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Home > Staff members > Associate members and guest researchers

NAMGYAL-LAMA Kunsang

Kunsang Namgyal-Lama is an art historian. She is particularly interested in the study of Buddhist clay images (mouldings and stampings) which are called tsha tsha in the Tibetan world. Their mass production using moulds is supposed to enable Buddhists—both the clergy and the laity—to generate and to accumulate great merit but also to purify the mind of faults and obscurations that hinder their progress on the path to enlightenment. The work towards her thesis via a multidisciplinary approach based on the study of textual sources, a broad census of tsha tsha and field observations highlighted the all too often underestimated contribution these images make to the history of Tibetan art in terms of documentation; they also shed light on certain aspects regarding religious anthropology, philology or paleography.

A post-doctoral researcher and member of the Kham project (funded by the ERC), she carried out a study on metalwork and on the associated shaping techniques (especially using the sand casting process) to produce sculptures, liturgical objects, ornaments but also weapons in the ancient kingdom of Derge. This work consists in documenting features that characterize Khampa metallurgical production (iconography, style, aesthetics and techniques), in understanding how knowledge about arts and crafts is handed down through generations and how these objects have circulated and have been marketed, for example, through the ages.

She also lectures in the history of Nepalese and Tibetan art at INALCO (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales).

Keywords
- Tibetan art
- sculpture
- painting
- iconography
- tsha tsha
- stupa
- rituals
- Buddhism

Fieldwork
- Tibet
- Nepal
- Indis

Main publications

2014 "Du sacré produit en masse : les tsha tsha du monde tibétain", in Revue Histoire de l’art , No. 73, p. 43-50.

2013 , "Tsha tsha Inscriptions: A Preliminary Survey", in Tibetan Inscriptions, Proceedings of a Panel held at the Twelfth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies , Vancouver 2010, Kurt Tropper and Cristina Scherrer-Schaub (éds.), Leiden, Brill : 1-41.

2013, Les tsha tsha du monde tibétain : études de la production, de l’iconographie et des styles des moulages et estampages bouddhiques. – Doctorat - Histoire de l’art et archéologie — Paris : Université de Paris IV Sorbonne, 4 tomes, 959 p.

2004, Étude iconographique et stylistique des tsha tsha des marges occidentales du plateau tibétain (XI-XVIe siècles) — Mémoire de DEA - Histoire de l’art et archéologie — Paris : Université de Paris IV Sorbonne, 254 p.
 
 
Video : Chiseling and sand casting in Derge (Kham, Tibet) in Tashi Wangyal and Migyur Tashi’s workshop, filmed by Kunsang Namgyal-Lama and Rémi Chaix, June 2015.