THE HUNTINGTON ARCHIVE of Buddhist and Asian Art

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the john c. and susan l. huntington photographic archive of buddhist and asian art

The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art represents forty years of field documentation photography by the Huntingtons. In 1986, the two History of Art professors at The Ohio State University formally expanded their photographic collection. Partnering with the History of Art department, the Huntingtons created an institutional archive to house images of art from countries central to their personal research, as well as other areas of the Buddhist world. The Huntington Archive is devoted to providing pan-Asian documentation and resource materials for scholarly research and classroom teaching.


The Huntington Archive is saddened to report that one of its cofounders, John C. Huntington, passed away on November 28, 2021 after a lengthy illness. John was a professor at The Ohio State University for more than 40 years, receiving numerous distinctions for his work. He specialized in the Buddhist art and religious traditions of Asia, publishing widely and mentoring numerous graduate students in the field. Also trained as a professional photographer, he, with his wife, Susan, also an historian of Asian art and professor at Ohio State, indefatigably documented art, monuments, and archaeological sites throughout Asia. The more than 200,000 photographs John and Susan took on their many research trips formed the basis of the Huntington Archive and are being made available to the public and educational community in perpetuity by the University of Chicago via the Huntington Archive website. Many of John's teaching materials and the extraordinary graphics he created to illustrate concepts in Buddhist iconography are included on the Archive's web page under Educational Resources. For John's other academic contributions, please see and

Donations to continue John’s work can be made to the John C. and Susan L. Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian Art at the University of Chicago, using information at

The Huntington Archive Receives Substantial Ho Family Foundation Grant

The University of Chicago has received two grants from the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in support of the Huntington Photographic Archive. During the first year, work focused on the creation of a Buddhist iconography thesaurus, preparation of two subsets of photographic materials in the collection for online distribution, and production of the infrastructure that serves a larger, multi-year initiative. The Thesaurus of Buddhist Art and Iconography will help make a complex set of Buddhist iconography materials easier to navigate and understand. Our work under the first grant with Buddhist artistic materials from the ancient Gandhara region in what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Buddhist art created under the Pala dynasty of eastern India and Bangladesh supports discovery and viewing of more than 9,000 photographic images along with architectural drawings and cartography related to those regions. The current grant focuses on the Buddhist art of Nepal, with approximately 34,900 original photographs of Nepali Buddhist art and architecture and continuing development of the Thesaurus. The images include photographs taken by John and Susan Huntington over the course of their field research in Asia.

The Huntington Archive would like to express our deepest gratitude to The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation 何鴻毅家族基金 for recognizing the importance of our work and providing us with their generous support.

The Huntington Archive is very grateful to the following
for assistance and support over the years:

  • The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities
  • ArtStor
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • The Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education
  • The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
  • The Ohio Board of Regents, Challenge Grant program
  • The Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs
  • H.E. and Carolyn Schmidt
  • Anonymous Benefactor
  • The Henry Luce Foundation
  • BETHA (with gratitude to the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University)


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The Huntington Archive Digital Database contains only about 25% of all of the photographs in the John and Susan Huntington corpus. We are working hard to complete the digitization of the remaining film images, to upload the born-digital images taken over the last decade, and create the accompanying metadata. We estimate that this work will take approximately three to four years.

All materials to be uploaded are in color, in contrast to the black-and-white photographs that are primarily online at the moment. In the meantime, please feel free to contact the Archive if you are searching for images that may not yet be online.

The slideshow above provides a preview of some of the images that we are hoping to make available soon. We are also in the process of implementing a new database, with better search engine capabilities, and we hope that this new tool will also make the collection easier for you to use and more helpful to the worldwide community.

The Huntington Archive Video Documentation

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The Huntington Archive and Department of History of Art in conjunction with the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University held an exhibition of Huntington photographs from the Himalayas showcasing Tibetan Art & Culture from September 25th–October 25th, 2010.

This exhibition commemorated the new Tibetan Studies program at Ohio State and was on display on the first and second floors of the new Ohio Union.

Because of the great response to this exhibition, it traveled to the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Library (Feburary 2011) and the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago (March 28–June 11, 2011).

For more information about this exhibition, call The Huntington Archive at: 614.292.5374 or e-mail us at: