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MATHO MUSEUM PROJECT IN LADAKH

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www.mathomuseumproject.org

Nelly Rieuf, Matho Museum Project Manager, thangka restorer, and teacher of physics applied to thangka restoration.

( I became familiar with Ladakh several years ago when my son decided to explore it and could not leave Leh ( ca. 9,800 ft. high) due to bad weather. Ladakh – the land of high passes – is a region in India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, between the Kunlun Mountain range in the north and the Himalayas in the south. Kashmir means strong Indian military presence – Ladakh has been important before because of its strategic location on major trade routes. With its capital of Leh it remains one of the very few centers for Buddhism in Hindu India. The majority are Tibetan Buddhists.)

Nelly Rieuf wrote an article for ORIENTATIONS Magazine, April 2013, about Matho monastery, established 1410, the only Sakya lineage monastery in Ladakh and home to 31 monks. The monastery has some 2,000 objects and some 250 have been selected to be displayed for visitors at the Matho Museum. The paintings and sculptural pieces are examples of Himalayan Buddhist art and go back to the 9th century. The condition of the objects required restoration or conservation. Work began in 2011 and a fall 2014 opening is planned. In addition to international professionals the team also comprises local women trained in art conservation. An interesting aspect of arranging a museum within a monastery makes it possible to display the objects in their usual religious context. Security issues have also been addressed – unfortunately a problem with many working monasteries.

The Matho Project is made possible with generous donations from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation (founders of one of my favorite museums – rmanyc.org – Rubin Museum of Art), John Eskenazi (one of the most respected Oriental and Indian art dealer, London)and Michael Henss (Swiss art historian who has written extensively on Tibet). You can email nellyrieuf@yahoo.fr or go to www.himalayanartpreservation.com or mathomuseumproject.org.

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

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