Category Archives: Mongolia

Bodhisattva statue project symbolizes Mongolia’s Buddhist heritage

The Grand Maitreya Project statue manufacturing process. Photo via The Grand Maitreya Project on Facebook.

The Grand Maitreya Project statue manufacturing process. Photo via The Grand Maitreya Project on Facebook.

Lion’s Roar

A 177-foot-tall statue of the standing Maitreya Bodhisattva will be built in Mongolia under the spiritual direction of the Dalai Lama. The project is set to be completed by 2018 and the builders, the Grand Maitreya Project, are currently holding a funding campaign to help finish its construction.

The project aims to rebuild Mongolia’s ancient culture and history of Tibetan Buddhism, starting with the statue of the bodhisattva of lovingkindness, according to the project’s website. The statue is meant to act as a beacon of peace, following Mongolia’s complicated history of communist occupation and anti-Buddhist campaigns.

The occupation of the country began in the 1920s and was followed by a revolution from soviet communists. During this time, many Mongolian people became separated from their Buddhist heritage, and many of the country’s ancient monasteries and Maitreya statues were destroyed. By 1939 only one monastery was left standing. Following a peaceful protest in 1990, occupying forces retreated and the country re-gained its spiritual freedom.

The Grand Maitreya Project itself is indicative of a cultural divide finally being bridged. A stupa will be connected to the statue, housing interior teaching and meditation levels, holy relics and other artifacts. The Dalai Lama has selected sacred relics of the Buddha from his personal collection to be enshrined inside the Maitreya statue. Continue reading

Book Review of Mongolian Buddhist Art

Mongolian Buddhist Art: Masterpieces from the Museums of Mongolia. Edited by Zara Fleming and J. Lkhagvademchig Shastri.Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2011. Pp. 1032. ISBN 10: 1932476377; ISBN 13: 978-1932476378.
Reviewed by Uranchimeg Tsultemin, University of California, Berkeley

Link to PDF at

Seven gilded Buddhist deity stolen from Erdenezuu Museum

Ulan Bator Post
20 May 2014

Seven gilded Buddhist deity and several other religious artifacts were stolen on Monday night from the Museum of Erdenezuu Monastery in Kharkhorin soum of Uvurkhangai Province.

Police inspectors, inspection agencies, and the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism are currently working at the museum after receiving a report from the General Police Department.

Erdenezuu Museum has an alarm installed at every glass display and a 24/7 security guards, reported officials.

Three of the deity are masterpieces of finest handicrafts dating back to the 17th century and are considered unparalleled artifacts of Mongolia.

A source from the museum said, “Gilded Manjusri, Duinhor, Jugdernamjil and four gilded Maitreya were stolen. We are not sure how the thieves sneaked through and got out of the museum without being noticed by the guards.”

All law enforcement organizations including border and customs departments were notified of the case, and are working to find the stolen artifacts.


The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide

downloadThe All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide
by Karl Debreczeny, Elena Pakhoutova, Christian Luczanits, Jan Van Alphen

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Rubin Museum of Art (January 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 908586643X
ISBN-13: 978-9085866435
Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.4 x 0.9 inches

This book is the culmination of a long story that began with the acquisition of fifty-four paintings from an elderly priest, who had served in a Belgian mission in Inner Mongolia in the 1920s, by the Ethnographic Museum of Antwerp in 1977.

The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide focuses on this extremely rare group of richly-detailed album leaves which illustrate the visualization practice of Sarvavid Vairocana, the All-Knowing Buddha. This beautifully illustrated step-by-step visual guide provides a unique glimpse into Tibetan Buddhist meditation and ritual, normally instruction restricted to oral transmission by a teacher to his initiated disciple. These practices are usually not meant to be depicted and this is one of the only albums known to exist in which the meditative visualization process is spelled out visually. While the ritual narrative of these unusual paintings is Tibetan Buddhist in content they are expressed in a vivid Chinese aesthetic, a unique product of cultural translation through its Mongolian patrons. The album exemplifies rich patterns of cross-cultural exchange that characterized the Qing Empire.

Three essays by Rubin Museum curators explore different aspects of Vairocana and contextualize the album, illustrated with approximately twenty-five images, followed by the leaves themselves which are featured in fifty-four full-page plates with accompanying commentary on their ritual and artistic content.

Labour of love: restoring the sacred, 15th-century art of Mustang’s monasteries
03 NOVEMBER 2013

At an altitude above 3,800 metres in the Himalayas, just inside Nepal’s border with Tibet, more than 30 locally trained inhabitants are busy restoring Buddhist murals inside monasteries which date back to the 15th century.

The restoration project is being carried out in the walled city of  Lo Manthang, which used to serve as the capital of the once -forbidden kingdom of Mustang.

Workers from Mustang’s Lobas tribe paint the walls of the temples where villagers perform daily prayers in front of statues of the Buddha and other Tibetan deities. Continue reading

Endangered Archives Programme: Rare photographic negatives from Mongolia

01 Nov 2013

The Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library is pleased to
announce the addition of a new catalogue to our web pages. The
catalogue gives details of material copied by the project EAP264:
Preservation through digitisation of rare photographic negatives from

This project digitised glass plate negatives, the majority of which
contain images taken between 1921 and 1945 and have never been printed.
The collection covers a wide range of topics.

More information about the project can be found here:

The catalogue is available on the Endangered Archives Programme web site

For more information about the Endangered Archives Programme please
visit and our blog

Indiegogo Funding Request: Mongolia’s Buddhist Monasteries Project


Uncovering the past, building the future

Help us publish a treasure trove of data on historic Buddhist temple sites and share the stories of Mongolia’s elders, preserving a rich cultural past and encouraging young Mongolian citizens to embrace their heritage. Continue reading