Pixel Dharma

Himalayan Art Resources director Jeff Watt speaks about using the Internet to catalogue iconography

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Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) is the world’s largest educational resource for Himalayan art and iconography. Existing entirely as an online collection, HAR has catalogued and uploaded over 60,000 images in the 15 years since the organization was started. Founded in 1997 by Donald and Shelley Rubin, who were looking for a way to display their private collection of Himalayan art in order to ensure that their pieces wouldn’t languish forgotten in the basement of some art museum HAR has grown from 625 pieces to tens of thousands, and today has partnerships with over 100 institutions, museums, and art foundations.

The director and chief curator of HAR is Himalayan art scholar Jeff Watt, the founding curator of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City and a longtime Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. (Tricycle online readers might recognize Watt as the author of our weekly blog feature “Himalayan Buddhist Art 101.”) The sheer number of images that HAR has been able to locate, identify, and put online with extensive accompanying information—a feat possible solely because the technological advancements of the last 20 years—has put HAR in a unique position to revolutionize the way that the world views, studies, and understands Himalayan art.

—Emma Varvaloucas, Associate Editor


Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) isn’t merely an online museum or collection of Himalayan art. What are you? HAR is a service organization. Our mission is not only to record all of the Tibetan and Himalayan style art that we can find—everything that’s in museums and private collections around the world—but also to make it available for educational purposes: for art history, the general study of art, and for religious studies.

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