The Bartholomew Bhutan Collection

After 35 years of dedication to a dream which began in 1972, MarkO Bartholomew has amassed the largest and most comprehensive collection of Bhutanese textiles in the world.

Having collected these treasures since moving to the Himalayas in 1975, he was one of the first people to document and promote the unique culture and textile arts of Bhutan. In 1978, Mr. Bartholomew held his debut exhibition and published an accompanying catalogue for the Museum for Textiles in Toronto, Canada. In the ensuing decade, further collecting and research resulted in Thunder Dragon Textiles from Bhutan, the first major documentation of Bhutanese textile art heritage. The 1985 publication of this book in Kyoto, Japan coincided with the opening of an exhibition hosted by the Seibu Art Gallery in Tokyo, featuring 150 representative pieces from the Bartholomew Collection.


Bhutan’s limited open-door policy, instigated in 1975, spawned a global interest in Bhutan and particularly in its rich textile arts. This generated renewed interest from collectors and major museums, many of which have since purchased important Bhutanese textiles directly from the Bartholomew Collection to augment their own permanent collections of Asian textile art. Among these are the following institutions:


* The Osaka Ethnographic Museum -Japan
* Kiryu City -Japan
* The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art
* The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts -Minneapolis, Minnesota
* The Cultural Art History Museum -The University of California Los Angeles
* The Museum of International Folk Art -Santa Fe, New Mexico
* The Royal Ontario Museum -Toronto, Canada
* The Museum for Textiles -Toronto, Canada

Presently, the Bartholomew Collection encompasses an unparalleled collection including the most historically significant Bhutanese textiles known. Included are such treasures as:


* The widest array of the best-preserved Royal Bhutanese Throne Covers in the world
* The Throne cover of the first King of the Wangchuck Dynasty
* An original silk Dragon Crown of the 2nd King of the Wangchuck Dynasty
* Ceremonial shaman tunics formerly worn by some of the most revered holy people of Himalayan Buddhism
* Rare ceremonial dress pieces worn by nobles and royalty
* Utilitarian fabrics that continue to mystify western textile experts with their unique intricacy of design and weaving techniques.

The scope, uniqueness, rarity, and importance of
the Bartholomew Collection is unsurpassed.


Bartholomew Family Collection – finest art heritage & textile collection