Publication Date

April 2012


Phillip Wagoner


Art History


English (United States)


According to standard interpretations of the Tibetan diaspora, with the incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s, all art in Tibet itself is degenerate, and the Tibetans in exile are framed as the sole custodians of their imperiled traditions. However, is it accurate to portray the 5.4 million Tibetans who still live in Chinese-occupied Tibet as having utterly repudiated their “culture”? This study seeks to answer this question through a comparative study of the parallel developments in diaspora of Tibetan Buddhist sculpture, based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in workshops in exilic Dharamsala, India and in Chengdu, the major Chinese city closest to geographic Tibet.



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