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8 The Wood Carvings of Lachuse. A Hidden Jewel of Early Mediaeval Ladakhi Art

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Chapter Summary

The small village temple of Lachuse, located in a remote corner of Western Ladakh, is a stone building with a single square room without windows, accessed through a door in the front wall; light is admitted through an opening in the roof. The entrance to the temple has a doorframe with scenes from the Buddha's life story and other figural decoration. In the vestibule several carved pillars and lintels, loose architectural pieces and a large sculptural panel indicate that the temple must once have had an impressive wooden façade. On the inside there are four fluted columns, two of which still have magnificent capitals, and four bracket lions on the walls. Tracing the relations of the woodcarvings with artistic creations of other areas in Ladakh and beyond permits a glimpse into the evolution of Ladakhi art in the early mediaeval period.

Keywords: Buddha; Lachuse; Ladakh; woodcarving



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