Hardcover, 160 pages, colour ohotos, London 2019, new
ILLUSTRATED INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF TIBETAN BUDDHIST ART
This fascinating history by famed Tibetologist and adventurer Alain Presencer features beautiful reproductions of never-before-seen items from the author’s private collection
Tibetan Buddhist Art draws on the author’s decades’ worth of experience at the forefront of his field and his manifold adventures to provide a comprehensive and entertaining overview of a hitherto underrepresented subject. Presencer complements his erudite yet accessible introduction to Tibet’s fascinating history, and its astounding variety of artistic processes and objects, with stories from his intrepid travels, including a rare sighting of a ‘sky burial’ and an even rarer venture down into a torture chamber deep in the bowels of the Potala Palace.
The book contains 59 pages devoted to showcasing artefacts collected over the years during the author’s many trips to the Tibetan plateau. The pieces in question were recently put on sale to private collectors at Bonhams but many are available here for the general public to view for the first time. The collection, comprising beautiful examples of statuary, religious and ritual implements and thangkas (a Tibetan form of textile painting), is reproduced with high-quality full-page spreads, allowing the objects to retain all their magic and mystery.
Alain Presencer began learning about Buddhism at home in Canada, at the age of 13, and subsequently studied with the late Professor Mathera Sadhatissa at the University of Toronto between 1961-2. For the next 50 years, he spiritedly promoted the study of Tibetan Buddhism and culture in the United Kingdom. His contributions to the field have resulted in numerous recognitions, including his appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.