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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Arts of Tibet

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

The course addresses the variety of material in Tibetan arts in different regions of the Diaspora. The main elements of sculpture, metalwork and textiles are compared, considering ways that these complement each other in the relevant cultures. Attention is also drawn to the question of sustenance and museum documentation in looking at present day arts and the record of Tibet presented by museums in Asia and the West. Perpetuation of idealised and romantic perceptions of Tibet as ‘Shangrila’ also considered.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate a concentrated knowledge and understanding of aspects of the Tibetan arts. The geographical focus is Tibet and related regions to convey the variety of arts and their complementary roles in the cultures concerned. The time span is purposely broad from ancient to modern with selected case studies of sculpture, metalwork and textiles. The aim is to develop critical and comparative expertise and visual literacy relevant to not only the making but the sustenance of arts of the Tibetan Diaspora.


1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial each week, for 11 weeks.

Method of assessment

Written exam (70%), Essay 1: 2000-2500 words (15%) - DUE Day 3 of Week 7 of the term in which the course is taught Essay 2: 2000-2500 words (15%) - DUE Day 3 of Week 11 of the term in which the course is taught