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Exhibition Catalogs

If you are interested in purchasing any of these exhibition catalogs, please call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order.

Latest Publications

Collection Highlights

Collection CoverWith contributions by Jan Van Alphen, Beth Citron, Karl Debreczeny, David Jackson, Christian Luczanits, Elena Pakhoutova, and Kathryn Selig Brown


Collection Highlights: The Rubin Museum of Art features 108 works—an auspicious number in Tibetan culture with significance extending into Hinduism and even into popular Western culture—that were chosen by the curatorial team to offer a sense of the geographic, cultural, and chronological breadth of the Museum’s holdings. Stunning visuals are accompanied by brief descriptions that will speak to both lovers of art from the Himalayan region and those who are new to this rich tradition. A special fold-out panel presents the Museum’s Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room.

Price: $45 hardcover; $55 hardcover with custom slipcase

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
ISBN-13 978-0-9845190-6-4
ISBN-10 0-984519-06-8

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order.

The Art of Tibetan Medicine

Bodies in Balance CoverTheresia Hofer

With contributions by Pasang Yontan Arya, Sienna R. Craig, Gyurme Dorje, Yang Ga, Frances Garrett, Barbara Gerke, Knud Larsen, Katharina Sabernig, Geoffrey Samuel, Martin Saxer, Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, and Inger Vasstveith


The Art of Tibetan Medicine is the first comprehensive and illustrated book dedicated to the history, theory, and practice of Tibetan Medicine.

Tibetan medicine is a unique and complex system of understanding body and mind, treating illness, and fostering health and well-being. The Sowa Rigpa, or “the Science of Healing,” as Tibetans call it, has been influenced by Chinese, Indian, and Greco-Arab medical traditions but is distinct from them. Tibetan Medicine developed within the context of Buddhism and was adapted over centuries to different health needs and climates across the region encompassing the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas, and Mongolia. Its focus on a holistic approach to health has influenced western medical thinking about the diagnoses and treatment of illnesses.  

The book, which is generously illustrated with over 200 images, includes essays by ten experts in the field. The volume brings to life the theory and diversity of this ancient healing art.

Price: $60 hardcover

Publishers: Rubin Museum of Art, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London
ISBN: 978-0-295-99359-1

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order.

Previous Publications (A-Z)

Ancestral Realms of the Naxi

Christine Mathieu
and Cindy Ho, Editors

With contributions from Martin Brauen, Guo Dalie, He Lemin, He Zhonghua, Cindy Ho, Lamu Gatusa, Christine Mathieu,  Alexis Michaud, Donald Rubin, and Yang Fuquan


The Naxi people are an ethnic minority living in southwestern China who developed not only their own language but also their own pictographic script (the only living pictographic script in the world today), a rich mythology, and their own religion, complete with complex rituals. The outstanding cultural achievement of the Naxi is their pictographic writing, which is used exclusively for religious purposes. The knowledge and practice of this writing belongs to those who function as priests in Naxi society, called dongba, who perform diverse rituals to aid believers during their lifetimes and at the time of death. The dongba are scholars, artisans, and artists, and their scroll paintings and ceremonial objects show a close connection to works of art and artifacts from Tibet, India, and other regions of China.

This book offers a comprehensive introduction to centuries of Naxi culture, art, and religion and presents outstanding objects from public and private collections, including those collected by Quentin Roosevelt in China. Essays by specialists and scholars in the field of Naxi studies and Chinese and Tibetan art history provide a highly academic standard that is also attractive and accessible.

Price: $30.00

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 
and Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart
Published: April 2011
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 200
ISBN 978-3-89790-343-2

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Artful Beneficence

Melissa R. Kerin

With contributions from Donald Rubin, David R. Nalin, Pratapaditya Pal, and Michael W. Meister



This book, published in conjunction with the exhibition A Collector's Passion: South Asian Selections from the Nalin Collection shown at the Rubin Museum of Art from June 12 through November 9, 2009, places a distinguished private collection in an art historical context, providing insightful and carefully researched observations about iconography, style, and dating in Himalayan art. Melissa R. Kerin, the primary author, worked closely with the collector and other scholars in the field to present accurate and up-to-date information about each object.

