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Koelz Collection of Himalayan Art

"Tara," UMMAA 17458

Koelz Collection of Himalayan Art
On November 2, 1932, zoologist and adventurer Walter Norman Koelz left Ann Arbor for a two-year collecting mission in northern India. Koelz had been appointed by the University of Michigan to collect biological specimens for the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and material culture for the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. From 1932 to 1934 he traveled throughout the Indian Himalayas, collecting birds and other fauna, botanical specimens, and a rare and important assemblage of Western Himalayan art. This exhibition features a portion of the objects that Koelz collected, including religious tangka paintings from Buddhist monasteries, bronze and silver amulet boxes, elaborate shawls, and wooden seals and printing blocks.

For Koelz' diary entries during his expedition, along with a chapter contextualizing his acquisition of sacred Buddhist objects and an appendix presenting previously unpublished thangka paintings that he collected, see The Himalayan Journey of Walter N. Koelz: The University of Michigan Himalayan Expedition, 1932-1934, by Carla M. Sinopoli