Inbal Livne: Tracing the Biographies of Objects and Lives


This article focuses on the Tibetan collections of the National Museum of Scotland, which were formed by colonial agents from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. The meanings and values given to Tibetan material culture in the British colonial context was often predicated on modes of categorisation, whereby objects could be denoted as “artistic,” “ethnographic,” “religious” or as symbols authenticating personal experience and family ties. This article examines how these categories, and the values given to them by collectors, can be used to unpack a complex series of relationships between objects and people in the context of British-Indian colonial society.