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Old August 24th, 2017, 04:10 PM   #6
Kay Dee
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And for those truly adventurous, inquisitive collectors of art, in this instance rather obscure textile art, it would be remiss of me not to mention and highly recommend this book.

Thunder Dragon Textiles From Bhutan by Mark Bartholomew.
Pub. 1985, 125 pages, containing superb quality reproduced photos, glossy on the pages where the textiles are reproduced, English / Japanese text. (Printed in Japan, and the copy I have seemingly much more recently that the original in 1985, given the very high quality of the photo reproductions)

In this book are pieces from the, repeat THE best / finest collection of said textiles in the world. Period! A rather controversial collection I might add, but still the best.

A little background: I lived in Kathmandu during most of the 70’s / into the very early 80's. my interest carpets not textiles, when Mark visited KTM circa 76, IIRC. Mark had the $$, and got to know the right people 'in town' so he collected the very best / most pieces, many coming from the Royal Family of Bhutan.

Anyway long story made fairly short. Mark built up an enormous collection of the very best antique Bhutanese textiles, and many many years later the Royal Family (of Bhutan) wanted to buy some, repeat only some, back, as what he had, was far far better than what they now had. However, he would only sell his collection as a whole then (which he did / does still want a small - but now even bigger - fortune for) not individual pieces. But they only wanted individual pieces and he would not sell them like that. And as far as I am concerned, given they were collected fair and square, that was his prerogative.

Anyway, as far as I know, he still has the whole collection (or at least the majority of it, that is all the best pieces), and AFAIK will only sell what he has as a whole, and is in no hurry / in any need to do so, again as far as I know today from 'the grapevine'.

But because he would not sell certain individual pieces back to the Royal Family many people dislike him, and hence why I call it a controversial collection. But, without doubt, no ifs of buts, he has the very best collection of Bhutanese textiles in the world today, only which a small sample of is shown in the book. And even if you ‘only’ owned what is in this book, then you’d also hold one of the best collections too. So one can only imagine what his full collection must be like.

Anyway, I have no axe to grind on his behalf, as a matter fact I hardly knew him back then, circa 1978 when I last saw him, nor have had any contact with him since. But if you ask me, I side with his ‘stance’, that is he collected the pieces fair and square by buying them at the time and given that fact has the right now to say how he sells them, that is piece by piece, or as a whole. Anyway, that’s just my position and I’m sticking to it, what others think of him / his ‘ethics’ is up to them.

But the pieces in the book are simply stunning, if only a tiny peep into the arcane world of Bhutanese textiles!!!!!!!!

EDIT. Another book on the same subject (and a good collection no doubt, but no real comparison to the above), but does have more photos in it, and published in Thailand and suffers somewhat from, in some instances, poor reproduction of the photos is;
Traditional Bhutanese Textiles by Barbara S Adams (another old '70's Kathmandu local as it were)
Pub 1984, 154 pages, 'flattish' semi-glossy paper , i.e. semi-semi-glossy) small format book, approx 7" x 8".

Last edited by Kay Dee; August 25th, 2017 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Additional book
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