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.