In the early 1930s, two unlikely partners traveled in the Indian Himalayas collecting objects for the U-M Museum of Anthropology. The first was Walter Koelz, a zoologist, a former state ichthyologist of Michigan, and a specialist in Great Lakes whitefish. The second was Rup Chand, a local man from an impoverished noble family who had met Koelz during a previous trip to the region, when Koelz was working as a botanist. From 1932 to 1934, the two men traveled with a small team throughout the western Himalayas collecting cultural objects from the Museum as well as trapping birds and collecting plant specimens. Among the 500-plus objects they shipped back was a remarkable collection of more than 50 western Himalayan Buddhist scroll paintings or thangkas. They acquired the painting shown here, of the celestial Buddha Vairochana, at the Po Monastery in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. It dates to the 12th or 13th century AD. For a discussion of the iconography of the painting, or to view more thangkas, visit our online exhibit.
Back to Day 199.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.