Himalayan art has featured at the Musée Guimet since the museum was founded in Lyon in 1879, when a small series of Lamaist objects were on display. Today, the Himalayan collection includes some 1600 pieces.
In 1912, the museum acquired a large quantity of bronzes and paintings representative of 18th and 19th century Sino-Tibetan art brought back by Jacques Bacot (1877-1965) from his missions to Eastern Tibet, and for most of the last century this relatively late and Sinicized aspect of Tibetan art has formed the bulk of the collection. More recently, however, the Museum has been able to offer a more comprehensive display of Himalayan culture, notably in the field of Nepalese art.
In 1939, MM. Gustave and Charles Toussaint donated a series of 27 paintings, and this was followed by a number of smaller bequests and donations.
The collection of thang-ka and Nepalese and Tibetan bronzes was also enhanced thanks to the Fournier donation in 1989 which included some 100 pieces in all. Although 18th and 19th century Sino-Tibetan pieces still constitute the bulk of the collection, a number of acquisitions over the last ten years -including the Jean Mansion bequest in 1993 of twelve thang-ka- illustrate other movements in the history of Tibetan art. Nepalese art is particularly well represented by several painted book covers (12th-14th centuries), metal sculptures ranging from the 11th to the 19th centuries, as well as several wooden images (16th-18th centuries) and various liturgical objects.