Monday, November 16, 2009

Secrets of Shangri-La: Quest for Sacred Caves

If you have access to North American Television please tune in to PBS, November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La.

In the summer of 2008, Jeff Watt, Director and Chief Curator of Himalayan Art Resources, spent a month in the Mustang Region of Nepal with a National Geographic sponsored film crew to investigate previously inaccessible caves filled with ancient artifacts, texts, and Buddhist and Bon cave murals. The cave murals were primarily Buddhist in origin and span the 14th to 16th centuries.

In one cave complex called Mardzong, just south of the town of Lo Monthang, a stash of 14th and 15th century manuscripts were discovered in the upper chambers; after collating, amounting to thirty large Tibetan volumes. Predominantly belonging to the Bon religion, the remaining texts were Buddhist and many of them relating to the Sakya system of Lamdre (the Path Together with the Result).

Mustang is one of the last remaining Buddhist Kingdoms in the world, although also containing a smattering of Bon communities. Two of the main temples in the capital walled town of Lo Monthang, in Upper Mustang, are a treasure of murals in the tradition of the great Tibetan murals of Gyantse, Shalu and Sakya. For Sakya Art History, Lo Monthang is equally important for the study of mandalas and the Tantric systems of Maha Vairochana and Sarvavid Vairochana, along with the visual culture of other Yoga Tantra systems.

Secrets of Shangri-La: Quest for Sacred Caves

"Tune in to PBS November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La ( To see a trailer for the program, go to:"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The Walters Art Museum presents the contemporary works of Amita Bhatt in dialog with tantric art from the John and Berthe Ford Collection.

The Walters Art Museum is proud to present selected works from the John and Berthe Ford collection of traditional Indian and Himalayan art in visual dialogue with contemporary paintings by India born artist, Amita Bhatt. Bhatt derives her imagery from Hindu and Buddhist Tantric sources infused with her understanding of Western philosophy. She explores classic themes of desire, conflict, struggle and transcendence as they manifest themselves in the present day. This thought provoking installation recognizes the power of visual expressions to articulate, to mobilize, to activate, and to provoke. Informed by tradition but speaking in the present, Bhatt’s works explore fundamental struggles and eternal tensions common to all cultures. The show will run from October 31st through December 13th, 2009.

Walters Art Museum, 600 N Charles St.,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Phone: 410-547-9000 Email: