Hidden Paradise - Restoring Tibetan Monasteries in Sikkim, Qinghai and Ladakh with Dr. Andre Alexander and Yutaka Hirako
An ancient Tibetan Buddhist master described today’s Indian State of Sikkim as the hidden paradise where good-hearted people could escape the end of the world at the end of time. On invitation from the Princess of Sikkim, Dr. Andre Alexander began restoring the royal palace monastery in the capital Gangtok, using the knowledge he gained from restoring the 2010 earthquake stricken Yushu, the ancient trading centre of Qinghai province in China.
In Qinghai, the oldest timber-structure building is the Tibetan monastery of Serkhang, which houses a wealth of well-preserved wall paintings from different ages. Founded in 1340, its six surviving historic buildings were meticulously studied and conserved by the NGO Tibet Heritage Fund over four years.
In the early 10th century, the heirs to the throne of the Tibetan empire in Lhasa founded three kingdoms in the Western Himalayas. Pockets of ancient Tibetan culture have survived in the northernmost areas of both India and Pakistan. In India, the region of Ladakh became an important crossroad on a side branch of the Silk Road, and over centuries the ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture blended with elements of Central Asian cultures, to create the unique Ladakhi civilization.
Jointly presented by The University of Hong Kong Museum Society and the Friends of the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, our speaker, Dr. Andre Alexander and Yutaka Hirako will introduce these monuments from the past 1000 years and discuss the challenges to conserve them against steep economic and climatic changes. They will also introduce two new publications by Tibet Heritage Fund: "The House of Tashi Tsering" by Pimpim de Azevedo and "Jullay Ladakh" by HK artist Fongie Chan.
Dr. Andre Alexander was born in Berlin, where he completed his PhD in Architecture. He studied Tibetan traditional architecture in Lhasa, and co-founded the NGO Tibet Heritage Fund in 1996. Since then he has directed conservation and research projects in Tibet, Ladakh, Bhutan and Sikkim. He has also published "The Temples of Lhasa" in 2005. Japanese architect, Yutaka Hirako came to Lhasa on bicycle from Kashgar in 1998 and subsequently joined the Tibet Heritage Fund, overseeing the Serkhang monastery project.