The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting

    September 3, 2010 - May 23, 2011


    With the destruction of Indian Buddhism in 1203, Tibet's previous source of artistic inspiration was wiped out. Tibetan artists then turned to Nepal, the only nearby surviving center of traditional Buddhist art, and also home to the Newar artists of the Kathmandu Valley who were well known and sought out for their extraordinary skill in painting, sculpture, and wood working.

    Like Tibetan artists, the Newars originally followed a local Indian style, but had since gradually developed their own distinctive style. Within a generation after the disappearance of Indian Buddhism, Tibetans had copied and learned the Newar style, or Beri as it is now known. The style took root and existed for over four centuries, reaching its height from 1360-1460 when it was adopted as Tibet's universal painting style.

    The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting traces the chronological development of the Beri style, highlighting key stylistic features such as dark indigo blue backgrounds, predominant red tones, decorative scrollwork, and distinctive architectural details. Among the most noteworthy works from the exhibition are a masterful painting containing four minutely-detailed mandalas created in the mid-15th century by Newari artists; the last two known major commissions in the Beri style; and important loans from the Walters Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a number of private collections.

    Earlier scholars tended to oversimplify geographical range and sectarian scope of the Beri style, assuming that the majority of Beri paintings were commissioned by the Sakyapa School of Tibetan Buddhism. As a result, a number of important Beri works have hitherto been misidentified as Sakya art. In part, The Nepalese Legacy seeks to correct the erroneous limitation of the Beri style to the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism, and to demonstrate the full extent of its chronological development, religious patronage, and geographic scope.


    Curated by David Jackson

    To learn even more about The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting, read the press release.

     

    Exhibition Catalog

    In this publication, noted scholar David Jackson identifies the full extents of the Beri style, and shows the chronological development, religious patronage, and geographic scope that tie together the development of Beri style. Learn more

    Audio Tour

    Download the exhibition audio tour from iTunes U

    Installation Photographs

    Click here to view the installation of The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting.

     

    Exhibition Catalog

    The Nepalese Legacy in Tibetan Painting

    David P. Jackson
    with contributions from Donald Rubin and Martin Brauen

    With the destruction of India's Buddhist monasteries in 1203, Tibet lost its main source of artistic inspiration. Nepal was the only nearby surviving center of traditional arts, where Newar artists of the Kathmandu Valley had formed their own artistic style. Originally based on Indian artistic models, the Newar gradually developed their own style exemplifying their excellence in painting, sculpture, and woodworking. These talents were not lost on the Tibetans, who copied and learned from their neighbors as the style spread throughout Tibet. This style, now known as Beri, flourished for over four centuries, reaching its height from 1360-1460 when it was adopted as Tibet's universal painting style.

    In this second publication and related exhibition in the "Masterworks of Tibetan Painting" series, noted scholar David Jackson identifies the full extents of the Beri style, and shows the chronological development, religious patronage, and geographic scope that tie together the development of Beri style.

    Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
    Distributor: University of Washington Press, Seattle and London
    Published: September 2010
    Binding: Hardcover and Paperback
    Pages: 240
    ISBN: 978-0-9772131-8-4 (hardcover), 978-0-9772131-7-7 (paperback)

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