Locating Tibetan Art: The Ethics and Aesthetics of the Younghusband Mission to Tibet 1903-4


Dr. Clare Harris, Reader in Visual Anthropology and Curator for Asian Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Monday 11th November 2013, Mansfield Cooper, 4.10, 5-6.30pm

Focusing on the Younghusband Mission of 1903-4, this paper argues that the term ‘Tibetan Art’ was born during a military incursion into Tibet. The paper explores the idea of locating Tibetan art in two senses: as a process of discovery and acquisition in the mansions and temples that were abandoned as the British troops blasted their way into Tibet, and as a method of inserting Tibet into the classificatory systems of British art appreciation when, in the aftermath of the Younghusband Mission, the spoils of war were accommodated and domesticated in private and public spaces of display back in England.

Clare Harris is Reader in Visual Anthropology and Curator for Asian Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Her research and publications focus on the material and visual cultures of the Himalayas and Tibet, museums, displays and collections histories, contemporary art, photography and the politics of representation. Her most recent book is,The Museum on the Roof of the World: Art, Politics and the Representation of Tibet (2012).

Everyone welcome !

For further information please contact: Louise.Tythacott@manchester.ac.uk