The Tenth Karmapa Ch?ying Dorj? (1604 1674) was both a famous artist and leader of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism during a formative period in Tibetan history. The religious and institutional shape of modern Tibet was decided in the turbulent conflicts and dramatic reorganization of Tibetan society in the seventeenth century. With Mongol support, the Fifth Dalai Lama took control of Central Tibet and projected Gelukpa power far beyond Lhasa. As is often seen in the writing of history, the victor exerts its authority in its telling. Thus the preceding ruling polity and its leading lama, the Tenth Karmapa, have often been neglected. Ch?ying Dorj?’s life is well documented in Tibetan sources which provide an alternative historical narrative of the tumultuous seventeenth century. This publication brings together specialists in literature, history, religion, and art to discuss the historical context of this seminal Tibetan figure, situating him and his life’s work within the juncture of history, art and civilization, and Tibet’s place in the larger world of the seventeenth century.