Heinrich Harrer Limited Edition Portfolio

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Of the original exhibition, Seven Years in Tibet, 1944-1951, Photographs by Heinrich Harrer, from which the Portfolio is drawn, Cotter Holland of the New York Times wrote:

. . . Heinrich Harrer . . . recorded his experiences in the now-classic book, Seven Years in Tibet, first published in 1954. Part field report, part diary, it is the study not only of an insular culture but of the author's gradual shift in attitude from skepticism at what he took to be the crudities of a foreign land to a profound sense of respect and finally love. At least as evocative as his words, however, are the hundreds of stunning photographs that Mr. Harrer took during these years. Using a Leica camera and film that had serendipidiously [sic] found its way to wartime Lhasa, he became the first person to visually document a centuries-old culture that is all but extinct today . . . .

The world that Mr. Harrer chronicles was in every sense extraordinary, and little of it escaped his fascinated eye. He recorded the topography of Lhasa: the great pyramidal Western Gate through which he first entered the city, the monumental obelisk, dating from the 8th century A.D., whose inscription celebrates an ancient victory of the Tibetans over the Chinese, and the 17th-century Potala Palace, looming as vast and white as a glacier over the city . . . .

In 1982, Mr. Harrer returned to Lhasa and found it dramatically altered. The great Western Gate was gone, the inscription on the obelisk obscured, and many of the monasteries and schools were destroyed. No great tankas remain to adorn the Potala walls, and the palace presides not over public gardens and a vibrant Tibetan community but over a bleak military encampment. Without the photographs in Seven Years in Tibet, in fact, there would be little evidence of the rich culture that once filled this Himalayan vastness.

Cotter, Holland. "A 'Forbidden City' Reveals Its Secrets to a Skeptic." The New York Times, Sunday, September 5, 1993: Arts & Leisure H23.