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Nicholas Roerich (1874 - 1947)

Lot 195: Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh [Roerich] (1874-1947)


November 30, 2005
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item


The Potala, The Stronghold of Tibet
signed with a Cyrillic monogram 'RKh' (lower left), inscribed '10 Potala/N. Roerich' (on the stretcher) and with further inscription in Sanskrit 'The Potala' (on the stretcher)
tempera on canvas
36 1/8 x 60 1/8 in. (91.6 x 152.7 cm.)
Executed in 1939

Artist or Maker

Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh [Roerich] (1874-1947)


V. V. Sokolovskii, Katalog khudozhestvennykh proizvedenii N. K. Rerikha 1885-1947, Novosibirsk, 1974, p. 120.


The Potala Palace, perched upon Marpo Ri hill some 130 metres above Lhasa valley is the greatest monumental structure in Tibet. From as early as the 11th Century the palace was known as the Potala, the name probably derived from the mythological Mt. Potala, the abode of the Bodhisattva Chenresi in Southern India. The palace contains over 1000 rooms and served both a religious and political function as the official residence of the Dalai Lama and the seat of Tibetan government. Roerich would have certainly recognised the symbolism of this immense structure encircled by magnificant mountains: a stamen in the centre of a lotus.
Charles Crane (1858-1939) became acquainted with Nikolai Roerich in 1921; the pair cemented their friendship when they travelled together in Darjeeling in 1925. By the early thirties, Crane had become a respected advisor of the Roerich Museum in New York and a sponsor of their Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute. Towards the end of his life, Crane had collected a number of important Russian works including the present painting and 'Rostov the Great' (1903, State Museum of Oriental Arts, Moscow). Today, a room at The Roerich Museum is named after Crane, in honour of his friendship with the artist.

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November 30, 2005, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom