Considered one of the last remaining bastions of Tibetan culture and located in the north-central part of Nepal at the edge of the Tibetan plateau, Mustang until recently remained a remote area. Major monasteries of the Sakya, Ngor and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism are located in Mustang, along with numerous temples, palaces, and ruins that evidence its rich past. Although some of its murals and caves have been studied and published, many still await a more detailed assessemnt. In addition, portable works such as sculptures, scroll paintings, stupas and books have seldom being examined and largely remained unknown to scholars as well as general audiences. Together, the monuments and objects of Mustang attest to the region’s rich past and its relevance as an important centre of artistic production and Buddhist religious practice.

Monastery Collections

In 2012 I began to explore the possibility of organizing an exhibition on the art of Mustang, Nepal, on behalf of the Rubin Museum of Art and with partner institutions in the US. This project did not come to fruition, but it resulted in a research project on monastery collections in Mustang and Ladakh that now has created a substantial amount of documentation of such collections. Each participating institution receives the full photographic documentation as well as an inventory of their collection. The most important collection documented so far is that of Namgyal Monastery, but by now ten monastery collections have been documented and attest to the rich heritage of Mustang. Of particular interest is the interrelationship between these collections which not only improves the knowledge about individual collections considerably, but also exposes interesting questions on how these objects ended up at the places they are today.

Cave of Great Adepts

More to the core of my research work, a fourth article has been published in the June 2014 issue of Orientations. It deals with the iconography of the Könchokling cave, the mahasiddha cave rediscovered in 2007. While this cave was the subject of one of the contributions to the Marg book on the "Wonders of Lo”, many questions concerning the represented lineage and siddhas, the accompanying inscriptions, the arrangement of the figures, and the age of the paintings remained open and are addressed in this contribution. I first presented my findings from a short visit in May 2012 at a conference in Beijing in October 2012. The published article is accompanied by the full photo documentation on this website.

  • “The Cave of Great Adepts.” Orientations 45, no. 5 (2014): 50–61.