Library Exhibits Rare Pieces Related to Dalai Lama

Posted October 16, 2007 at 6:13pm

Today, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will be given the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. To mark the occasion, the Library of Congress this week is displaying “Celebrating Tibet: A special display on the occasion of the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.”

The exhibit, on display through Friday, includes seven rare Tibetan books from the 17th to 19th centuries, 30 books from the 20th and 21st centuries drawn from the Library’s Tibetan and general collections, several photographs of the region taken during the Ernst Schäfer expedition in the late 1930s and a large Tibetan prayer wheel containing 208 repetitions of 42 Tibetan texts.

“The Tibetan Collection is one of the largest in the world, so it is very appropriate to honor His Holiness the Dalai Lama on this special occasion with a display highlighting the richness of Tibetan culture and literature,” said Susan Meinheit, Tibetan and Mongolian area specialist in the Asian division at the Library of Congress.

The 14th Dalai Lama was the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West. He has helped to spread Buddhism and to promote the concepts of universal responsibility, secular ethics and religious harmony. Meinheit said the exhibit will provide an opportunity to see several rare items that relate to Dalai Lama’s history and mission.

“We hope the display will call attention to special resources related to Tibetan studies available at the Library of Congress, so that visitors can return and make use of the collections,” she said.

The display is free and open to the public. It will be on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Asian Reading Room, located in Room 150 of the Thomas Jefferson Building.