Christian Luczanits inspecting a manuscript together with Khenpo Tsewang Rigzin at Namgyal Monastery, Mustang.


Since September 2014 I am David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Short Biography

I studied Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, Austria, with a focus on art historical subjects. There I completed his PhD under the external supervision of the late Maurizio Taddei, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli.

Following his PhD I held research positions at the University of Vienna until 2000, the Austrian Academy of Sciences from 2000 to 2003, the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2003/04, and at the Lumbini International Research Institute, 2005/06.

I also held visiting professorships at UC Berkeley in 2004/05, at Free University in Berlin 2006–08, and at Stanford University and UC Berkeley in the first half of 2010.

While teaching in Berlin, I also curated the exhibition "Gandhara – the Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan. Legends, Monasteries and Paradise" at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland together with Michael Jansen and was responsible for its catalogue. Before joining SOAS in September 2014 I have been Senior Curator at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York.


I only started to photograph when it became clear that there is plenty of art historical information in situ that has not been documented. I quickly improved my photography and made documentation a priority. All documentation of the 1990ies is currently housed in the Western Himalayan Archive Vienna (WHAV), University of Vienna, Austria, a photographic archive I have been instrumental to build.


I am a very visual person, but have not received any education in this direction. Studying art history certainly had its influence, but mostly I have learned from practice, for example, with the design of my book or the different incarnations of my homepage. I am not sure how this visual strength is connected to another one, the analysis of complex (visual) matters in new ways.


I was born in 1964 in the hospital of Kirchdorf an der Krems, Upper Austria, but actually grew up in the Upper Austrian village of Hinterstoder, a picturesque place indeed, but also a dead end in the dead mountains (Totes Gebirge; see also my picture gallery Hinterstoder).

Me, Myself and I

While I do appreciate the advances that it brought in many ways, I am sick of the individuality that permeates avery aspect of our modern lonely lifes. At the other extreme, the traditional way of hiding ones results or opinions under an academic nosism (the author's we that more often is a pluralis majestatis or 'royal we' than an inclusion of the reader) is equally appalling today, but I may be hypersensitive in this regard due to my experiences.