Rinchen Lama with silver pitcher, Lachung
Photograph shows Rinchen Namgyal Lachungpa, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, holding silver pitcher, Lachung, Sikkim.
Forms part of: Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs (Library of Congress).
Also represented in LOT 14034-3, pg. no. 076 (color reference copy).
Gift; Dr. Alice S. Kandell; 2010; (DLC/PP-2010:106).
Hope Cooke was born in San Francisco, to an Irish-American father, John J. Cooke, a flight instructor, and Hope Noyes, an amateur pilot. In 1959, Cooke was a freshman majoring in Asian Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and sharing an apartment with actress Jane Alexander. She went on a summer trip to India and met Palden Thondup Namgyal, Crown Prince of Sikkim, in the Hotel in Darjeeling, India. On March 20, 1963, Cooke married to Namgyal, who soon became the last king of Sikkim, in a Buddhist monastery in a ceremony performed by fourteen lamas. Wedding guests included members of Indian royalty, Indian and Sikkimese generals and the U.S. Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith. By 1973, both the country and their marriage were crumbling: Sikkim was annexed by India. Five months after the takeover of Sikkim had begun, Cooke returned to the United States.
Alice S. Kandell is an American child psychologist, author, photographer and art collector interested in Himalayan culture. She worked extensively in the Indian state of Sikkim as a photographer, capturing approximately 15,000 color slides, as well as black-and-white photographs, between 1965 and 1979. She initially visited Sikkim in 1965 to attend the coronation ceremony of Hope Cooke, an American woman who married Palden Thondup Namgyal, King of Sikkim. At his request, she started a photograph project to illustrate how he and his wife favoured education and local businesses in Sikkim to benefit its culture. She is the author or co-author of two books, (with text by Charlotte Salisbury), and a book for children, called Sikkim: The Hidden Kingdom. Her private collection of Tibetan art was covered in A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection of Tibetan Sacred Art, by Marylin Rhie and Robert Thurman, with photographs by John Bigelow Taylor. In 2011, she donated a collection of Tibetan art to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, and about 300 pictures to the Library of Congress.