Price: $30 (Paperback)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Published: June 2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-0-9772131-5-3 (hc), 978-09772131-6-0 (pb)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

The Black Hat Eccentric

Karl Debreczeny

With contributions by Ian A. Alsop, David P. Jackson, and Irmgard Mengele




This publication is focuses on the life and art of the Tenth Karmapa, an important Tibetan artist of the seventeenth century. The Tenth Karmapa Chöying Dorje (1604-1674) was not only leader of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism but also famous as a great artistic innovator. In particular his works are characterized by playful depictions of animals, which set him apart from other Tibetan artists. This personal story of the life of the artist, deeply sympathetic to Chöying Dorjé, is a version of history seldom told and may surprise some readers. In particular, by drawing on Chöying Dorjé’s autobiographical writings as well as his many biographies the book recounts the dramatic historical events of the seventeenth-century.

The centerpiece of the publication is an inscribed set of paintings by the hand of the Tenth Karmapa, dated 1660, from the Lijiang Municipal Museum, China. Paintings from a related set by the Karmapa’s workshop form the other anchor for the project and demonstrate that teams of artists were trained in the Tenth Karmapa’s fascinating and enigmatic style. Individual paintings and sculptures attributed to the Tenth Karmapa from collections worldwide are brought together for the first time and contextualized by these two aspects of his artistic production.

Price: $75.00

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
Distributor: University of Washington Press
Published: July 2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-0-9772131-0-8x

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Bon: The Magic Word

Samten G. Karmay
and Jeff Watt, Editors

Authors: David L. Snellgrove, Jeff Watt, Samten G. Karmay, Per Kvaerne, Dan Martin, Charles Ramble, and Henk Blezer



"Accepting everything, refusing nothing through the centuries, it is the one all-embracing form of Tibetan religion," the leading Tibetan scholar David L. Snellgrove once said of Bon. This book, the first of its kind to be dedicated solely to the art of Bon religion and culture, aims to explore and reveal the many hidden treasures of this long-overlooked religion. Engaging with great scholars of the field, in particular Samten G. Karmay, the reader is invited to delve into this rich culture. Jeff Watt, curator at the Rubin Museum of Art, defines the field by differentiating between Bon and Buddhist art, with which it so often confused. The other contributors look at specific topics within Bon, including the roots of the religion, its paintings, and its sacred geography, and set the fascinating art and artifacts that are so central to Bon learning within their proper context. The purpose of this book is to inspire an appreciation of the beauty of Bon art while simultaneously enabling an understanding of the ethos of Bon, from its obscure beginnings to the beliefs of the million or more Bonpo practitioners of today.

Price: $20 (Paperback)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Philip Wilson Publisher, London
Published: October 2007
Binding: Hardcover & Paperback
Pages: 232
ISBN: 978-0856676499 (hc), 978-0977213122 (pb)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Buddha in Paradise

Glenn H. Mullin
and Heather Stoddard


The human mind has reached continuously over millennia for visions of realms beyond suffering—without death, pain, longing, or ignorance. In many cultures, terms used to describe such places share the root meaning of "paradise," a "walled garden," and corresponding notions of protection, delight, and contentment. This publication lays out in sculptures and paintings the concept of "paradise" in Tibetan Buddhism, understood through different approaches and teachings, the most radical of which confronts us with the realization that paradise is all around us if we are able to perceive it. Poetry and writings by Buddhist masters, including texts that guide the passage from death to rebirth, are provided to accompany the visual communications of these ideas in paintings, textiles, and sculpture.

Price: $25.00

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Published: October 2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 172
ISBN: 978-0-9772131-1-5

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Demonic Divine

Rob Linrothe and Jeff Watt


Focusing on 66 works of art, the book investigates how the violence, grotesque features, and explicit postures of these "wrathful" figures are displays of protection and benevolence. With nearly 200 color images highlighting both the visual power and artistic craftsmanship of the artwork, the margin between horror and beauty becomes slim. This extensive catalogue includes entries of all exhibited works along with comprehensive essays by the exhibition's curator, Rob Linrothe (Associate Professor of Art History at Skidmore College), Jeff Watt (Director of the Himalayan Art Website), and Marylin Rhie (Professor of Asian Art at Smith College). Matthieu Ricard contributes the catalogue's foreword.

