Update of the visual reconstruction of the most sacred space in Tibet: Jokhang through the eyes of the first Czechoslovak visitors

Authors

BĚLKA Luboš

Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description Is it possible today, with the help of archival visual material (photographs and films) and texts (published and unpublished written records), to update the visual image of Lhasa's Jokhang, or more precisely, its main temple of the Great Buddha? Is it possible to describe in detail the interiors of the adjacent chapels (Tib. lhakhang) dedicated to various figures of the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon? All these interiors were destroyed by the Red Guards in 1966. Can this update contribute to the only visual reconstruction of the interiors so far undertaken by Hugh Richardson and his Tibetan collaborators in 1977? The answer is yes, and this is because new archival materials are available in the Czech Republic that have been only partially and unsystematically published so far. Many of these archival sources are yet to be processed and used, for example in an updated visual reconstruction of Jokhang. Czechoslovak visitors to Tibet in the 1950s, such as Vladimír Sís and Josef Vaniš, but also Karel Beba and Augustin Palát, documented Jokhang in 1954-1956. Of course, their documentation methods in the interiors did not match today's standards of field visual documentation, but they cannot be faulted for that. The aim of their visit to Tibet was not to conduct scientific research in the field of sacred architecture. They were working in difficult conditions that it is surprising how great the results they achieved were. This paper will use specific examples to demonstrate how the visual and textual sources of the aforementioned Czechoslovak travelers to Tibet enriched the knowledge of the Jokhang Temple.
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