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Number of subjects: 22  (click on photo or blue text)

Samuel van de Putte

Samuel van de Putte 1690-1745

Part 1 From Zeeland to Persia 

Part 2 From Persia to India

Part 3 From India to Bengal

Part 4 From Bengal to Nepal

Part 5 From Nepal to Tibet

Part 6 Tibet. Through the Himalayas to Lhasa

Many Europeans during his time travelled the world but hardly anyone traveled overland. Let alone continuously (mostly walking) for thirty years. 

Mountain temple bhutan versie 3


A small dictatorial mountain state 

as a Buddhist Disneyland

for the world's well-to-do.

- Colourful New Year! kopie

About beauty 

famous visitor

'I'm actually a guitarist. At least, that’s why I am here in Amsterdam for a day.’

- You’re performing here?

‘Yeah, last night, in the Ziggo Dome.’

- Doesn’t that place fit… over ten thousand people..? 

"Ha, yes, and sold out! But they didn't come for me.’

Not this, not that

About his long stay in a cave in India I had heard from various quarters, but I still thought the story hard to believe once he sat opposite me. 

Three Stories.

Special Statue - versie 2

On the top floor of the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam a life-size sculpture of Avalokitesvara stands at the entrance to the Tibetan collection. 

The statue personifies love, compassion and unity. Even so, it has a remarkable history of violence.

To bring back its looted symbolism to its former glory, we participated in its restoration for the past couple of years.


Gradually I realised that the very fragility of porcelain gives it such dignity and charm. Vulnerable as the reflection of sky-blue with clouds in a flat-lying mirror, charming as a high-heeled pencil skirt.

About Jingdezhen, Dehua, Père d’Entrecolles, Edmund de Waal, and all times porcelmania.

Nepal 2015

Is Nepal being incorporated as an Indian state, is a new civil war developing, how many people are at risk of dying this winter from hunger and cold due to indifferent politicians and why does the rest of the world not interfere - despite all the collected international aid for earthquake victims being stopped at the border?


Actually, I didn’t bother to think twice. When someone asked me about the actual meaning of an ancestral statue, I conveniently compared it with a family photo album.

I did not realize that in doing so I simply reduced sixty million years of evolution to a scraggy pedigree, to a piece of macramé with a miserable few genetic lines.

Sacred stones

Actually a simple stone is the most elemental symbol of human impermanence. All chiselled texts and ornaments hitchhike for a while towards eternity but weather long before the tomb-, memorial- or prayer stone itself crumbles into stardust.

About sacred stones in India, Nepal, Tibet, China and Japan.

Burmese red

‘We do not beg!’ I overhear a novice defend himself in clear English at allegations by a tourist. ‘We ásk nothing.’ Early in the morning they take to the streets. Often for a short procession, rather thinly clad and barefoot – even in the cold mountain villages. Their performance is a rehearsed discipline: walk straight, be silent, look straight ahead, and keep the pace.

Monks and military in Myanmar.

displaying a collection

Even for the collector who considers showing to be showing off, applying order in the assortment implies situating, stacking, structuring, in short making things visible. Depending on the items, obviously: coins are very different from ceramics or vintage cars. 

And then again, they are not so different.


Nothing and nobody stands the test of time. But that does not necessarily make it easier to let go.

As Marcel Proust put it: ’Even when one is no longer attached to things, it’s still something to have been attached to them.’ You may still cherish a collection of ex-attachments.

Phallus festival Japan

In India round is united with straight in the lingam-yoni. In Tibet, wisdom and compassion are brought together in a copulating couple: yab-yum. In the Netherlands we only recognize the physical rumble and rampetamp and embody this accordingly in a straight face – we don’t do such things. 

About the Good Harvest Festival of Japan.

Lady Kashba

In passing a buyer from Bombay - impetuously beautiful and modern - threw one look at the card and remarked: ‘What a graphic chaos! An Arab name, a Tibetan face, and an address in Amsterdam!’

Of course, the salty chick was right, but we, older guard, had no business card designed, our card grew – say organically, you know.

Early lensmen

Soon after invention of photography a few cadets enthusiastically started to travel the Indian subcontinent with glass plates, a toolbox full of chemicals, a black tent and two servants. 

They were rather sponsored adventurers than military spies. They were the very first generation of travel photographers, as well, the early lensmen.

Postcard from Katmandu

The photogravure was properly developed by the Czech Karel Klíč. German printing houses, however, managed to perfect it for lithographic reproduction. Due to their consistent quality, they were able to retain the postcard market during the first fifteen years of global collector’s mania. The majority of the seven-hundred million postcards sent in 1908 within the United States, for example, had been printed in Germany.

Know thy selfie

‘With a fingertip you can create an effect for which ten years ago I had to juggle half a day on one leg in the darkroom. Most of the creativity depends no longer on seeing and visualizing, but on selecting the right app. Goggal app even enables you to change lenses afterwards. Whoever is still dragging heavy equipment around the neck, has got to be a retired amateur.’

On capturing other cultures

Nelson keeps changes out of sight. Apparently only romantic notions stimulate booksales. That is one of the reasons why his photographs are not only picturesque but actually just as misleading as the title of his project.

Why his book ‘Before they pass away’ is worse than just kitsch.

Casters & carvers

Gradually I realized: if Newars currently create the finest Buddhist images in the world, if they themselves regard the old man on this clay floor as their absolute master, then… in any other country he would be world-famous.

kathmandu in the rain

‘Why don’t you visit my hometown for a change?’ his colleague suggests.

- Why would I?

‘It is very quiet and currently intensely green and peaceful, farmers have just planted the rice.’On the hotel's computer, via Google Earth, he shows me at which valley slope it sits.

- Okay, I'll go to your village.

Farewell Fofana

Back in the sixties there had already been African pedlars who came to Paris-Brussels- Amsterdam to sell antique or antique-finished beads, bronze articles and woodcarvings.

Especially in the beginning there were wonderful, striking characters among them. 


Of course, the label etnografica is a lot shorter than the definition presented by the first Amsterdam ethnic galleries: jewellery, art and utensils from faraway lands.

‘All nations, all periods,’ as one of them summarized it later on.


Samuel van de Putte 3

tAll photographs and texts © Kashba, Ais Loupatty & Ton Lankreijer. Webdesign: William Loupatty.