Tibetan studies: resources by subject

This section offers a selective list of titles, organized by subject, and should be regarded as a starting place only.  For additional titles, search the University of Toronto Libraries online catalogue, and consult the Columbia Online Research Guide for Modern Tibetan Studies.


Project Himalayan Art

Project Himalayan Art is an interdisciplinary resource for learning about Himalayan, Tibetan, and Inner Asian art and cultures. This three part-initiative—digital platform, publication, and traveling exhibition—is designed to support the inclusion of these cultures into undergraduate teaching on Asia. The project focuses on cross-cultural exchange with Tibet at the center and Buddhism as the thread that connects the diverse cultural regions. This online platform features 108 object-focused essays, introductions to key themes, content from the traveling exhibition, and an interactive map. Supporting multimedia resources provide context to the living ritual, cultural, and art-making practices and traditions of the Himalayas.

Himalayan Art Resources

Online educational resource with over 25,000 images of Tibetan thangkas from collections worldwide, searchable by image, data, and lineage, as well as links to other Tibetan art sites. Includes thematic pages and iconography guides. Established in 1997, it is an excellent online resource for traditional Tibetan art.

The Huntington Archive

The John C. and Susan L. Huntington online photographic archive of Buddhist and Asian art, including more than 30,000 images.

The Rubin Museum of Art : Media Center

This web site brings an innovative experience to use interactive web technologies and elegant design to experience art and understand its role in expressing the human experience.

Engaging Digital Tibet is a project created by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, working together with Professor Gray Tuttle, to enhance the teaching and learning of Tibetan material history. The site contains an advanced, searchable repository of Tibetan objects, as well as unique features for creating and sharing descriptive annotations about the objects and their significant parts, allowing for a collaborative decoding and description of Tibetan culture itself.


Treasury of Lives

Illustrated biographies of religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism, as well as officials and families, each entry linked with the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) and Himalayan Art Resources (HAR). Independent scholars, professors, and graduate students, wrote the biographies and essays now on the site. The website is a project of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Contributions to this collaborative effort are welcome.

The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet, 1920-1950.

This fascinating resource offers biographies on dozens of aristocratic and official figures. 

Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) : Persons


Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) : Places

Tibetan and Himalayan Historical and Cultural Geography (THL)

Geographical Glossary from Matthieu Ricard

Andreas Gruschke. The cultural monuments of Tibet’s outer provinces: Amdo. 2 volumes. Bangkok, Thailand: White Lotus Press. 2001.

Based on Chinese sources and extensive fieldwork and travel in these regions.

Andreas Gruschke. The cultural monuments of Tibet’s outer provinces: Kham. 2 vols. Bangkok, Thailand: White Lotus Press. 2004.

Wu, Zhenhua, ed. Xizang di ming. Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1995.

Chinese names of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) places arranged according to the English alphabet.


See the extensive bibliography "Resources for Tibetan Historical Research" developed by Professor Gray Tuttle as part of the Columbia Online Research Guide for Modern Tibetan Studies project.


An excellent overview can be found in Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre, edited by José Ignacio Cabezón and Roger R. Jackson.  In addition, the THL Tibetan Literary Encyclopedia offers a portal to many useful resources.

Gaṅs-ljoṅs mkhas dbaṅ rim byon gyi rtsom yig gser gyi sbram bu. (Xining: Qinghai Nationalities Publishing House, 2008). 3 volumes. (A prominent collection of classical Tibetan literary works with brief biographies for each author.)


Modern Tibetan Literature Bibliography (A Zotero Group)

Growing database of dozens of secondary research articles, books, and dissertations on Tibetan modern literature; also includes bibliographic information for western-language translations of Tibetan and Chinese-language modern literary works and published writer biographies.


Hartley, Lauran, and Schiaffini, Patricia, eds. Modern Tibetan Literature and Social Change (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008). Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.  

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.  


Deng rabs Bod kyi rtsom pa po'i lo rgyus dang brtsams chos dkar chag.  Hor-gtsaṅ Klu-rgyal gyis bsgrigs. Lanzhou : Kan-suʼu mi rigs dpe skrun khaṅ, 2012.

Contains biographical entries for nearly 300 modern Tibetan writers arranged chronologically by year of birth; several entries include photographs and list the writer's prominent works. 

Deng rabs Bod kyi rtsom pa po'i snyan rtsom phyogs bsgrigs. Hong Kong: Then-mā dpe skrun khaṅ, 1998.  

This collection of poetry by 20th century Tibetan authors features biographical information for each contributor.

High Peaks Pure Earth

A current and rich resource for following Tibetan literary and related cultural trends.  Primarily English translations. Covers in Tibet and in exile.


(This is only a select list. Please search the U of T Online Catalog)

Kan lho'i Bod brgyud Nang bstan sde so so'i lo rgyus mdor bsdus/ Gannan Zangzhuan Fojiao siyuan gaikuang. 3 vols. Kan lho'i lo rgyus Gannan wenshi ziliao, vol. 9, 10, 12. 1991-1995.

Chinese text with proper names given in Tibetan script, covers southern Gansu monasteries.

Dpa' ris kyi Bod brgyud Nang bstan sde lo rgyus mdor bsdus/ Tianzhu Zangzhuan Fojiao siyuan gaikuang. Tianzhu Zangzu zizhixian minzu yinzhuachang. 2000.

Chinese text with proper names given in Tibetan script, covers the northern Gansu Tibetan county of Dpa' ris monasteries.

Khams phyogs Dkar mdzes khul gyi dgon sde so so'i lo rgyus gsal bar bsad pa nan bstan gsal ba'i me long. 3 vols. Beijing : Krung go'i Bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1995.

History of Buddhist monasteries in Dkar mdzes/Ganzi prefecture in eastern Tibet.

Nang chen rdzong srid gros rig gnas lo rgyus gzhung don khang. Khams sgom sde nang chen pa'i dgon khag rnams kyi byung ba phyogs bsgrigs rin chen sgrom brgya 'byed pa'i deb ther gser gyi lde mig. [Skye rgu mdo?] 1999. (Historical survey of monasteries in Nang chen rdzong of Yus hru'u (Yul shul, Yushu) prefecture, Qinghai province. Held and outlined at TBRC.)

Isabelle Charleux. Temples et monastères de Mongolie-intérieure. Paris : Éditions du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques : Institut national d’histoire de l’art, 2006. (List of 157 major monasteries, CD of plans, photos, etc. of some 150 of these.)

Karmay, Samten G. and Nagano, Yasuhiko. 2003. A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya. Bon Studies 7. Senri Ethnological Reports 38. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology. (includes Kham and Amdo).

Paltrul Jampal Lodoe. Bod na bzhugs pa'i rnying ma'i dgon deb = Record of Nyingma monasteries in Tibet. Dalhousie : Paltul Jampal Lodoe, [1965].


Plateau Culture Heritage Protection Group: Collections from the Tibetan Plateau (formerly The Plateau Music Project, highly recommended)

This brilliant 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.

DIGITAL HIMALAYA: "Songs from Chab mdo"

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." 


Early Tibet

by Sam van Schaik


by Dan Martin