Although drawing primarily from Himalayan work in the RMA permanent collection, the catalog also includes non-Asian art on loan from major museums and private collections. The "demonic divine" is a fundamental paradox not limited by time or geography. Works included range from 13th-century Tibet through 20th-century Mexico.

Price: N/A (OP)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Serindia Publications, Chicago
Published: October 2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 344
ISBN: 1-932476-15-6 (hc), 1-932476-08-3 (pb)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Female Buddhas

Glenn H. Mullin with Jeff Watt


Any visitor to a Tibetan temple will be impressed by the large number of female images that appear in wall frescos and thangka paintings, as well as in the form of sculptures and other mediums. This strong role of the feminine in Tibetan mystical art is common to the chapels of monasteries and nunneries alike as well as communal meditation hermitages and stands in sharp contrast to the predominance of male images seen in the temples of most other Buddhist countries.

But who are these female buddha forms and what do they represent? What is their place in Tibet’s rich spiritual, philosophical and artistic worlds?

This book is a pioneering attempt to find answers to these important questions. It includes over 100 full-color plates of Tibetan masterpieces from the RMA collection.

Price: $39.95 (Hardcover), Softcover (OP)

Publisher: Clear Light Publishers, Sante Fe, New Mexico
Published: 2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
ISBN: 1-57416-068-0

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

The Flag Project

Simon Winchester and Katherine Anne Paul


This catalogue offers an overview of the origins of traditional Himalayan prayer flags as well as a contemporary view of their continued potency in the communication of hope for communal and individual well-being. Also presented are colorful reproductions of the more than 120 contemporary designs made for prayer flags by artists from around the world who contributed their best wishes for the success of the Rubin Museum of Art when it opened in October 2004. RMA commissioned works from contemporary artists to celebrate the opening of the museum, and the works were then printed on pieces of silk cut into small squares and hung in strings in the traditional manner of Tibetan prayer flags. The flags have been shown on several occasions at RMA since 2004. Aloft and aflutter, they have filled the air with good wishes, unfurled joyous colors, and dispensed good fortune. Here, the excellent reproductions are bound in one small volume for individual scrutiny and pleasure.

Price: $10

Published: April 2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-0-9772131-0-8

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

The Flying Mystics of Tibetan Buddhism

Glenn H. Mullin
and Amelia Arenas


Traditional Tibetan literature tells of Buddhist mystics who have taken off in joyful flight. Buddha himself is said to have done so on several occasions, as did Indian masters such as Nagarjuna and Padma Sambhava. The legacy was adopted by Tibetan mystics in the 8th century, with the yogini Yeshey Tsogyal as a prime example, and continued over the centuries. The 11th century yogi and poet Milarepa is another famous flyer.

This historical anecdotes in Tibetan literature and oral tradition that speak of mystics with powers of levitation and flight find their way into Tibetan art. The book features Tibetan artworks, many from the Rubin Museum collection, depicting the literary and oral legacy of levitation and flight among Tibetan mystics.

Price: $30 (Hardcover)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Serindia Publications, Chicago
Published: March 2006
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 248
ISBN: 978-1-932746-18-7

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

From the Land of the Gods

David Pritzker

In Hindu mythology, the Great Himalayan Range is the abode of the gods. Nestled in the lap of these mountains, and surrounded by a ring of snow-capped peaks, lies the Kathmandu Valley. Historically, the kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley comprised the political, religious, and cultural entity now known as Nepal. Located between India and the region of Tibet, the valley acts as a crossroads of trans-Himalayan trade, the shared sacred site of various Himalayan religions, and one of the epicenters for much of Himalayan art. This unique position has fostered a tremendous amount of cultural, social, and religious exchange in Nepal, thus establishing a living creative tradition that is one of the single most important influences in Himalayan art history. From the Land of the Gods: Art of the Kathmandu Valley presents the finest examples of Nepalese art from the Rubin Museum of Art’s permanent collection, highlighting the variety of forms and subjects, techniques and media that emerged from the valley's creative matrix.

