Ngari Mural Paintings: The White Temple of Tholing Monastery


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The monastery of Tholing was built in 997 AD by King Yeshe-Ö, ruler of the large western Tibetan kingdom of Guge-Purang. His reintroduction of Buddhism, with the help of the great translator, Rinchen Zangpo and, a little later, of the teacher Atiśa, was of tremendous and lasting importance.

The monastery was built on an escarpment overlooking a tributary of the Sutlej, its several temples and chapels adorned with gorgeous murals. Some of these did not survive the vicissitudes of history, not least the comparatively recent depredations of the Cultural Revolution.

The wall paintings of the White Temple are thought to have been painted during the early C16th and show Indian, Kashmiri and Central Asian influence; they are wonderfully reproduced in this magnificent volume. Some attempt is made to locate the paintings within the overall decorative schema; they are well presented, with many details superbly rendered. This book, published in 2014, is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the excellent efforts by Zhejiang University Press in the production of high quality books on Chinese art.

Introductory text in Tibetan, Chinese and English; captions ditto. Very large format.


Edition: Hardcover in a slipcase Zhejiang University Press