The geography of Nicholas Roerich’s travels in Ceylon (on the basis of the artist’s writings and paintings)

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Abstract

This article discusses Nicholas Roerich´s travel to Ceylon as part of his Central Asian expedition of 1923 -1928, which is a less-known episode in the biography of the artist and thinker. Roerich’s stays in India, Bhutan, Manchuria, China and other countries are already well known, but his visit to Ceylon has not yet been subject to research. One important question pertains to chronology: while Roerich´s diaries establish that he was on the island in 1923, his letters from December 1923 indicate that at the time of writing he was in India. Solving this issue is one purpose of this article. On Roerich’s map of his Central Asian Expedition, Ceylon is marked as a point of stay, yet without specifying the particular places of his visit. This article reconstructs the route of Nicholas Roerich’s trip to Ceylon during which he established contacts and spiritual ties with representatives of religious and secular circles of this island. The present study is based on Roerich´s documents of personal origin, as well as on visual materials from the cycle ‘Ashram’ that the artist created during his visit to Ceylon.

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Figure 1. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (State Tretyakov Gallery. 1931)

Source: Рерих Н.К. URL: http://n-k-roerich.ru/painting/item/fD0/s00/e0000009/index. shtml (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

 

Figure 2. Bamboo in the Botanical Garden in Peradeniya near Kandy (A. Krasnov. From travel impressions under the tropics)

Source: DrevLit.Ru. Библиотека древних рукописей. URL: http://drevlit.ru/docs/ uva/XIX/1880-1900/Krasnov/n.JPG. URL: http://n-k-roerich.ru/paintrng/item/fD0/s00/e0000009/index.shtml (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

 

Figure 3. One of the two Buddha statues in a seated pose in Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa. The prototype of the painting of N.K. Roerich "Maitreya"

Source: RuTraveller. URL: https://www.rutravener.ru/photo/albums/ganery (дата об­ращения: 02.04.2019).

 

Figure 4. N.K. Roerich. Maitreya (Allahabad Municipal Museum, India, 1933)

Source: Справочник коллекционера «Всесвит». URL: http://valenik.ru/vsesvit/tema/p/painter/r/1/rerikhnk.html (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

 

Figure 5. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (Gallery of New Art. Croatia, Zagreb. 1931)

Source: Каталог картин Н.К. и С.Н. Рерихов. URL: http://ganery.facets.ru/show. php?id=4880 (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

Figure 6. Part of the Monastery of Vessagiri. Current view. Anuradhapura

Source: Homestaysrilanka - Travel guide photography blog - Sri Lanka. URL: https:// homestaysrilanka.wordpress.com/2015/09/24/anuradhapura-wessagiri-vihara/ (дата обращения: 13.04.2019).

 

Figure 7. N.K. Roerich. Ashram   (State Museum of Oriental Art. 1938)

Source: Каталог картин Н.К. и С.Н. Рерихов. URL: http://gallery.facets.ru/show. php?id=4880 (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

Figure 8. N.K. Roerich. Ashram   (Museum of Nicholas Roerich, New York, USA. 1931)

Source: Каталог картин Н.К. и С.Н. Рерихов. URL: http://gallery.facets.ru/show. php?id=4880 (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

 

Figure 9. A current view of the Temple of Isurumuni

Source: Anuradhapura Isurumuniya Temple, Sri Lanka UNESCO World Heritage. Building, brick. URL: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-anuradhapura-isurumuniya-temple-sri-lanka-unesco-world-heritage-buddhist-si1uated-near-to-tissa-wewa-tisa-tank-1:here-image93531877 (дата обращения 13.04.2019).

 

Figure 10. N.K. Roerich. Messenger (1946) (State Museum of the East. Moscow)

Source: Картина недели. URL: http://www.centre.smr.ru/win/pics/pic0037/p0037. htm (дата обращения: 18.04.2019).

 

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About the authors

Ranjana Devamitra Senasinghe

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: roma.lanka@mail.ru

graduate student at the Department of Russian History of RUDN University.

10 Miklukho-Maklaya St., bldg. 2, Moscow, 117198, Russia

References

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Supplementary files

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1. Figure 1. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (State Tretyakov Gallery. 1931)

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2. Figure 2. Bamboo in the Botanical Garden in Peradeniya near Kandy (A. Krasnov. From travel impressions under the tropics)

Download (11KB)
3. Figure 3. One of the two Buddha statues in a seated pose in Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa. The prototype of the painting of N.K. Roerich “Maitreya”

Download (11KB)
4. Figure 4. N.K. Roerich. Maitreya (Allahabad Municipal Museum, India, 1933)

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5. Figure 5. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (Gallery of New Art. Croatia, Zagreb. 1931)

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6. Figure 6. Part of the Monastery of Vessagiri. Current view. Anuradhapura

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7. Figure 7. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (State Museum of Oriental Art. 1938)

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8. Figure 8. N.K. Roerich. Ashram (Museum of Nicholas Roerich, New York, USA. 1931)

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9. Figure 9. A current view of the Temple of Isurumuni

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10. Figure 10. N.K. Roerich. Messenger (1946) (State Museum of the East. Moscow)

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Copyright (c) 2019 Senasinghe R.D.

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