is often represented as being confined to thangkas and Tibetan statues. Glancing
over a stack of catalogues presenting Himalayan and South Asian art available at the big auction
houses, one might conclude that
the Tibetans were capable of producing little worthy of the word "art" besides thangkas and statues.
Granted these forms may represent some of the highest achievements of an art
which was confined largely to monasteries, Tibetan art is much more
encompassing than this narrow view.
We wish to demonstrate how woefully inadequate this narrow interpretation
of Tibetan art actually is. Here we will confine ourselves to painting, whether it is in a
two dimensional form such as a thangka or on a three dimensional object such as a Tibetan storage box.
Some of the greatest expressions of Tibetan
art are not readily accessible in the West and not available at auction. These are the wall murals found in almost all existing Tibetan monasteries. These sometimes vast wall murals found in monasteries are often as impressive as the
buildings themselves. To the right is a photograph of a tiny detail from the great mural in the heart of the Jokhung in Lhasa. (Click on the photograph to see its enlargement.)
We would like to introduce as wide a selection of Tibetan art as possible.
Here we are presenting a selection of Tibetan antiques devoted to the art
of painting, whether the brush was applied to wood, paper, or cloth. We have
devoted a page to painted panels, both from furniture and salvaged from the
walls of destroyed monasteries. A more intimate form of painting is to be
found on initiation cards or
, the miniature paintings used in many religious ceremonies. In addition to
these more unusual forms, we do of course carry a selection
as well as well as many objects such as masks which might be categorized as "artifacts" or
"ritual objects" rather than "art".