Tag: imperialism

The register of incarnate gods

The register of incarnate gods

ADOXOBLOG

RecycleThe Golden Bough (James Frazer, 1922) proves that where the relationship between China and Tibet is concerned, plus ça chose, plus c’est la même chose.

“The Buddhist Tartars believe in a great number of living Buddhas, who officiate as Grand Lamas at the head of the most imporatant monasteries. When one of these Grand Lamas dies his disciples do not sorrow, for they know that he will soon reappear, being born in the form of an infant. Their only anxiety is to discover the place of his birth… wherever he is born, the trees and plants put forth green leaves; at his bidding flowers bloom and springs of water rise; and his presence diffuses heavenly blessings.”

“A register of all the incarnate gods in the Chinese empire is kept in the Li fan yüan of Colonial Office at Peking. The number of gods who have thus taken out a…

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A lament for lost sartorial options

A lament for lost sartorial options

ADOXOBLOG

Some striking colour portrait photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. In some ways they look like they could have been taken last week, but they were actually all made between 1907 and 1915, just before WWI and the Russian Revolution. The splendid example above is of Alim Khan (1880-1944) the Emir of Bukhara, in 1911. Bukhara was a vassal state of the Russian Empire, though the Emir had absolute authority within its borders. It was absorbed by the Soviet Union in 1920, and Alim Khan fled to Afghanistan.

There’s just something about seeing these long-dead people in colour that connects us to them, and to history in general, in way that hardly any monochrome image can achieve. To make them, Prokudin-Gorskii developed a system of exposing three glass plate negatives rapidly in succession, with a red filter, a green, and finally a blue. These three monochrome negatives could then be projected through a lantern similarly equipped…

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