Tibetan Studies Introductory Research Guide: Special Topics

A basic research guide for the study of Tibetan societies and cultures across the Himalayan region, with a focus on western-language sources. For a more advanced guide that also includes Chinese and Tibetan resources, see bottom-left links below.

Special Topics: Western Language Resources


Himalayan Art Resources
Online educational resource with tens of thousands images of Tibetan and Himalayan art from over 300 museums, organizations, and individuals worldwide, searchable by image, data, and lineage.  An excellent online resource for traditional Tibetan art.

The Huntington Archive
John C. and Susan L. Huntington online photographic archive of Buddhist and Asian art, including more than 200,000 images.

This website, now hosted by the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art, brings an innovative experience to use interactive web technologies and elegant design to experience art and understand its role in expressing the human experience.

Dharmapala Thangka Centre: School of Thangka Painting
This site is a portal to many thangka images, as well as information on the art of thankga painting.

Exploring the Mandala
Anything related the Mandala, including many online resources.      

Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Art 
Images and information on the early art and archaeology of the western Himalayas, from the homepage of Himalayan Art scholar Christian Luczanits.



Rubin Museum of Art
List of educational resources for the study of Himalayan art.  Includes the Educational Interactive Library, a site for exploring thangka and other artistic images by theme, time, and place.  An excellent online resource for traditional Tibetan art.

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Built in 1945, the museum building is the earliest Himalayan style architecture in the United States.

Newark Museum, Tibetan Collection Exhibitions
Newark Museum, Tibetan Collection Exhibitions.

The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Article about the Central Asian art exhibit at the Hermitage museum, reopened in February 2013.

National Museum of Bhutan




A preliminary listing of the websites of individual Tibetan artists. To recommend additional sites, please e-mail lh2112@columbia.edu.

Gongkar Gyatso

CLIO Search

One of the most effective searches for resources on Tibetan environmental issues can be done in CLIO, Columbia's online catalog, by using the NEW CLIO Search interface.  This will search both books and journal articles, including hundreds of studies on geological and climate-related research on the Tibetan Plateau. 

See here for a sample of search results. Be sure to click on "View and filter all ### results" at the top of each box, for the full results list.

New and Noteworthy:

Online Resources

Tibetan Plateau Ecoregion

Studies Published by the Central Tibetan Administration (Dharamsala, India)

This is a preliminary list of Tibetan-related Films. Please check back soon for updates. 1/14/2015
(For additional titles, search CLIO.)


  • Kekexili
  • Saltmen of Tibet
  • Summer Pasture
  • Valley of the Heroes
  • Nowhere To Call Home
  • Summer Pasture
  • Islam in Tibet
  • Nangchen Shorts
  • Leaving Fear Behind


  • Serf
  • Horse Thief
  • Himalaya Wang zi (Himalaya Prince)

Films that are on Order: (please contact lh2112@columbia.edu) to rush request.





3.  Crazy Wisdom


4.  When the Iron Bird Flies


5.  Brilliant Moon


6.  Tibetan Book of the Dead


7.  Sunrise/Sunset


8.  A Gesar Bard's Tale


For an extensive guide on Tibetan historical research, click the link for History in the Columbia Online Research Guide for Modern Tibetan Studies.


Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre, edited by José Ignacio Cabezón and Roger R. Jackson

THL Tibetan Literary Encyclopedia


Hartley, Lauran, and Schiaffini, Patricia, eds. Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008). Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.  CLIO Record
Venturino, Steven J. Contemporary Tibetan literary studies. PIATS 2003 : Tibetan studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003. Leiden: Brill, 2007.  CLIO Record

High Peaks Pure Earth

Works Translated from Tibetan

Bhum, Pema. Six Stars with a Crooked Neck: Memoirs of the Cultural Revolution. Translated by Lauran Hartley. Dharamsala: Tibet Times, 2001.

Dondrup Gyal (Don grub rgyal). “‘Waterfall of Youth’.” [Poem] Translated by Tsering Shakya. Manoa 12, no. 2 (2000): 9–13.

———. Thöndrupgyäl. L’artiste tibétain : petit roman. Translated by Francoise Robin. Paris: Bleu de Chines, 2007.  CLIO Record  

———. Thöndrupgyäl. La fleur vaincue par le gel : roman. Translated by Francoise Robin. Paris: Bleu de Chine, 2006. CLIO Record 

Dorje Rinchen (Rdo-rje-rin-chen). “Roadside Journal.” Translated by Lauran Hartley. Exchanges (Journal of the Translation Laboratory at Iowa University), n.d.

