Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ngadrama: "Same As Me" Statue Can Be Recreated, Part 2

Responding to my call for assistance, some very nice people sent in these useful photos of the so-called Speaking Statue, originally at Crystal Cave, and now at Dragon Rock. Photographs like these are ideal on a number of counts.

First, they were taken at different angles. Second, they were taken at different times (the black and white photo in 1997, the color photo, above, in 2005). Third, they were taken by the same photographer, who is able to give technical detals about camera and lens. Fourth, we have access to very high resolution copies, if needed. Fifth, these are photos of a known statue, of known provenance, that we can relate in time and circumstance to the destroyed statue at Samye, thus fixing iconographic evolution. Sixth, we have a corpus of other images of the same subject, that we can also use.

Of interest: note the breastplate in the above photo,
and compare it to the one in the 2005 photo.

Believe it or not, these three photos are all the technicians would need to create an exact duplicate of the image. This is what we are trying to achieve with the Guru Ngadrama statue, but we have only a single photograph to worth with. I firmly believe that other photos do exist.

I am also told that Sogyal Rinpoche has attempted (or is attempting) to re-create the Ngadrama statue in France. I wonder, does anyone have any further information about that? Perhaps this is what was intended by the image seen below, currently at Lerab Ling, in France:

The more images like this we can develop, the easier it is for the engineers to do their job. And of course, for every person there is a Padmasambhava, is it not?

Please help in the search. Please don't assume that I have "already seen" something, or "already know" something. Were you to make paper from all the trees in all the forests of the world, and ink from all the water in the oceans, you would still not be able to write the list of that which I do not know.

I also want to mention that we are examining the entire family of kun tsab, or "representative" images, such as these well-known images, below. These are extremely important to this project.


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7 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

I think your best bets for photos of objects at Samye such as the Ngadrama would be 1. the Tucci Archive in Rome and 2. the photographs associated with the Schafer expedition, in various places in Germany. You did say you were going to be traveling, didn't you? I didn't say it was going to be easy! Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just found a reference to an article on the Tucci Archive by D. Klimburg-Salter contained in an academic journal from Italy entitled East & West, volume 41 (1991), pp. 379-384. It contains an outline of the photos contained in the collection, which might be useful.

Editor said...

The Schafer expedition photos are searchable online, at (for example)[form][SIGNATUR]=Bild+135-KA-11-008

Which reminds me... I need to do something on Nazis in Tibet.

Thank you very much for the tip on Tucci. I will definitely explore that resource.

I had hoped the British materials would be more helpful, as it was the British who gave the Agfa to the Queen of Sikkim.

You know, there are also extensive Japanese holdings, but nobody seems to remember where they are.

Editor said...

I see that Tucci is also searchable online at but it doesn't look too hopeful, as their bSam-yas stuff is thin.

Did you ever hear what happened to the Japanese photographs? I think these are quite early -- the fellow who designed the Tibetan flag took them.

Anonymous said...

Try searching the Bundesarchiv for this:

"Guru Rimposhe Padma Sam Pawa"

It says it's an image at Sera Monastery, however, not Samye!

Anonymous said...

I doubt all the Tucci photos are listed on the website, and I'm very sure not all the Schafer photos are (there are collections in other places, but you'd have to ask a German expert to help on that). Japan? No idea.

Editor said...

We will definitely do a hand search in both Germany and Italy, and of the two, we think Italy will give best results. The SS photos are only rarely of statues and so forth. We have really high hopes for London. There are a crop of very early photos by Leslie Weir and Claude White that hold out promise.