Price: $5.00

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
Published: March 2008
Binding: Softcover
Pages: 24

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Grain of Emptiness

Martin Brauen
and Mary Jane Jacob

With a foreword by Donald Rubin


Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art features modern and contemporary art by generationally and culturally disparate artists whose works engage in one way or another with Buddhist precepts and rituals. Video, installation, painting, photography, and performance art by Sanford Biggers, Theaster Gates, Atta Kim, Wolfgang Laib, and Charmion von Wiegand explore the ways in which Buddhism has been incorporated into the lives of people across cultures, opening up a discussion about the practice.

Since the emergence of the conceptual art movement in the 1960s, Western artists have taken up the Buddhist precepts of emptiness and impermanence and examined the ways in which they intersect with our everyday lives. Grain of Emptiness features five inheritors of that mid-century tradition.

Price: $20

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
Published: November 2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 136
ISBN: 978-0-9772131-9-1

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Holy Madness

Rob Linrothe, Editor

Authors: Debra Diamond, Tushara Bindu Gude, Sondra L. Hausner, David Jackson, Matthew T. Kapstein, Rob Linrothe, Christian Luczanits, Dan Martin, Geoffrey Samuel, and E. Gene Smith, with contributions by Kathryn Selig Brown and Caron Smith


Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas is a groundbreaking examination of the art and legends of some of the most colorful characters in South Asian and Himalayan civilizations, the great siddhas (mahasiddhas, great spiritually accomplished ones). The catalogue provides a survey of the format of mahasiddha art and the contexts and purposes for which the art was originally made. It features complete sets of paintings and sculptures—in some cases reconstituting groups that have been dispersed into different Western museum collections. More than 100 works of art are included, from Indian miniatures to contemporary photographs of ascetics, Nepalese clay sculptures, Tibetan woodblock prints, palm-leaf manuscripts, and lifesize bronze sculpture. The various works are compared with art still surviving in situ to give a broad view of this important and charismatic type of religious teacher, one that inspired generations of artists.

Price: $50 (Hardcover), $35 (Softcover)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Serindia Publications, Chicago
Published: February 2006
Binding: Hardcover and Paperback
Pages: 454
ISBN: 978-1932476-26-2 (hc), 978-1-932476-25-5 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

I See No Stranger

B. N. Goswamy
and Caron Smith


Guru Nanak (1469–1539) founded the Sikh religion, calling for the recognition of one god, by whatever name devotees chose to call him and the rejection of superstition, avarice, meaningless ritual, and social oppression. In his radical embrace of all religions, Guru Nanak envisioned a loving god who was outside the bound of any one religion. He upheld the truth of equality among all beings and practiced the quiet heroics of holding up a mirror to foolishness. Meditation and devotion were identified as the work of the private domain and charity, honest work, and service to humanity as the obligations to the social domain. This catalogue brings together and illuminates works of art that identify these core Sikh belies in the period of their early development by the 10 historical Gurus (16th–17th century). The works of art, from the 16th through the 19th century, include paintings, drawings, textiles, and metalwork. The essay and object texts by B. N. Goswamy and Caron Smith provide keen insight into early Sikh devotion and examine the works of art in the contest of the North Indian cultural mix in which they were created.

Price: $35 (Hardcover), $20 (Softcover)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Mapin Publishing, Ahmedabad, India
Published: August 2006
Binding: Hardcover and Paperback
Pages: 214
ISBN: 1-890206-05-9 (hc), 1-890206-05-9 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order


Martin Brauen

With contributions by Karl Debrecseny, Amy Heller, Edward Henning, Christian Luczanits, Ariana Maki, Marylin Rhie, Michael R Sheehy, and Jeff Watt


The mandala depicts a sacred and complex realm. Its most recurrent graphic form is a circle, or a circle in a square. The word mandala means both center and circumference. Mandalas are created as a model for visualization practice as an aid to mediation, enabling an initiate to advance toward a state of enlightenment.

The Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, by Martin Brauen, is an updated edition of his acclaimed volume, first published in 1992. The book, and its related exhibition, Mandala: The Perfect Circle at the Rubin Museum of Art from August 14, 2009 through January 11, 2010, explore the various manifestations of the mandala while simultaneously explaining its symbolism, the means by which it fulfills its function, and its correlation with our physical reality. An important part of the book and the exhibition  focus on the complex symbolism of the number five, which plays an critical role in Tantric Buddhism. This pentarchy is found in the spatial references of the five directions (the four cardinal points plus the center): the five elements, the five colors, the five aggregates, the five wisdoms, and the five Tathagata Buddhas, or transcendent Buddhas. Illustrations include different kinds of mandalas--paintings, three-dimensional works, and ritual objects related to mandala ceremonies and drawn from the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art as well as museum and private collections worldwide. Also illustrated is a mandala ritual with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama presiding as master.

In his concluding chapter, Brauen reflects on the mandala and its relationship to Western philosophy, especially in the work and writings of the renowned Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung.

Price: $70.00

Publishers: Arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart, and Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Published: August 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-3-89790-305-0

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Mirror of the Buddha

David P. Jackson

With contributions from Donald Rubin, Jan van Alphen, and Christian Luczanits


Traditional Tibetan art is largely the fruit of Buddhism; it is meant to convey spiritual truths.  In their art, Tibetans aimed at faithfully transmitting and preserving Buddhism as a spiritual discipline as they had learned it from their Indian Buddhist teachers, either directly or through a transmission that included early Tibetan teachers. Each thangka painting was a small contribution to the larger cause of keeping Buddhism alive and radiant.

In this third volume on Tibetan Painting David Jackson, with Christian Luczanits, investigates painted portraits of such early Tibetan teachers. Images of these eminent personages embodied Buddhist ideals in often idealized human form. In creating these depictions, Tibetan painters of the twelfth through fourteenth century intensely imitated the artistic conventions developed in Pala- and Sena-ruled eastern India (Bengal). This style, called Sharri, spread from India to many parts of Asia, but its classic Indian forms, delicate colors, and intricate decorative details were emulated most faithfully by the Tibetans.

Price: $50 (Hardcover), $35 (Softcover)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Distributor: University of Washington Press, Settle and London
Published: October 2011
Pages: 240
ISBN-13: 978-09845190-2-6 (hc), 978-0-9845190-3-3 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Modernist Art from India

Beth Citron


In 1947, after a century-long struggle against British colonial rule, India became a sovereign nation. The exciting promise and exhilarating freedom of independence was marred that same year by horrific violence accompanying the tumultuous separation of Pakistan from India. These events remain the most important structural moments in twentieth-century South Asian history, defining cultural production in India for generations to come. The exhibition series Modernist Art from India at the Rubin Museum has considered the universal artistic themes of figuration, abstraction, and landscape as they applied to India’s growing modernist art movement during the twentieth century, but especially after the country’s independence. Through the format of a series of exhibitions rather than a single show, Modernist Art from India has shown how these themes are both interconnected and individually important within the trajectory of modern Indian expression. This publication broadly surveys the first two exhibitions in the series, The Body Unbound and Approaching Abstraction, and looks at the third, Radical Terrain, in more depth, particularly the relationships between Indian modernism and international contemporary art that anchor it.

Price: $10.00

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
Published: 2012
Binding: Softcover
Pages: 32; 44 color illustrations

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order


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.

Price: $50 (Hardcover), $35 (Softcover)

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 (hc), 978-0-9772131-7-7 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Paradise and Plumage

Rob Linrothe


This 104-page volume celebrates and explores the artistic exchange between Tibet and China from the 13th to the 19th century, taking the theme of Buddhist arhat painting as a concise lens through which to view the wider ramifications of artistic and cultural interaction. Examining the exchange of motifs, compositions, and modes of representation, Paradise and Plumage reveals the creative reassignment of meaning when Tibetan artists appropriate aspects that may derive from older Chinese traditions and vice versa.