Gendun Chopel (Dge ’dun chos ’phel). In the Forest of Faded Wisdom: 104 Poems by Gendun Chopel. Edited and translated by Donald S. Lopez. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009. CLIO Record 

Jangbu (Ljang bu). Nine-Eyed Agate: Poems and Stories. Translated by Heather Stoddard. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010.

Ju Kalzang ('Ju Skal-bzang). “Tibet, Mother, Mani.” [Poem] Translated by Lauran Hartley. Lungta 12, no. 1999 Summer: 37.

Phuntsog Tashi (Phun tshogs bkra shis). “Guests of the Or Tog Bar.” Translated by Patricia Shiaffini-Vedani. World Literature Today 2004, no. Jan-April (2004): 57–61.

Sangye Gyatso. “’Khor Ba’i Snying Bo =  The Essence of Samsara.” [Poem] Translated by Francoise Robin. Latse Library Newsletter 1 (2003): 16–25.

Tailing, W. (Bkras-gling) Secret Tale of Tesur House. Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 1998.

Tsering Dondrup (Tshe ring don grub). “A Show to Please the Masses.” Translated by Lauran Hartley. Persimmon: Asian Literature, Arts and Culture, 2, no. 2 (Fall 2000): 61–77.

Yangtsokyi (G.yang-’tsho-skyid) “Journal of the Grassland.” Translated by Lauran Hartley. Beacons 4, (ATA Journal of Literary Translation) 4 (1998): 99–111.

Works Translated from Chinese

Alai. Red Poppies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

———. Tibetan Soul: Stories. Translated by Karen Gernant and Zeping Chen. Portland, ME: MerwinAsia, 2012.

Batt, Herbert J. Tales of Tibet: Sky Burials, Prayer Wheels, and Wind Horses. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Tashi Dawa. Soul in Bondage: Stories from Tibet. Beijing: Panda Books, 1992.

Original English Language Works by Tibetan Authors

Sonam, Bhuchung. Yak Horns : Note on Contemporary Tibetan Writing, Music, Film & Politics. Dharamsala: Tibet Writes, 2012. CLIO Record  

Norbu, Jamyang. Sherlock Holmes: Missing Years. New York: Bloomsbury, 1999. CLIO Record

Thubten Samphel. Falling through the Roof. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2008. CLIO Record

Dhompa, Tsering Wangmo. In the Absent Everyday. Berkeley, Calif. : Apogee Press, 2005. CLIO Record

———. My Rice Tastes Like the Lake. Berkeley, Calif. : Apogee Press, 2011. CLIO Record

———. Rules of the House. Berkeley, Calif. : Apogee Press, 2002. CLIO Record

Woeser. Tibet’s True Heart: Selected Poems. Translated by A.E. Clark. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Ragged Banner Press, 2008. CLIO Record

Related Dissertations

Hartley, Lauran. “Contextually Speaking : Tibetan Literary Discourse and Social Change in the People’s Republic of China (1980-2000).” Indiana University, 2003. CLIO Record
Jabb, Lama. “Modern Tibetan Literature and the Inescapable Nation.” Oxford University, 2013.
Schiaffini-Vedani, Patricia. “Tashi Dawa: Magical Realism and Contested Identity in Modern Tibet." University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
Shakya, Tsering Wangdu. “Emergence of Modern Tibetan Literature : Gsar Rtsom.” School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), 2004.
Virtanen, Riika. “Tibetan Written Images : A Study of Imagery in the Writings of Dhondup Gyal.” University of Helsinki, 2011.
Yangdon Dhondup. “Caught Between Margins: Culture, Identity and the Invention of a Literary Space in Tibet.” School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2004.
For additional resources, click on "Literature" in the Columbia Online Research Guide (right side-bar here).

This grass-roots preservation project offers hundreds of recordings of folk songs and folk tales, recorded since 2005 by local volunteers from the English Training Program at Qinghai Normal University (Qinghai Province). Beginning in late 2007, the project expanded to record endangered songs of other ethnic minority groups such as the Naxi and Pumi ethnicities in China’s Yunnan Province.

Description per Digital Himalaya (U of Cambridge): "These songs were recorded in Skar ma Village, Chab mdo City, in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Skar ma Village is an agro-pastoralist community about 1,080 kilometers from Lhasa; all residents are Tibetan. The songs in this collection were recorded in 2007 by Bsod nams dung mtsho, and all were sung by Bsod nams 'byor ldan, a male who, at the time of recording, was in his sixties. Except the first track, all are dancing songs."

Includes biographies for several leading Tibetan singers, as well as other resources.  For example, a truncated keyword search for "Tibet*" retrieves more than 100 search results.  Access restricted to subscribers. At Columbia, use a campus computer or log-in remotely via proxy.