Himalayan Region, 1600–1800 A.D.

  • Yama
    69.71
  • Ritual Cabinet
    2015.500.4.21
  • Forehead and poll plate from a shaffron
    2008.291

Timeline

1600 A.D.

1650 A.D.

NEPAL
Kathmandu, Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan kingdoms, 1484–1768
TIBET

1650 A.D.

1700 A.D.

NEPAL
Kathmandu, Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan kingdoms, 1484–1768
TIBET

1700 A.D.

1750 A.D.

NEPAL
Kathmandu, Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan kingdoms, 1484–1768
TIBET
Chinese protectorate, 1717–present

1750 A.D.

1800 A.D.

NEPAL
Kathmandu, Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan kingdoms, 1484–1768
Gokha kingdom, western Nepal, 1768–1846
TIBET
Chinese protectorate, 1717–present

Overview

The title of Dalai Lama is first bestowed on Sonam Gyatso (1543–1588), the third hierarch of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, by the Mongolian prince Altan Khan, a descendent of the great Genghis Khan, in the sixteenth century. Because his two predecessors received the title posthumously, Sonam is called the Third Dalai Lama. His incarnation and successor, the Fourth Dalai Lama, is Mongolian and a relative of the Khan. In 1642, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617–1682), is installed as the undisputed ruler of Tibet. He becomes both a great scholar and an able administrator, earning the nickname “the Great Fifth.” The Fifth Dalai lama creates the Tibetan theocratic state with the Dalai Lama at its head. For a dozen years, news of his death is hidden from the Chinese Qing emperor Kangxi by the regent Sangye Gyatso. Gyatso’s protégé, the Sixth Dalai Lama, accedes in 1695. In 1717, after years of unrest, the Chinese emperor finally installs the Seventh Dalai Lama and proclaims Tibet a Chinese protectorate. Although there are representatives of the Manchus in Tibet, the region is largely left to function independently and does so for the next 200 years.

Toward the end of the fifteenth century, Nepal is divided between the three sons of King Jayayakshamalla into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. Over the next 250 years, the three kingdoms go through a process of consolidation and splintering, culminating in the reunification of the country under the Gorkha king Prithvi Narayana Shah in 1768–69. Kathmandu becomes the capital of the Gorkha kingdom shortly thereafter.

Key Events

  • 1590

    A trade treaty between Nepal and Tibet is signed.

  • 1642

    Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617–1682) is installed as the Fifth Dalai Lama and creates a great theocratic state in Tibet.

  • 1645

    Construction begins on the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s palace, built on a hill dominating Lhasa.

  • 1717

    After years of unrest, the Chinese emperor finally installs the Seventh Dalai Lama and proclaims Tibet a Chinese protectorate.

  • 1768–69

    The Gorkhas conquer the Kathmandu valley.

Citation

“Himalayan Region, 1600–1800 A.D.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=09&region=ssh (October 2003) 

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