B U DD H I S T TR E A S U R E S I N M O N G OLIA – TAASA Review September 2012


This article was originally found in the September 2012 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 21, Issue 3, Page 14).

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Jackie Menzies W ithin the collections of the museums and temples of Ulaanbaatar, capital of the People’s Republic of Mongolia, are splendid Buddhist paintings, sculptures and textiles that testify to a powerful and wealthy tradition, despite so much being destroyed in the extensive sackings of monasteries and temples during the Communist repression of Buddhism during the 1930s.

The Buddhist art extant today provides tantalising insights into the complex interrelationships between the khans (territorial chieftains) of Mongolia, the Dalai Lamas of Tibet, and the Manchu emperors of Qing China (1644-1912).

The art demonstrates a Mongolian nuanced extension of the iconography and styles of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly that of the Gelug school, the largest of the four main Tibetan schools of Buddhism, and the one to which the Dalai Lamas belong...