to youngest. All four figures have essentially the same posture, head and facial features, along with wardrobe and deerskin mat, seated above a rocky outcropping. Starting on the left, composition #1 states that it was "painted by the hand of Choggyur Lingpa." If the inscription is in fact accurate then it would likely have been painted sometime between the mid 1800s and 1870. The significant questions are, did Choggyur Lingpa copy a previous model for the form of Milarepa or did he create this composition from his own imagination? Was Choggyur Lingpa known as an artist as well as a Kagyu and Nyingma Terton - "Treasure Discoverer"? Does his biography mention or provide a list of the artworks he created? Paintings #1 and #2 are the closest in depiction, but it is obvious that all four are based on the same model.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Simhanada Lokeshvara: Lion's Roar

A new outline page has been added for the form of Avalokiteshvara known as Simhanada 'Lion's Roar.' Originally taught by the Indians Chandragomi and Suvarnadvipa, it entered Tibet in the 11th century with Rinchen Zangpo, Jowo Atisha, Bari Lotsawa and others. The deity form and meditation practices are now found in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. A stone sculpture relief of the deity can also be found carved on a rock face in Hangzhou, China, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Simhanada Lokeshvara was popularized in Mongolia and China by Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251) when he cured Godan Khan of leprosy using the special healing techniques of Simhanada.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yaks and Mandalas! What do they have in Common?

The Himalayan Art Resources website was certainly a participant in the successful Rubin Museum of Art exhibition Mandala, The Perfect Circle. HAR provided scholarship and essays both for the catalogue publication and wall text on the gallery floor. But what does this all have to do with yaks and mandalas, and what do they have in common? Well, familiar with both the art and the exhibition we have come up with five interesting facts that touch on both the lighter side and the more serious side of the exhibition and Buddhist Tantric art in general. To pursue the yak question see the Five Interesting Facts of the Rubin Museum exhibition. (Also see the Five Myths About Mandalas).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mandala Resource Page

It has become obvious that the subject of mandalas is too large for the current navigation on the site. A new Mandala Resource Page has been created to help navigate and also to highlight examples of the different types of mandalas, their elements, iconography and meaning. More example pages will be added....

Reading & Interpreting the Symbols & Iconography of the Yama Dharmaraja Mandala

Representations of Deity Mandalas are created for many different reasons and probably least of all as 'an artistic aid for meditation' as is commonly believed by many Western scholars. The primary reason for the physical creation of a mandala is to have a visual presence when preparing and conducting a ritual initiation for Tantric Buddhist devotees into a deity yoga meditation practice. Initiations, sometimes called ceremonies or empowerments, require a physical depiction, as stipulated in the Tantric texts, either two dimensional or three dimensional in form, of the deity, the celestial palace and the surrounding lotus petals, vajras and five coloured flames. Sand mandalas and painted wooden mandala plates are good examples of objects used for this ritual function.

Yama Dharmaraja Mandala
Yama Dharmaraja Mandala Elements
Yama Dharmaraja Schematic - Quick Study
Yama Dharmaraja Outline Page
Yama Dharmaraja Main Page

(See an essay on Mandalas: An Introduction, Painting & Sculpture based on the Rubin Museum of Art exhibition Mandala, The Perfect Circle).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are you researching a subject?

Do you think a specific image needs to be greyscaled and numbered? Let us know. We only greyscale and give special attention to images we are working on. We would love to hear what you are working on. How can we help with your studies? Your interests may help us and help the field in general. There is a world of iconography, art history and religious studies out there, let us know.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Greyscale Image Pages

Greyscale has been used throughout the HAR site to create a clear image composition with written names and numbers to improve navigation and identification. Important iconographic subjects, architectural features and composition sequences have been labeled either directly with names on the image or as numbers corresponding to an identification key in the body of explanatory text. There are four basic types of composition where greyscale numbering is most helpful: [1] Cityscapes, [2] Narratives, [3] Figure Compositions and [4] Lineage Compositions.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vajramrita & Related Forms

Yes, Vajramrita is a rare and unusual form and not commonly represented as a central figure in art. The deity mostly appears as part of an iconographic compendium such as the Vajravali of Abhayakaragupta, Bari Gyatsa, Sadhana-samucchaya, or in the group of Ten Wrathful Ones. There are four forms of the complex deity that have the name 'amrita' in common and they are all grouped together in the Vajravali literature. Each is described with a retinue of deities and a complex mandala. Several other forms of the deity, usually in a more simplified form, appear in other traditions. There are two deities similar in appearance that can cause confusion in identification: Humkara and Avalokita Samvara. (See the Vajramrita Outline Page).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mitra Gyatsa: a Compendium of Mandalas

The Mitra Gyatsa is a collection of one hundred and eight Tantric Mandalas compiled by Mitra Yogin in the 12th - 13th century. It has remained a popular collection and is still current today especially in the Kagyu and Gelug Traditions. It is an important early collection that ranks with the Vajravali, Bari Gyatsa, and Sadhana-samucchaya as one of the most significant iconographic resources describing the deities and mandalas that appear in Himalayan and Tibetan art.

