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Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet

Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet

LaRocca, Donald J., with essays by John Clarke, Amy Heller, and Lozang Jamspal
320 pages
95 illustrations
Justus Lipsius Award (ICOMAM) (2008)
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This volume is the first in-depth examination of the fascinating and virtually unknown subject of armor and weapons from Tibet. Not only the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism, one of the worlds great religions, Tibet over the centuries was also the scene of dramatic artistic, cultural, and political developments involving Tibetan, Mongol, Chinese, Nepalese, and other Himalayan states.

Many of these cultures left behind evocative evidence of their presence and influence in the form of helmets, armor for men and horses, saddles, swords, archery equipment, and other arms, all of which are highly distinctive, with some even being unique examples of previously unknown types. Dating from the 13th to the 20th century, these objects include remarkable examples of pierced ironwork embellished with gold and silver, masterfully crafted swords and sword blades, and extremely rare examples of decorated leatherwork.

Warriors of the Himalayas explores each type in turn by presenting the finest and most unusual examples drawn from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art with key loans from museums in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Armories Museum in Leeds, the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, and the British Museum.

This fully illustrated catalogue features essays by leading scholars in he areas of Tibetan metalwork and iconography and includes the first glossary of Tibetan arms and armor terms, a selection of excerpts from some of the few surviving Tibetan texts relating to this subject, a bibliography, and an index.

Met Art in Publication

The Wrathful Protector Mahakala, Tantric Protective Form of Avalokiteshvara, Distemper on cloth, Tibet
early 18th century
Lamellar Armor (Byang Bu'i Khrab) and Helmet, Iron, leather, Tibetan
possibly 16th–17th century
Lamellar Armor (byang bu'i khrab), Iron, leather, Tibetan
16th–17th century
Eight-Plate Helmet, Iron, copper alloy, leather, possibly Tibetan
8th–10th century
Lamellar Helmet, Iron, leather, Mongolian or Tibetan
13th–15th century
Lamellar Helmet, Iron, leather, probably Mongolian or Tibetan
15th–17th century
Multi-Plate Helmet of Thirty-Two Lames, Iron, silver, gold, brass or copper alloy, Mongolian or Tibetan
possibly 14th–16th century
Multi-Plate Helmet of Thirty-One Lames, Iron, gold, silver, brass or copper alloy, Mongolian or Tibetan
possibly 15th–16th century
Helmet, Iron, gold, silver, turquoise, probably Mongolian
14th–17th century
Helmet, Iron, Mongolian
15th–17th century
Helmet (rmog), Iron, gold, silver, copper, Mongolian
15th–17th century
Helmet of Eight Plates in the Korean Style, Iron, leather, Korean or Mongolian
possibly 14th–16th century
Helmet, Iron, gold, Mongolian or Chinese
Helmet, Iron, gold, silver, textile, Chinese
probably mid- to late 17th century
Helmet, Iron, brass or copper alloy, possibly Iranian or Central Asian
14th–16th century
Helmet, Iron, copper alloy, textile, Western Tibetan or Central Asian, possibly Oriat or Kalmyk Mongol
possibly 16th–17th century
Helmet, Iron, silver, Tibetan or Central Asian
possibly 15th–17th century
Shield (phub), Cane, iron, brass, Tibetan
possibly 14th–16th century
Domed Shield, Cane, iron, brass, silver, pigments, leather, Tibetan
possibly 15th–18th century
Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense), Iron, leather, gold, silver, brass or copper alloy, textile, Tibetan or Mongolian
late 15th–early 17th century
Showing 20 of 109

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View Citations

———. 2006. Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet [Exhibition on View at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 5-July 2, 2006]. New York New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art Yale University Press.