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Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs, Library of Congress: 1. Religious Practices.

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 3, 2011

These images are from a special collection at the Library of Congress:

[The] Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs portrays the people and landscape of a kingdom high in the Himalaya Mountains. Sikkim, now part of India, borders on Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Dr. Kandell captured these vivid scenes in order to document a vanishing culture. During visits between 1965 and 1979 (primarily 1965-1971), Dr. Kandell received special permission to photograph Buddhist monks and lamas, ceremonial dances, and monasteries; people working on farms, in canning factories, and at special crafts; and the royal palace and chapel at Gangtok, including the last king, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, his American wife Queen Hope Cooke (Dr. Kandell’s college friend), and their family.

Also depicted are the villages and people of Singhik and Lachung, the mountains of Kānchenjunga, the Ralang Hot Springs, and the Gangtok bazaar as well as different ethnic groups including the Kirati (Kiranti), Lepcha, Nepalese, and Bhutia people. Other photographs show the material culture, including religious paintings, ceremonial masks, jewelry and carpets. Special events feature the coronation in 1965 and the wedding of Princess Yanchen Dolma and Simon Abraham in 1979.

Dr. Alice S. Kandell dedicated her rights to the public domain when making this generous gift to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, in 2010. The entire collection includes approximately 15,000 photographs available for research use at the Library.

About 300 have been digitized.

Credit lines should read as follows:

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-123456]

Lamas spinning prayer wheels at old Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30144

Monk fixing clock above painting, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30150

Boys blowing gyalings in front of palace temple, Gangtok, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30187

Blue Mahakala dancer initiating the New Year's ceremony, Gangtok, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30195

Black Hat Lama in a procession down the mountain to sacrifice objects, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30211

Guruda bird dancer performing at the New Year's dance, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30773

Hex, symbolizing person’s spirit, thrown in the road for devil to be decoyed. Used in Bon practices, Sikkim. LC-DIG-ppmsca-30870
Woman turns prayer wheel in front of the Do-Drul Chorten stupa. LC-DIG-ppmsca-31643

Lama turning prayer wheel activating prayers. LC-DIG-ppmsca-31642


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