The story of photographs: Zaya Gegeenii Khüree in the 1950s



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Bulletin du Muse´e d'Anthropologie Pre´historique de Monaco
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Mongolian Buddhism; monastery Zaya Gegeenii Khüree; Lumír Jisl; historical photography
Description Mongolian Buddhist monastery Zaya Gegeenii Khüree was documented several times in the past, which enabled the reconstruction of its appearance before its vast destruction during the anti-religious reprisals in the 1930s. Both visual and photographic documentation of the condition of the monastery in the 1950s also exists. This article describes the Czechoslovak documentation of Zaya Gegeenii Khüree in that period. The pictures were taken using the 6x6 film on 24 August 1957 and this is their first publication. Most probably it is the first color photograph of Zaya Gegeenii Khüree and its greatest value is that it testifies of the visual appearance of the monastery in summer 1957, because it captures all the three sacral buildings that had remained from the original monastery. The author is Lumír Jisl, an outstanding Czechoslovak archaeologist, whose area of interest included excavations and other archaeological research in Mongolia. He led the first Czechoslovak archaeological expedition abroad, a very successful undertaking, which focused on the research of the memorial of the Turkic prince Kültegin (685-732). Besides archaeology, Lumír Jisl studied Buddhist art (which he referred to as “Lamaist art”) in China, Tibet, and most importantly, Mongolia. He gained expertise in this area thanks to many months spent in China and Mongolia (1957-1969) and through the study of museum collections in Prague (in particular Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures), central Europe (Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna, Leipzig) and also western Europe (Roma, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Hamburg, Bonn, Heidelberg). Results of research in situ and study of museum and private collections were published in books and journals, in Czech and other languages.
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