The catalog features a rich selection of objects and paintings, ranging from a fine 17th-century Kesi textile from the Newark Museum to a delicate mid-14th-century hanging scroll from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Also included are traditional arhat objects, such as furniture, pottery, pieces of coral and turquoise, and scholars' rocks.

Price: $10

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and Serindia Publications, Chicago
Published: April 2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 104
ISBN: 1-932476-07-5

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Patron and Painter

David P. Jackson

With an essay by Karl Debreczeny


Patron and Painter focuses on the life and work of an important historical artist, Situ Panchen Chokyi Junge (1700-1774) and his revival of a great Tibetan painting tradition known as the Karma Gardri or Encampment Style. It is clear, precise, and spacious, with marked Chinese influence evident in the use of pastel colors and prominent stylized features of landscape. David P. Jackson has unlocked Situ's diaries and journals and mapped his journeys, recounting some of his encounters with the military, political, and religious leaders of this time and recording some of his amazing achievements in fields ranging from art to medicine. This publication begins to visually tell the story of Situ's paintings and his role as a patron and designer of paints, many of which continue to be copied to this day.

Price: $50 (Hardcover), $35 (Softcover)

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Distributer: University of Washington Press, Seattle and London
Published: 2009
Binding: Cloth and Paperback
Pages: 304; 190 color illustrations
ISBN: 978-09772131-4-6 (hc); 978-0-9772131-3-9 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Patterns of Life

Thomas Cole

With an introduction
by Diana K. Myers


For centuries Tibetans have used carpets for decorative and functional purposes, favoring colorful dyes and lively designs to enrich their homes and monasteries. Not bound by the codified rules governing the creation of religious art, the artisans who wove carpets often demonstrated a delightful sense of imagination in their work, drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources. Carpet motifs such as medallions and checkerboard patterns suggest considerable influence from Tibet's historical textile trading partners, countries as close as China and as distant as Iran. Other popular imagery, such as the snow lion, is indigenous to the region.

With exceptional examples of saddle rugs, sleeping rugs, pile pillows, cushion covers, and door rugs, Patterns of Life explores the stylistic variety and uses of Tibetan carpets in the everyday life of the Tibetan people.

Price: $30

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art
Published: 2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 104; 60 full-color illustrations
ISBN: 13:978-0-9845190-0-2

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Place of Provenance

David P. Jackson

With an essay by Rob Linrothe


Historians of Tibetan painting struggle to establish such basic points as iconographical content, place of origin, age, religious affiliation, and painting school or style, especially when confronted by portable works that were removed from their original monasteries and scattered throughout the world. In this groundbreaking catalog, the authors locate paintings geographically using the method similar to that used for locating paintings in time. In both cases they identify the historical people connected with the painting through analyzing the portraits, inscriptions, and lineages that it contains. Then, by establishing where the key people involved in the painting lived and died, and with which monasteries and traditions they were most closely linked, they draw conclusions about the painting’s provenance and style, providing a bed rock of scholarship to support a new era in the field of Tibetan art history.

Price: $75.00 (Hardcover), $60.00 (Softcover)

Binding: Hardcover, Softcover
 288, 240 color illustrations
Trim Size: 10 x 12 in.
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0-9845190-5-7 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 098451905X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9845190-4-0 (softcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9845190-4-1

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order


Tradition Transformed

With essays by Michael R. Sheehy, Anna Bremm, and HG Masters


Many Tibetan artists are trained in painting through the strict interpretations prescribed by Buddhist spiritual formulas and artistic norms. But in the complex interaction between the traditional and the modern, some artists are breaking out of this mold and creating their own artwork deeply influenced by centuries-old customs but wholly new. In this catalog, nine artists—Dedron, Gonkar Gyatso, Losang Gyatso, Kesang Lamdark, Tenzin Norbu, Tenzing Rigdol, Pema Rinzin, Tsherin Sherpa and Penba Wangdu—combine modernity and tradition, using alternative media and sacred symbols extracted from their religious context, to create groundbreaking contemporary artwork that continues to have deep ties to Tibetan traditions. The essays by Michael Sheehy, Anna Bremm, and HG Masters explore what it means to be a contemporary artist in a traditional culture and a diaspora, while the interview with Paola Vanzo by Sheehy describes the present and future of contemporary Tibetan art.

