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Distributed for Hirmer Publishers


Treasure of the Himalayas

The world-famous Buddhist monastery of Alchi in Ladakh, India, is the best-preserved temple complex in the Himalayas. Proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 1998, the monastery’s artworks reveal influences from India and Tibet across Central Asia and Iran, even as far back as Ancient Greece.  Housing thousands of rare paintings and sculptures from the area dating back to the eleventh century, it provides fascinating insight into the spiritual and secular life of medieval Kashmir and Western Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has authorized the publication of images of these Buddhist masterpieces for the first and only time. Beautifully photographed by Peter van Ham, the images in this volume capture the miniaturesque delicacy and broad range of color of these precious works. With essays by renowned Tibetologist Amy Heller, and a foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself, this once-in-a-lifetime volume offers fascinating new insights—including a large panorama double gate fold—into one of the most beautiful monasteries in the Himalayas.

420 pages | 11 1/2 x 12 1/4 | © 2019

Art: Art--General Studies

Culture Studies

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One of the finest art books ever produced. . . . Working in extremely challenging conditions, particularly in the narrow, almost unreachable second and third stories of the Sumtsek, van Ham put together a masterpiece. The true achievement, however, lies not merely in the completeness of the photographic record but—as with his previous books—in his ability to convey the interlacing layers of light and shadow, the uneven textures of surface and color, and the emotional punch these images from a thousand years ago are still able to deliver, even to a viewer who knows nothing of Buddhist iconography and ritual practice. . . . At the heart of van Ham’s artistic enterprise is his uncanny gift for showing us, in the paintings he has photographed, this continuous, ravishing evanescence. Once one takes in this truth of transience and sees, with open eyes, its logic and inherent wonder, the most remarkable feeling of freedom and happiness sets in.” 

David Shulman | New York Review Daily

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