Photographs from De long en large Ladakh by Jean Mansion - Édition Findakly. Copyright Lise Mansion

LETTRE-TDM-n°13: LIVING MASKS OF THE NEWARS, The itinerant masked dances of the Kathmandu Valley

Par Gérard Toffin

In December 2013, François Pannier, the director of the Galerie Le Toit du Monde, located in one of the most picturesque narrow streets of Paris, drew my intention to a set of old photographs illustrating a troupe of Newar masked dancers in the Kathmandu Valley. The photographs were stuck in an album showing various locations in this central Himalayan region and in India. The owner of the album was Major D.C. Monro, surgeon of the commandant-in-chief of the Rāj in India. He had travelled through Nepal in 1931 in the company of Sir Philip Chetwode and his daughter Penelope Chetwode. The latter had taken the photographs. These snaps of the masked characters, a series of about ten black and white pictures, had been taken in the garden of the former British Residency of Lainchaur, Kathmandu.

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