At an exhibition in 1992 at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., “Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration,” one room among the four devoted to Ming China was called “Lamaist Art.” In the coffee-table book produced for the exhibition, with reproductions and descriptions of over 1,100 of the works displayed, however, not one painting, sculpture, or artifact was described as being of Tibetan origin. In commenting upon one of the Ming paintings, the well-known Asian art historian, Sherman E. Lee, wrote, “The individual [Tang and Song] motifs, however, were woven into a thicket of obsessive design produced for a non-Chinese audience. Here the aesthetic wealth of China was placed at the service of the complicated theology of Tibet.” This complicated theology is named by Lee with the term “Lamaism,” an abstract noun that does not occur in the Tibetan language but which has a long history in the West, a history inextricable from the ideology of exploration and discovery that the National Gallery cautiously sought to celebrate. Lee echoes the nineteenth-century portrayal of Lamaism as something monstrous, a composite of unnatural lineage, devoid of the spirit of original Buddhism (as constructed by European Orientialists). Lamaism was a deformity unique to Tibet, its parentage denied by India (in the voice of British Indologists) and by China (in the voice of the Qing empire), an aberration so unique in fact that it would eventually float free from its Tibetan abode, an abode that would vanish.