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Natasha N. Kimmet. Anchored in Architecture: ‘Monumental Lhasa’ at the Rubin Museum of Art

Architectural landmarks act as anchors for the identity of a place, as well as focal points for associated stories and memories. Much as the Eiffel Tower is the pervasive symbol of Paris and the Statue of Liberty represents New York City, beginning in the 17th century key Tibetan monuments became powerful visual icons of Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. This is reflected in a unique body of architecture images produced between the 18th and mid-20th centuries, encompassing painting, photography, film, sketches and published prints and maps created both by and for Tibetans and Westerners as well as other foreign visitors to Lhasa. The visual representations of Lhasa and its monuments during this period demonstrate not only the appeal of the city’s grand fortresses, palaces and temples, but also how cross-cultural encounters shaped the production and dissemination of images.

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