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- Photographer Biography
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About this Collection
This selection of 300 images from the Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs portrays the people and landscape of a kingdom high in the Himalaya Mountains. Sikkim, now part of India, borders on Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Dr. Kandell captured these vivid scenes in order to document a vanishing culture. During visits between 1965 and 1979 (primarily 1965-1971), Dr. Kandell received special permission to photograph Buddhist monks and lamas, ceremonial dances, and monasteries; people working on farms, in canning factories, and at special crafts; and the royal palace and chapel at Gangtok, including the last king, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, his American wife Queen Hope Cooke (Dr. Kandell's college friend), and their family.
Also depicted are the villages and people of Singhik and Lachung, the mountains of Kānchenjunga, the Ralang Hot Springs, and the Gangtok bazaar as well as different ethnic groups including the Kirati (Kiranti), Lepcha, Nepalese, and Bhutia people. Other photographs show the material culture, including religious paintings, ceremonial masks, jewelry and carpets. Special events feature the coronation in 1965 and the wedding of Princess Yanchen Dolma and Simon Abraham in 1979.
Dr. Alice S. Kandell dedicated her rights to the public domain when making this generous gift to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, in 2010. The entire collection includes approximately 15,000 photographs available for research use at the Library. For more information, see Arrangement and Access.
"A Tour of the Lost Kingdom: Sikkim," a lecture by Hope Cooke and Dr. Kandell is online as a Webcast, http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=4912