Mitra Gyatsa:
Outline Page
Mandala Contents List
Initiation & Teaching Lineage

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Amoghapasha: Unfailing Lasso

Amoghapasha is a complicated deity subject in Tantric Buddhist iconography. He is easily mistaken for Avalokiteshvara in most artistic depictions. The two deities are frequently conflated together by Western scholars. Sometimes Amoghapasha is described as a form, or emanation, of Avalokiteshvara and again at other times, such as with this mandala of Amoghapasha, a retinue figure while Avalokiteshvara is the central deity in the mandala. It begs the question, why is this mandala called the Five-deity Amoghapasha if the central deity is Avalokiteshvara?

New Outline Pages:
Amoghapasha Outline Page
Amoghapasha: Forms & Traditions Outline

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Outline Pages

1. Yogi Appearance in Himalayan art with an Outline Page and an Image Sets Page.

2. Female Teachers Outline Page: the teachers represented as main figures in art from India and Tibet.

3. Petroglyphs Outline Page: the beginnings of an outline distinguishing types and regions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mongolian Treasures Uncovered

More Buddhist art treasures have been unearthed from the sands of the Gobi desert in Mongolia and taken to the Danza Rabjaa Temple. See other previously unearthed objects at the Danza Rabjaa Museum in the town of Sainshand. Also see the BBC news article.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Newsletter: May - July 2009

The HAR Newsletter for May, June and July is ready for mail-out. In the future we will not be doing a separate page for the newsletter but rather relying more on the 'New on the Site' page (blog) along with more frequent e-mail notifications. There are too many changes going on all the time to wait three months for an announcement of changes and additions. To stay on top of things we need to announce changes as they happen.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pancha Raksha Outline Page

One of the most difficult to recognize iconographic forms represented in art is the Pancha Raksha - Five Protector Goddesses. The difficulty arises from the fact that there are numerous traditions originating in India and later moving to Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia and China. Each of these traditions describes the five goddesses differently. The colours can be different, the numbers of faces and arms can be different, the postures and what they hold in the hands can be different. These five figures are commonly created as both sculpture, painting and wall murals. In paintings they are both central subjects, figures or mandalas, as well as minor figures in a composition with an unrelated central figure.

General Traditions:
1. Vajravali, 13 Deity Mandala (Abhayakaragupta)
2. 56 Deity Mandala
2. Bari Gyatsa (Bari Lotsawa)
3. Nartang Gyatsa (Atisha)
4. Sadhana-samucchaya (3 systems. Edited version of the 9th Je Khenpo)

A page of Selected Masterworks has been added and can be accessed from the Pancha Raksha Main Page or the Outline Page.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three New Outlines

- Kurukulla: Goddess of Power
- Krishna Yamari: the Black Killer of Death
- Rakta Yamari: The Red Killer of Death
- Vajrabhairava: Wrathful Manjushri (updated)

The Five Systems of Twenty-one Taras

It seems that the more popular a deity becomes, more and more forms are created. Tara along with Lokeshvara and Manjushri have many score if not hundreds of different iconographic depictions both described in the Tantric literature and found in paintings and sculpture. Some of these iconographic forms of Tara belong to groups or sets such as the Twenty-one Taras. Three of these groups were created approximately 1000 years ago or more; the Suryagupta, Atisha and Sadhana-samucchaya systems. The first two are named after the Kashmiri and Indian teachers that popularized the systems. The third is named for the Sanskrit text in which a unique system of the Twenty-one Taras is described. The most recent of the systems are the Longchen Nyingtig developed by Jigme Lingpa in the late 1700s, based on the inspiration of Longchenpa, and the system of Chogyur Lingpa from the mid 1800s.

1. Solitary Form
2. Three Deity Configuration: Tara, Brikuti and Ekajati
3. Five Deity Configuration
4. Tara and the Eight Fears
5. The Five Systems of the Twenty-one Taras
6. Tara Seventeen Deity Mandala
7. The One-hundred Names (and depictions) of Tara

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Topic Outline Pages - Links

In the Links section of the HAR website there is a complete annotated list in a linear format of all Topic Outline Pages. This list has just been updated with the twenty or so Outlines made in the last six weeks or so. If you have time on your hands and don't know what you want to look at on the site, then go to the linear Outlines List and wander around - see where it takes you.

