Alchi: Treasure of the Himalayas

Peter Van Ham

Alchi: Treasure of the Himalayas
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Alchi: Treasure of the Himalayas

Peter Van Ham

The world-famous Buddhist monastery of Alchi lies at 3,500 metres in Ladakh (Northwest India) and is the best-preserved temple complex in the  Himalayas. Inside it houses thousands of rare and  incomparable paintings and sculptures dating  back to 11th century Western Tibet.     

For the first  and only time in their history the Dalai Lama has authorised their comprehensive Alchi was proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 1996. It provides fascinating insight into the spiritual and secular life of medieval Kashmir and Western Tibet with artworks revealing influences from India and Tibet across Central Asia as well as Iran, even reaching back to Ancient Greece. The photographs were produced in the highest  possible digital resolution by Peter van Ham using a special camera; they capture the miniature-like  delicacy and broad range of colour of the originals with a unique wealth of detail.     

In cooperation with the renowned Tibetologist Amy Heller and her pioneering deciphering of the complicated inscriptions of Alchi, van Ham has succeeded in producing a unique and highly  fascinating cultural document.

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