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Sino-Tibetan Albums from the 18th century

Research and publication project of three Sino-Tibetan Albums from the 18th century in the Berlin and Beijing Collections

In the collection of Ethnologisches Museum are two Sino-Tibetan albums, Rebirth Lineage Album of Rölpé Dorjé (ID7524) and Rebirth Lineage Album of the 6th Panchan (ID7525) commissioned by Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) in the 18th century Chinese court. They have 15 pages each, with miniature paintings and inscriptions in golden letters. The album Rebirth Lineage Album of Rölpé Dorjé depicts portraits of Changkya Rölpé Dorjé (1717-1786) in 15 lives and each leaf contains inscriptions in four languages: Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchurian. Changkya Rölpé Dorjé was a principal Tibetan Buddhist teacher in the Qing court and closely associated with Qianlong Emperor. And similarly, the Rebirth Lineage Album of the 6th Panchan depicts Panchan Lama’s portraits of 15 lives.

Both albums have been originally in the Chinese imperial collection and entered into Berlin collection in the beginning of the 20th century. In the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing is also a similar album, Rebirth Lineage Album of the Qianlong Emperor, in which portraits of Qianlong Emperor in 15 lives are also depicted.

This research and publication project aims to publish the albums - both in the Berlin and Beijing collection - in high resolution and full size and to conduct a complete research by examining them together and also translate all the inscriptions. Questions such as provenance of the Berlin album and the relationships between the Berlin and Beijing albums in the Qing court will also be included.

This project is a co-operation between the Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Palace Museum, Beijing (PM). The publication project is planned as a two-year cooperative research project.


Project Management: Luo Wen-Hua and Li Ruoyu (Palacemuseum Beijing)
Project coordinator: Luo Wen-Hua
Project collaborators: Wang Ching-Ling (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Chou Wen-Shing (Assistant Professor of East Asian Art at Hunter College, City University of New York), Henriette Lavaulx-Vrécourt (Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
Project promoter: Palacemuseum Beijing (Represented by the General Director Dr. Xudong Wang), SPK (represented by the General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Prof. Dr. Michael Eissenhauer)
Project Sponsor: Palacemuseum Beijing
Duration: 2021 to 2023