The Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world and form an imposing geographical barrier. This has created a cultural threshold between the region and the other great cultures of Asia, allowing for the flourishing of distinctly Himalayan artistic traditions. The museum’s collection is primarily comprised of scroll paintings (thangka) and sculptures from the region, but also includes a wide variety of artwork, including masks, textiles, and illuminated manuscripts.
The Rubin Museum currently features the permanent collection in two remarkable exhibitions. The exhibition Gateway to Himalayan Art features a wide range of art objects intended to introduce this rich heritage. At this exhibition, visitors can become acquainted with the common visual language of Himalayan art, the materials and techniques used in creating these works, and the principal purposes for producing them. The variety and quality of Himalayan artistic traditions represented in the Rubin Museum’s collection is highlighted in Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection. This exhibition introduces the main branches and styles of Himalayan art, their resonance and dialogue with neighboring traditions, and major developments over the last millennium.