Basic information on the exhibition

The collection of Tibetan art assembled by Hamburg theological scholar and gallery-owner Gerd-Wolfgang Essen comprises over 750 items and is one of the most famous in the world. Thanks to a generous donation by Catherine Oeri it has been in the possession of the Museum der Kulturen Basel since 1998. The collection will be presented to the public on May 6, 2001.

Tibetan art is exclusively religious in nature. Even the creation of works of art is considered a religious act and, to the devout, items retain their divine powers also when on display in an exhibition. The devotional statues, paintings, ritual objects, masks, vestments and temple accoutrements on show, as well as the sand mandala prepared specially for the exhibition, provide insight into every aspect of the tantric Buddhism of Tibet, its pantheon and its complex ritual, and hence also into the religion-based daily life of the Tibetan people. The visitor is introduced to a culture which may hitherto have been totally alien to him. This exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the art and skilled crafts of the country and paints a unique picture of the richly facetted world of Tibetan Buddhism.