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Fantastic Quality book at amazingly reasonable price - (even at the full price) More thorough than any previous work on Alchi that I've seen. Large Format with wonderful photographs of work that is astonishing - especially as it's survived this long, quite breath-taking.
I have been aware that this book was being produced and luckily found it on the Germany site, as it is not due to appear on the UK site until the end of January,
There is no way I could wait so long and ordered from Germany instead. I have been totally impressed with the delivery from Germany Amazon to my address in the UK, which took just 4 days and was even delivered on a Sunday.
This book is larger than Guge and it is full of spectacular photos of Alchi and great detailed information about each one.
I have been to Alchi three times and always felt that I was only seeing a fraction of the works, as the lighting has always beem dim.
Now I know exactly what I have been missing and look forward to going back to Alchi to try and find my favourite parts.
I have only just received this yesterday and am not academically trained in the artworks of Tibetan Buddhism, but from a first look here are examples of my own highlights:
- The five page fold out of the colossal sculptures from outside is a revelation: I had no idea the viewing niches existed. How stunning to see them surrounded by the paintings.
- I love the paintings of the goddesses and female protectors such as Palden Lhamo and Dorje Chenmo.
-The costumes of figures and facial expressions are so detailed. The panels of wood and fabric are gorgeous: very surprising to see even martial arts depicted.
-Many photos of my favourite Nagas and dynamic flying and running deities and figures: the movement and even humour in the paintings is a sight to behold. Many hungry ghosts, too and ascetic figures. Hindu deities. Every page is full of wonders including Pages 309 and 315.
-The three dimensional effect of the photography is wonderful (Page 222, 249)
This book is a total masterpiece and the work and knowledge and sheer joy that has gone into this is breathtaking. I am going to have countless hours enjoying this work. Many thanks and congratulations to Peter Van Ham and Amy Heller. I am in awe of you both and the creators of Alchi.
As is my way with Peter Van Ham's books, I always look at the photos first and then an initial question arises that I look forward to looking into as I discover the book in detail: in this one at first glance, Vajrapani seems to be less prominent and Manjushri/Yamantaka seems to be depicted instead? I look forward to reading up why this is and the interplay between them. (Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani trio.... goes to Maitreya, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri?)
Ladakh is an amazing place and Alchi is a doubly amazing center of art unlike any other in the Tibetan region. The dry climate and lack of Red Guard wanton iconoclastic destruction leaves a marvelous collection of art showing Iranian, Hellenistic, Tibetan, indic and Chinese influences. Meticulously photographed and annotated this is a large book but one wishes a volume 2 were possible as well. I am very familiar with trans Himalayan Buddhist art, but this book had surprises of motifs I've seen nowhere else. Please consider adding this to your Tibetan art book collection.