Saturday, June 28, 2014

A cave temple

This is a recreation with whatever is left, a reconstruction of a cave temple and is in the Berlin Dahlem museum. If one were to go to some of these areas in China, one would find the caves devoid of their original contents. One would see the cut on the walls, perfect in size, the size of shipping crates where the work of German explorers cut out from the walls the glorious cave paintings to be hauled back to Berlin. But even in Berlin these are all that remains, the rest of the loot was destroyed by Allied bombing during the second world war. But if they were left, the intolerant locals would have destroyed them, this is still an area of predominantly Muslims.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Albert von le coq

The book, 'Buried treasures of Chines Turkestan' written by Albert Von Le Coq, in German and translated into English in 1928 speaks of.... ' the statue stands on a semi circular throne of a lotus plant, the leaves of which was probably red with white edges, ' He may not be describing this particular statue that he brought from China's Xin Jiang province. The packing around the 1900's must be so rudimentary that I'm amazed that this statue survived the way it did. They had to wrap it up well and then the camels would bring it to the nearest train station to be sent to Moscow and then on to Berlin.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Berlin Dahlem museum

The images, though found in China, don't look Chinese, they are 'info-Iranian.' Here where East meets West on the silk road.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ethnological museum, Dahlem, Berlin

I came to Berlin to visit two museums, the Pergamon and this one. It took me an hour on the underground and 2 days, the first day they were closed, the second they were opened. Wow. I've heard of the treasures taken out from the Gobi desert of Western China and many were destroyed during the Allied bombing of the second world war. This was what's left. Imagine my excitement, I could hardly contain myself.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ethnological museum, Dahlem

Map of Western China, (not really clear) where East meets West on the ancient silk road. Here refugees, mostly religious refugees flee Central Asia and the far borders of the Byzantine empire. Manichaens and Zorastrians leave Europe to settle here. Later Chinese monks goes to India to learn about Buddhism and return with a plethora of ideas which were translated into sutras, banners and frescoes. Here in the Gobi desert of Western China, thousands of caves were made into temples and the German explorers helped themselves to whatever they could unload from the caves and load them onto camel trains to bring back to Germany. Most of these were destroyed by Allied bombings during the second world war. What remains is in this museum in Berlin. These were from mostly the Bezilik caves in Western China. The English explorer, Sir Aurel Stein, went to another area, the Dunhuang caves near Turpan. He didn't have the technology to remove panels of frescoes that the Germans had. He removed thousands of sutras, he was followed by the French explorer, Paul Pelliot and later, Count Otani from Japan and even the Americans.' Today these treasures are found in Germany, England, Japan, Paris and the US. I think the museum in New Delhi, India has some also. I went to Dunhuang a few years ago, there are still hundreds of cave temples left with incredible Buddhist frescoes.
It was a huge effort getting to Dahlem, took 2 changes of underground train and an hour to get there. I went on a Monday but it was closed. I had to return the next morning. It was well worth it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Spree river, Berlin

 The Spree river surrounds museum island where some of the world's greatest museums are located. This is an Unesco World Heritage site.

 It flows round most of Berlin and new buildings of glass and steel are built. These are the government offices.

As it round the bend here, cafes and restaurants are located and deck chairs are laid out. Hard working Berliners sit, relax and have drinks after work. I'm envious.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reichstag, Berlin

Here is the glass dome of the Reichstag, the German parliament, the seat of German power. In front of it is the Bundestag, the German stock exchange, the seat of German wealth. It is both very impressive.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


A memorial to the Roma people killed by the Nazis.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Brandenburg peace gate

 The Brandenburg peace gate in Berlin, Germany.
Right next to it is the US Embassy.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Unter den linden, Berlin

I think this was it, the famous under den linden, the avenue of linden trees. There was so much construction going on that I can't tell but assume it.The new Berlin is all glass and steel.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


A memorial to honor the memory of the Jews killed by the Nazis.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The friezes of the Pergamon museum

 A reconstruction of the altar and the placement of the friezes.

The Pergamon altar sits high atop a mountain, quite like the Parthenon in Athens. It was built to rival the Parthenon. Unfortunately with earthquakes the altar was all broken up and the friezes scattered all over. The Germans were able to convince the sultan of Turkey to let them take them back to Berlin for safe keeping. Some money changed hands. Here a special space, a new Pergamon museum was built to house the reconstructed Pergamon altar. It is an incredible monument.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The magnificent Pergamon altar

This is just a model of the Pergamon altar. The real thing will come tomorrow. When German explorers excavated the site in Turkey, they found numerous of the temple's friezes lying around the site, all exposed to the elements. The Turkish authorities of that time allowed these to be removed (after paying some money) to Berlin, Germany. Here in the Pergamon museum in Berlin, they reconstructed a full scale model of the altar and placed the surviving friezes in their rightful place. It is so amazing to view it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Miletus market gate

Continuing our visit of Pergamon museum in Berlin, we see this immense structure. It's composed of stones excavated  from Turkey. Miletus is an ancient city in Turkey and also mentioned in the bible. German explorers were able to retrieve the many pieces of stone and reconstruction this market gate inside the Pergamon museum. Its so impressive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I'll take your picture

A visitor asked me to take pictures of him and his family. I said, Ok, if you'll take mine afterwards. In front of Ishtar gate in Pergamon museum, Berlin.