Monumental Lhasa: Fortress, Palace, Temple brings together over 50 works of art from the Rubin Museum collection as well as public and private collections across Europe and North America. The exhibition revives one of the original functions of these images—to transmit the holy city of Lhasa to a remote audience. Spanning art that ranges from pilgrimage maps to photo albums, the exhibition explores how images contribute to the iconic character, familiarity, and power of important landmarks.
“Architecture is deeply connected to our impression and experience of places. While we may never visit these sites ourselves, we often become acquainted with them through encounters with images on postcards, souvenirs, and various forms of media,” exhibition curator Natasha Kimmet said. “In Lhasa, Buddhist pilgrims and other visitors created images focused on the capital’s striking landmark buildings to recreate and convey their experience of this important religious and political center of Asia.”
Tashilhunpo Monastery. Tibet; Late 19th century (ca. 1882). Ground mineral pigment on cotton. Collection Van der Wee. Photograph © Bart Huysmans.
Tashilhunpo Monastery from the south. Gobonjab Tsybikoff Tibet; 1900-1901. Black and white album photograph. From the American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. Digital Photo Archive.
Lhasa Old Town and Potala. Kanwal Krishna; commissioned by Hugh Richardson Tibet; October 13, 1939. Watercolor on paper. Collection of Anthony and Marie Laure Aris.
The Potala Palace and the Main Monuments of Lhasa. Tibet or Inner Mongolia; 18th – early 19th century. Distemper on cloth. Rubin Museum of Art
View of Lhasa with Jokhang Temple. Padma Rimo mkhan; commissioned by L. A. Waddell Tibet; 1890. Gouache with watercolor, gold leaf, and collage on paper. Wellcome Library, London.
Nechung Monastery. Painted by a Tibetan monk; commissioned by Major William Edmund Hay (1805-1879). Lahaul, present-day India; ca. 1857. Watercolor on paper. The British Library Wise Collection, Add.Or.3043. Photograph © The British Library Board.
The Demoness of Tibet. Tibet; Late 19th/early 20th century. Pigments on cloth. Rubin Museum of Art
Drepung Monastery. Tibet or Nepal; 1898. Ground mineral pigment on cotton. Rubin Museum of Art.
Samye Monastery. Painted by a Tibetan monk; commissioned by Major William Edmund Hay (1805-1879). Lahaul, present-day India; ca. 1857. Watercolor on paper. The British Library Wise Collection, Add.Or.3017, Folio 3.Photograph © The British Library Board.
Images courtesy The Rubin Museum of Art