The Helen Graham Park Foundation is privileged to have a small but important selection of Mr. Bernard’s and Mrs. Park's Tibetan acquisitions from their travel in India in 1946 and 1947. The collection features seven antique thangkas ornamented with gold leaf paint and set in brocade. The collection also features over seventy Tibetan Buddhist texts, text fragments and manuscripts which are significant not only for their antiquity but for the wide array of Tibetan literary genres they represent including Buddhist logic, grammar, philosophy, spiritual biography, ritual, liturgy, medicine, and history.
The Collection also holds some writings of Theos Bernard’s historical documents from their travels to India. These include records of official communications, accounts of expenditures and receipts, international telegrams and a fourteen-part inventory, composed in Tibetan, itemizing the hundreds of Tibetan texts and artifacts he acquired in Tibet. These rare documents offer important historical data about Mr. Bernard’s illustrious scholarly and quasi-diplomatic legacy of interest to scholars of religion, Asian cultures and world history.
As Tibetan culture and civilization continue to wane in the modern era, Tibet’s rich repertoire of Buddhist arts and sciences are at great risk of disappearing. In preserving and archiving this important collection, the Helen Graham Park Foundation hopes to make a small but significant contribution to preserving Tibet’s unique cultural and historical legacy and to promoting better understanding of Tibet’s sophisticated civilization.
To date, the Foundation has completed a preliminary survey of its Tibetan text collection and a preliminary finding aid of its Theos Bernard holdings, in consultation with two leading Tibetologists. It is now preparing to archive the complete collection with specific plans to professionally clean and preserve its Tibetan thangkas, catalogue the Helen Graham Park and Theos Bernard papers, digitize the Tibetan textual collection and thangkas, and create an online scholar’s finding aid of the complete collection. The Foundation’s goals in creating this archive are to: 1) catalogue, preserve and maintain the collection for posterity, 2) provide an on-line inventory of its holdings for scholars interested in researching the collection, 3) make its digitized holdings available electronically to scholars worldwide and 4) make its Tibetan collection available for exhibits at museums and cultural institutions.