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Exhibition April 5-July 2, 2006
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

This exhibition is the first detailed survey of traditional armor and weapons from the Tibetan plateau. Until recently, these objects were understood to represent only a few generic types and were dismissed as archaic and simplistic. A more careful appraisal, however, reveals a far wider and surprisingly nuanced variety of styles, decorative techniques, materials, dates, and cultural influences that have been previously unknown or simply overlooked.

Armor and weapons are certainly not what come to mind when considering Tibet, which is identified with the pacifism and deep spirituality of the Dalai Lama and with the compassionate nature of Tibetan Buddhism. This seeming paradox, however, is resolved in the context of Tibetan history, which included regular and extended periods of intense military activity from the seventh to the mid-twentieth century.

From the Introduction


(click on the small image for full screen image with caption.)

all text & images © Metropolitan Museum of Art

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