Visualizing Cultural Reproduction In Sikkim: A Material Culture Approach

Sikkim has preserved quite unique cultural artifacts of Tibetan Buddhism, and among those the most renowned is the thangka paintings. Through this project I would attempt to understand the cultural phenomenon of thangka paintings, how it has transformed in recent times. Thangka paintings portray the cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism, and it has captured the popular imagination on thinking about Himalayan region in general. The art of making thangka has sacred qualities, it is made to express devotion to Buddha, and the artist is paid reverence for engaging in the noble art. Now this same art form is being displayed across the world ingalleries and private collections, what happens when a piece of sacred object for one culture becomes art for another? I would interview artists working in Sikkim, asking questions about how have things changed for them? Exploring the role of Namgyal Institute and its collections in preservation of the tradition.

Faculty Supervisor:

Sara Shneiderman


Aadil Brar






University of British Columbia



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