Mandala Technical Glossary

The main Mandala Outline Page has been updated and several new detailed and expanded mandala outlines have been created. A new Mandala Technical Glossary has been added to the site. It can be found on the Glossary Page or found linked to the various mandala pages and outlines.

Mandala Art Topics Outline
Mandala: Sets & Traditions Outline
What are Mandalas?
Mandala-like Circular Forms Outline
Mandala Technical Glossary

How to Identify a Deity Image

Each deity figure has six principal characteristics necessary in identification: [1] gender, [2] mood, [3] colour, [4] body configuration, [5] posture, [6] gestures & hand attributes.

How to Identify a Deity Image
What is gender?
What is mood?
What are the colours?
What is body configuration?
What are the postures?
What are gestures & hand attributes?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chakrasamvara: Organized & Updated

The Buddhist Tantric meditational deity Chakrasamvara is a popular subject in Himalayan style art. There are many forms of the deity from a one face, two armed, blue, solitary standing figure, to a seated white figure with a consort. The forms become more complicated with three faces and six arms, four faces and twelve arms and then over a thousand arms with over a thousand retinue deities inhabiting the mandala. Even though the central figure can be identical between two different mandalas, the number and appearance of the retinue figures in the mandala can be different. All of this adds to the great difficulty in correctly identifying a particular Chakrasamvara, painting, sculpture or mandala.

New pages created:
Chakrasamvara Outline Page (updated)
Chakrasamvara Deity Forms Outline (new)
Chakrasamvara Art Topics Outline (new)
Paintings Page (new)
Sculpture Page (new)
Mandala Page (new)

Selected Masterworks:
A Selected Masterworks Page has been created to look at the very best examples of the Chakrasamvara form in painting and sculpture from both an art and aesthetics, i.e. Art History point of view and from a Religious Studies point of view. A chronology page will be added later along with a further analysis of the different forms of the deity, most of which are now represented on the HAR site as central figures or minor figures.

Friday, July 17, 2009

List of Shambhala Kings by Katog Tsewang Norbu

Tsewang Norbu (1698-1755) wrote a long description of the pureland of Shambhala, associated with the Kalachakra Tantra, along with a short text listing the name of each of the seven Dharma Kings and the following twenty-five Vidyadharas, their number in the series, and from which bodhisattva or deity they are an emanation.

In general, these Shambhala Kings are commonly depicted in art either in a single composition containing all thirty-two figures or in sets of paintings with one figure, three, four, or eight figures per composition. Their are also two different traditions, or ways, to depict the Shambhala Kings: [1] Royal Appearance and [2] Deity Appearance.

The short text of Tsewang Norbu listing the names and emanation sources for all of the kings of the Deity Appearance system is essential for understanding the differences between the two systems and their differing depictions of the kings.

As time allows all of the Shambhala King paintings on HAR, from the various Palpung Composition sets, will be identified and listed (linked) next to the appropriate name in the list of Tsewang Norbu.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Five Most Powerful Tools

With the ever increasing number of art collections, museums, and image objects added to the HAR website it actually becomes more and more challenging to find the specific objects looked for along with relevant related information. These five tools are the most important on HAR for finding specific objects. To understand how objects relate to each other, and to general subjects or concepts, then look to the extensive Outline Pages.

Five Most Powerful Tools Outline Page
1. Search
2. Indices
3. Glossaries
4. Bibliographies
5. Links

Monday, July 6, 2009

HAR Temporarily Down, Monday July 6th, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The Himalayan Art Resources website will be down for a short period of time Monday afternoon, July 6th between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. The web technicians are updating certain key components of the database architecture to improve the search, cataloguing and speed of the site.

Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Images from the Asian Art Museum

Fourteen new images of paintings from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco have been uploaded to the HAR site. Write-ups accompany most if not all of the images. Some Asian Art entries in the database have write-ups but no images as yet. In those cases we are using a place card holder thumbnail image.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


After talking about it for nearly two years the HAR Team finally has their first linked image map of the Central Tibetan region of U-Tsang. This is the first go at making clickable geographic image maps. We hope to improve them with practice and add more links as we acquire new images of important art and architectural locations in Tibet and the other Himalayan art regions.

We have chosen the linked locations because those are the locations that we currently have images for. As we acquire new images we will add new locations to the maps. The next map will be of Lhasa City and the immediate surroundings followed by West Tibet with its extensive temple murals and cave complexes.

Maps Index:
Map of U-Tsang
Map of Lhasa Region
Map of Samye & Tsetang Region
Map of Tsang Region