Gateway to Himalayan Art
In the Daley Family and Monan Galleries
September 5–December 10, 2023
Click thumbnails to view selected objects in exhibition
Gateway to Himalayan Art introduces the main forms, concepts, meanings, and religious traditions of Himalayan art with objects from the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art, New York. A large multimedia map at the start of the exhibition orients viewers to the greater Himalayan region, which encompasses Indian, Nepalese, Bhutanese, and Tibetan cultures as well as interrelated Mongolian and Chinese traditions. Gateway invites exploration of these diverse cultural spheres through exemplary objects presented in three thematic sections: Symbols and Meanings, Materials and Technologies, and Living Practices. It also includes voices from Himalayan artists and contemporaries, along with connections to related digital content to learn more.
The exhibition features sculptures, Tibetan scroll paintings (thangkas), ritual implements, medical instruments, and instructional paintings, as well as a stupa and prayer wheel. The commissioning, creation, and use of such objects are tied to the accumulation of merit, religious advancement, and hopes for wealth, long life, and well-being. Special installations include displays detailing the process of Nepalese lost-wax metal casting and the stages of creating a thangka. A Tibetan shrine cabinet presents how these objects would be displayed in a traditional household shrine.
This traveling exhibition is organized and provided by the Rubin Museum of Art and curated by Senior Curator of Himalayan Art Elena Pakhoutova. Gateway to Himalayan Art is an integral component of the Rubin Museum’s Project Himalayan Art, a three-part initiative that also includes the publication Himalayan Art in 108 Objects and a digital platform. Together they provide introductory resources for learning about and teaching Himalayan art.
Supporters of the Rubin Museum’s Project Himalayan Art:
Leadership support for Project Himalayan Art is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Lead support is provided by the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, Bob and Lois Baylis, Barbara Bowman, the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Noah P. Dorsky, Fred Eychaner, Christopher J. Fussner, Matt and Ann Nimetz, The Randleigh Foundation Trust, Shelley and Donald Rubin, and Jesse Smith and Annice Kenan.
Major support is provided by Daphne Hoch Cunningham and John Cunningham, the Edward & Elizabeth Gardner Foundation, Mimi Gardner Gates, Hongwei Li, the Monimos Foundation, Rossi & Rossi, Namita and Arun Saraf, Eric and Alexandra Schoenberg, Eileen Caulfield Schwab, UOVO, Sandy Song Yan, and the Zhiguan Museum of Art.
Special support is provided by:
Dr. Bibhakar Sunder Shakya, to honor the memory and legacy of Professor Dina Bangdel, art historian, curator, cultural activist, and educator from Nepal.
Samphe and Tenzin Lhalungpa, to honor the memory and works of L. P. Lhalungpa, Tibetan scholar, broadcaster, and educator.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Project Himalayan Art has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
Boston College and the Patrons of the McMullen Museum have provided major support for the McMullen Museum installation.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this initiative, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.