A part of the THUS mandate is to collect diverse examples of Tibetan sacred, fine, and folk arts, with the hope to ultimately repatriate them to a National Museum in a culturally free Tibet. To this end, the Repatriation Collection was started in 1992. This growing collection is comprised of 1,500 objects: tangkas, bronzes, ritual objects, and folk art. Generous collectors who are deeply concerned about the ultimate disposition of the cultural heritage of the Tibetan people have and continue to thoughtfully give representative examples of the vast and sophisticated repertoire of Tibetan arts.
Since the Chinese communist occupation of Tibet beginning in 1949, the majority of these art works and Buddhist manuscripts were destroyed, particularly during the Cultural Revolution. Surviving art objects have slowly found their way to the international art market and an emerging understanding of their aesthetic beauty and symbolic meaning has firmly established the world class quality and distinctive excellence of the Tibetan artistic tradition. Grateful acknowledgement to: Jacqueline Dunnington, Horch family, Michael McCormick, John Rezk, Carlton Rochell, Phil Rudkow.