This book focuses on the Ashmolean Museum's important collection of Buddhist metal sculptures and other works of religious art from the Himalayan regions of Tibet and Nepal. Mainly these works date from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, before the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. But many of the finest examples in the collection belong to the earlier, formative periods of Himalayan art, c.700-1400 AD. They include superb and graceful images of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist deities, conveying a powerful sense of spirituality. Besides religious images in bronze, silver, stone or wood, there is also a wide range of decorative metalwork, including a rare early silver vase decorated with phoenixes and a variety of brass protective amulets (tokcha) worn by devout Tibetans over the centuries. Many are outstanding works of art, while others are of rare and little-studied types. These richly diverse works of early Himalayan art are fully catalogued and illustrated, in many cases for the first time, in this book by Amy Heller.
They are also set within their historical and cultural context in her introductory essay, 'Tracing the development of early Himalayan sculpture'.