Price: $38

Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art, New York, and ArtAsiaPacific
Published: 2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 184
ISBN: 978-0-9845626-0-3

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Victorious Ones

Phyllis Granoff, Editor

Authors: John E. Cort, Robert J. Del Bontà, Paul Dundas, Phyllis Granoff, Julia A. B. Hegewald, Padmanabh S. Jaini, Kim Plofker, and Sonya Rhie Quintanilla


Jainism is one of India's three classical religions, along with Buddhism and Hinduism. Though older than Buddhism by a generation, the two religions arose and first spread in northeastern India and have much in common. Both Buddhism and Jainism aim to offer practitioners a path to follow that leads from the painful cycle of endless rebirths to liberation from all suffering. Both religions also rejected many of the practices and ideas of early Hinduism, particularly its core ritual of a sacrifice that involved the killing of animals, preaching instead a doctrine of nonviolence. Today, nonviolence, the commitment to an ethic that regards all life, animal and human, as inviolate, continues to be the heart of Jain practice and belief.

With essays by leading scholars of Asian religions and art, this catalog illuminates the core ideas of Jainism and the founding figures of Jainism, the Jinas, "Conquerors" or Tirthankaras, and the various spaces they sanctify.  The Jinas, having achieved liberation and escaped from the world in which we live, are nonetheless considered to remain accessible to us as objects of our devotion.  For the majority of Jains, the Jinas are present to us in many different kinds of sacred spaces across the universe.  Their images and temples exist throughout the vast reaches of the cosmos. We see them carefully depicted on painted maps of the Jain universe. Closer to home some Jains worship them at famous pilgrimage sites and in private domestic shrines. This publication brings together sculptures and paintings of the Jinas, depictions of many kinds of Jain sacred spaces, as well as illustrated manuscripts of Jain sacred texts. Many of the objects discussed and illustrated here have never before been published.

Price: $50 (Hardcover), $35 (Paperback)

Publishers: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd, Ahmedabad, India, and Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Published: September 2009
Binding: Hardcover and Paperback
Pages: 308
ISBN: 978-81-89995-29-4 (hc), 978-0-944142-83-7 (sc)

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Visions of the Cosmos

Bonnie Lee, Steven Soter

For thousands of years, humans have tried to understand the motions of the stars and the structure of the universe. Looking to the sky—at first with only bare eyes and then with devices of evolving sophistication—peoples of all times and places have recorded their theories of the cosmos in words and images for contemporary discourse as well as the benefit of later generations. 

An exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art presented a number of these attempts to define the cosmos from a variety of times, places, and traditions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, medieval Christianity, Renaissance science, and modern astrophysics. It demonstrated not only the great diversity in how humans have envisioned the universe but also some striking similarities that appear in cultures separated by great periods of time and geographic distance. A selection from the exhibition is reproduced in this publication.

Price: $10.00

Published: December 2009
Binding: Softcover
Pages: 32

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order

Worlds of Tranformation

Marylin M. Rhie
and Robert A.F. Thurman


In continuing their groundbreaking work to understand and make accessible the complexity of Tibetan art, Marylin Rhie and Robert Thurman have produced a second volume devoted to the study of tangka painting. Their earlier volume, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet offered a significant introduction and analysis of Tibetan sacred painting. Worlds of Transformation furthers our understanding of this art, opening our imagination to the limitless possibilities of life itself. The thangkas, from the collections of Shelley and Donald Rubin, span the 12th through 20th centuries and the spectrum of Tibetan artistic schools.

This monumental volume presents an analysis of each painting in terms of iconography and religious meaning, style, regional lineage and sources. Each painting is reproduced in color and most are published here for the first time. In addition, an essay by David Jackson offers an excellent overview on paintings from the Kagyupa order.

Price: $50 (Hardcover) $20 (Paperback) 

Publisher: Tibet House, New York, in association with the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation
Published: 1999
Binding: Hardcover and Paperback
Pages: 480
ISBN: 0-8109-6387-6

To purchase: Call 212.620.5000 x350 or email to place your order