SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Tibetan Monastery Collections Today

Museum Committee Chemre with Christian and Kunsang

Louise working in Chemre Museum

In April 2017, Christian Luczanits, Louise Tythacott and Kunsang Namgyal Lama worked on re-displaying the collections at Chemre Monastery Museum in Ladakh. They documented the existing museum collections (ca. 150 objects), and developed a gallery layout, rationale, themes, object lists and case plans for a new museum space (two floors of approximate 125 square meters each). Of these, the upper floor will be used for displaying objects, the lower floor for books and documents. They presented their rationale and designs to the museum committee during their stay in the monastery. The new museum space is due to open in November 2017.


In July 2017, Christian Luczanits was joined by the photographer Jaroslav Poncar and Markus Viebeck (Resources for Kanjur and Tanjur Studies, University of Vienna) to continue the documentation of monastery collections in Upper Mustang, Nepal. The collection of Ghami Monastery could be documented in its entirety (ca. 150 objects including books, 1685 photos) and the photographing of manuscripts of Namgyal monastery was largely completed. The latter includes 42 volumes of a 14th century illuminated Kanjur and numerous other important manuscripts. Due to the high number of ancient manuscripts the documentation of the Namgyal collection alone now amounts to 28285 photographs.

An illumination of Buddha Dīpaṃkara from a 14th century manuscript at Namgyal monastery, Spring 2017. Credit: Christian Luczanits