Rubin Museum of Art

Animated Maps for Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism

Animated Maps for Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism

Tracing a History of Thrones


To create an animated series of digital maps as a tool for visitors to orient themselves chronologically and geographically in an exhibition that spans five empires and 1,300 years of Buddhist history.

Visitors in front of Faith & Empire animated map
Photograph by Filip Wolak


Maps attract viewers and elicit personal stories. They spark our imaginations while effectively communicating the necessary facts.

As with any data visualization, maps require an iterative design process to arrive at just the right balance between the amount of information presented to the viewer and the time she needs to take it in and make sense of it, especially when the place names and the language are unfamiliar! Our designer, Carl Huebner, made it look easy.


To quote curatorial assistant, Lizzie Doorly, the map ” achieved all the goals that we wanted for this tool, as we have had fantastic responses from our visitors about the animated map.”

Fun Fact 1

The Rubin Museum is hosting tours inspired by the HBO series and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, featuring highlights from this exhibition, making connections between the ideas, characters, and storylines in the series. The tours explore the ways that the intersection of politics, religion, and art have shaped the history of the world and play into the fictional world of Game of Thrones.

Fun Fact 2

The Xixia empire, the smallest of these Buddhist empires, was 1,000,000 km2(390,000 sq mi) at its peak.


The size of the Mongol empire at its peak was 24,000,000 km2 (9,300,000 sq mi)! It was the second largest contiguous empire in history.


The British Empire was the largest. At it’s peak in 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi),24% of the Earth’s total land area.

Video Animation Services
  • graphic design
  • animation
  • Category

    Audio & Video, Latest


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