Expert on Kashmir Architecture

Walter Slaje slaje at T-ONLINE.DE
Tue Sep 27 15:02:43 UTC 2011

Dear Mrinal Kaul,

as it happens, I am just in the valley in continuation of my topographical 
studies and may safely say that I have hardly left out any site on this side 
of the Line of Control, which might be of historical interest in connection 
with my beloved medieval Rajatarangini authors. So what I have to state is 
to be taken as an eyewitness report. My impression of the present situation 
in a nutshell, as I am running out of email time:

Pre-Islamic monuments have either been
1) converted into Muslim shrines, renamed, and their use has been 
accordingly changed,
2) or walled and used by the army,
3) or have been left to decay,
4) or have been subjected to an amateurish attempt at restoration, which has 
generally done more harm than good.

5) With very few exceptions there are no descriptions to identify the nature 
of pre-Islamic sites or temples. The ordinary visitor must be very good at 

6) The state of the conservation, the cataloguing and above all of the 
description of pieces of prime importance in the Sri Pratap Singh Museum in 
Srinagar really causes tears to well in one's eyes.

The initiative of the INTACH is certainly as laudable as it is overdue. A 
close cooperation with a qualified art historian is indispensable. Professor 
Klimburg-Salter (Vienna) comes to my mind 
(deborah.klimburg-salter at I regret that I lack entirely any 
qualification for art history. As regards scholarly reliable studies in the 
field of Kashmiri art history, I think that Hermann Goetz is still the one 
to begin with:
Studies in the History and Art of Kashmir and the Indian Himalaya. 
[Schriftenreihe des Südasien-Instituts der Universität Heidelberg. 4] 
Wiesbaden 1969.

Good luck, and very best wishes,

Walter Slaje

Prof. Dr. Walter Slaje
Hermann-Löns-Str. 1
D-99425 Weimar

Ego ex animi mei sententia spondeo ac polliceor
studia humanitatis impigro labore culturum et provecturum
non sordidi lucri causa nec ad vanam captandam gloriam,
sed quo magis veritas propagetur et lux eius, qua salus
humani generis continetur, clarius effulgeat.
Vindobonae, die XXI. mensis Novembris MCMLXXXIII. 

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