This extensive work dedicated to the unique textile art of Bhutan is an impressive illustration of how closely art, spirituality, and life are interwoven in the last of the Buddhist kingdoms in the Himalayas. It gives new insight into Bhutanese cosmology, worldview, culture, and society, which is associated with a variety of historical, philosophical, religious, social, and artistic perspectives. The remote mountain location, low-key foreign policy, and basic principles of Buddhism has made it possible for Bhutan, the last of the Buddhist kingdoms in the Himalayas, to preserve a remarkable form of textile art that is interwoven with all aspects of life. Karin Altmann shows us Bhutan textiles in their diversity: they are clothes and everyday objects, currency and commodity, mark important events as gifts during life, and are testament to the social status of a person. But they are also an integral aspect of religious festivals, dances, and rituals that provide insight into the mystical and religious beliefs of the Bhutanese people, and reflect the concept of gender in Bhutanese society. The book also tells the story of a country that is searching for a sensitive balance between tradition and progress in a globalized world.
Karin Altmann, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria