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The Tenth Karmapa and Tibet’s Turbulent 17th Century Conference

The Tenth KarmapaChöying Dorje (1604-1674); Two Arhats and Dharmatäla Viewing Painting (detail), from a set of seven paintings; Lijiang, Yunnan; Dated 1660; Ink and pigment on silk; 68x 42 cm; Lijiang Municipal Museum (no. 439.3).

The International conference “The Tenth Karmapa and Tibet’s Turbulent 17th century” will explore different aspects of Choying Dorje’s life, art, and the tumultuous times in which he lived. Some of the world’s most accomplished academics in the field will be taking part in the conference Friday 9 – Sunday 11 November 2012. These include Director of the Amnye Machen Institute Tashi Tsering, researcher in Tibetan Studies and former Director of Research in history and anthropology at the National Center of Scientific Research, Paris, Samten Karmay, Director of the Latse Library Pema Bhum, Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Elliot Sperling, Adjunct Researcher at Monash Asia Institute David Templeman, Professor and head of Tibetan Studies at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris Heather Stoddard, lecturer in Tibetan language and poetry at Indiana University Gedun Rabsal, Assistant Professor of Theology at Georgetown University Benjamin Bogin, Researcher at the Palace Museum in Beijing Luo Wenhua, and Rubin Museum of Art curators Karl Debreczeny, Christian Luczanits and David Jackson.


Conference Agenda

Friday, November 9

5:00 p.m. | Tour of Place of Provenance with Curator David Jackson

6:00 p.m. | Meet-and-greet at the K2 Lounge, Rubin Museum

7:00 p.m. | Welcome by Rubin Museum Chief Curator Jan van Alphen

Keynote presentation: Tashi Tsering (Director, Amnye Machen Institute, Dharamsala, India) – ‘The Biography in 1775 Kam tshang Gser phreng and Other Material on the Life of the 10th Karma pa’

Discussant: Elliot Sperling (Indiana University, IN)


Saturday, November 10


10:00 a.m. | Panel 1: The Tenth Karmapa: His Life

Benjamin Bogin (Georgetown University) –Portrait of the Artist as a Young Buddha: Literary Representations of the Tenth Karmapa's Childhood’

Gedun Rabsal (Indiana University) – "Vajra Melodies: Reading the Tenth Karma-pa's Songs (mgur) and Poetry"

Respondent: Pema Bhum (Director, Latse Library, NYC)

11:30 a.m. | Lunch [Lunch will be available for purchase at the cafe and a select lunch menu will be provided to conference attendees.]

1:30 p.m. | Panel 2: The Tenth Karmapa: His Art

Karl Debreczeny (Rubin Museum of Art, NYC) – "From Hand of the Master to Workshop Production: Paintings Attributed to the Tenth Karmapa"

Christian Luczanits (Rubin Museum of Art, NYC) – "Inspired by the Past: the art of Choying Dorje and Western Himalayan sculpture"

Luo Wenhua (Palace Museum, Beijing) – ‘A So-called Tang Sculpture with Tibetan Inscription Attributed to Choying Dorje in the Palace Museum’

David Jackson (Seattle, WA) – "Cracking the Jargon: Art Historical Terms from the Life of the Tenth Karmapa"

Respondent: Heather Stoddard (INALCO, France)

4:00 p.m. | Break

4:30 p.m. | Panel 3: Seventeenth Century Historical Context

Samten Karmay (CNRS, France) – "Rise of the Fifth Dalai Lama and His Relationship with the Tenth Karmapa"

David Templeman (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia) – "The World Upside Down: Religious Prelates and Secular Rulers in 17th century Tsang"

Respondent: Elliot Sperling (Indiana University)


Sunday, November 11

Institutional Landscapes and Intellectual Codifications in Tibet’s Long Seventeenth Century
A Workshop co-organized with Columbia University

10:30 a.m. | Panel 1

David Templeman (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia) – "The Gtsang Sde srid and their Strategies of Legitimation"

Tashi Tsering (Amnye Machen Institute, Dharamsala, India) – "Setting up the Rules of Power: The Conceptual Background of Dga'Idan Pho brang's Foundations"

Elliot Sperling (Indiana University, IN) – "The Mongol Presence in Tibet during Tibet's 2nd Mongol Century"

Respondent: Benjamin Bogin (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.)

12:00 p.m. | Lunch [ [Lunch will be available for purchase at the cafe and a select lunch menu will be provided to conference attendees.]

1:30 p.m. | Panel 2

Amy Heller (SOAS, France) – "Converting Hagiography to History: A Series of 'Brug pa bk' brgyud pa thangka Lingking Tibet and Bhutan"

Andrew Quintman (Yale University, CT) & Kurtis Schaeffer (University of Virginia, VA) – "The Life of Shakyamuni at Jonang: Preliminary Observations of Literature, Art and Instution"

Respondent: Elena Pakhoutova (Rubin Museum of Art)

3:00 p.m. | Break

3:15 p.m. | Panel 3

Gray Tuttle (Columbia University, NY) – "Increased Reincarnate Lineage Foundations in the 17th Century in Their Historical Context"

Stacey Van Vleet (Columbia University, NY) – "A Preliminary Outline of the Spread and Development of Sman pa Grwa Tshang during Tibet’s long 17th Century"

Lan Wu (Columbia University, NY) – "Amdo Reincarnation Lineages as Institutions"

Respondent: Heather Stoddard (INALCO, France)


For more details on the Sunday workshop co-organized by Columbia University, visit



The conference is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.


Travel support for this conference has been granted, in part, by the Asian Cultural Council.