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Fertile Lands at Songtsam Lodge Tacheng (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning properties below!

Part of a mixed Tibetan/Lisu farming community, Songtsam Lodge Tacheng enjoys a comfortable climate and boats the region’s most fertile land. The spacious and cozy rooms in the main building face beautiful terraced rice fields and mountains in the distance. The lodge is elegantly designed to showcase fine Chinese art and style; big windows and balconies enable guests to take in the stunning rural scenery.

The year-round climate yields an abundance of fruits and nuts, growing alongside terraced fields of rice, wheat and grapes. Meals in Tacheng benefit from a rich supply of locally grown organic vegetables all year round, as well as wild honey, fish, and ham that might just be the best in China.

Tacheng is also home to the endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). The endearing wildlife, idyllic environment, and relaxing atmosphere make it popular for family excursions and romantic getaways.

Destinations & Activities
At an altitude of 1,900 metres, Tacheng County is located between the Yangtze and Mekong Rivers, where some of the best old-growth forests in the world can be found. This is one of the most fertile valleys, yielding, among other crops, plentiful amounts of rice and fruit. The semi-wild boars, which feed on wild nuts before winter, make the best ham in the world. Tacheng is also famous for its rich Tibetan culture and Naxi and Lisu villages, with charming, distinctive black-roofed farmhouses.

The rare Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti), is one of the world’s most endangered primates with less than 2,000 found in the wild. They live at the highest altitude of any primate (3,000-4,500 metres), excluding humans.

The journey down the Mekong River from Meili to Tacheng is simply incredible. Within only 250 kilometres, the road winds through vastly different landscapes, and includes descending from high to low altitude and experiencing cooler to warmer climates, Tibetan and Lisu culture, buckwheat crops and rice fields, and different styles of architecture.

From Cizhong to Tacheng, the countryside is incredibly beautiful. Industry is absent and the area’s natural beauty remains untouched. As passers-by, travellers will see farmers singing in the fading light while working in the fields.

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Watch Panel Discussion “Seen & Unseen”

On July 23, 2020, curators Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, Sarah Laursen and Sarah Fee presented three magnificent museum exhibitions that were either postponed or not available for viewing due to the Covid-19 pandemic: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Up Close at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lost Luxuries: Ancient Chinese Gold at the Middlebury College Museum of Art; and The Cloth That Changed the World: India's Painted and Printed Cottons at The Royal Ontario Museum.

Watch the full recording below, or jump to:
02:48 – Joseph Scheier-Dolberg / the Met
13:29 – Sarah Laursen / Middlebury College Museum of Art
28:51 – Sarah Fee / Royal Ontario Museum
41:21 – Q&A

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Peaceful Coexistence at Songtsam Lodge Cizhong (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning properties below!

A hundred years ago, French missionaries ventured into landlocked valleys of Yunnan province to share their religion. A century later, the churches that remain in these regions continue to thrive. Cizhong Catholic Church, where service in Tibetan is still held every Sunday, is the most beautiful of these churches, even after many years of disrepair. Songtsam Lodge Cizhong sits in this lovely Tibetan village, surrounded by the grapevine-covered slopes of local vineyards.

Destinations & Activities
At an altitude of 1,800 metres at the base of the Upper Mekong River valley, Cizhong lies in a fertile green field dotted by prayer flags, farmhouses, and waterfalls. A hundred years ago, French missionaries ventured overland to northern Yunnan province, the gateway to the heartland of Tibetan Buddhism. A century later, the churches in these regions are still thriving.

Cizhong Catholic Church is the most beautiful of these churches. First built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1909, the building combines Gothic features with characteristic of Chinese architecture. Despite many years of disrepair, the structure remains, and some of the wall paintings and facade have survived the Cultural Revolution. Services in Tibetan are held every Sunday.

The village community includes both Christians and Buddhists, with the two groups living peacefully together. Numerous hiking routes take you into the mountains.

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Discover Songtsam Lodge Benzilan (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning properties below!

Nestled in an intimate green valley by the Yangtze River, Songtsam Lodge Benzilan features spacious guest rooms, all decorated in a modern Sino-Tibetan style. The lodge is surrounded by authentic white-walled Tibetan homes and has views of a small prayer house that rests atop a hill. It takes only 10 minutes from the busy little town of Benzilan to reach this hidden valley seemingly removed from the outside world. Some of the exquisite antique carpets and furniture displayed in the different Songtsam lodges were collected from the villages in this area; and that’s how founder Pema Dorjee found this secret location.

Destinations & Activities
At an altitude of 2,000 metres, Benzilan stands on a narrow strip of land on the right bank of the Upper Yangzte River, tucked between the water and the sharply rising hills. As the altitude falls by more than 1,000 metres, the temperature rises, and travellers now arrive at another Shangri-La rich in blooming flowers and flourishing tress. Some of the region’s most delicious fruit is grown here, including juicy grapes and watermelons during the summer, and mouth-watering tangerines in Autumn.

The little town of Benzilan was once one of the most important stops of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. Although the glory of the once charming trading post has gone, fortunately the surrounding countryside remains intact; traditional handicraft methods have survived commercial mass-production, leaving a glance into the history of this famous trading road. Dotted with farms, small temples and some of the most pristine Tibetan villages, the countryside here is an ideal place to experience tranquil village life, and appreciate well-preserved local culture and traditions. A short hike leads to more pristine Tibetan villages and original forests in the mountains with stunning views of the lush, deep Yangtze River gorge – a journey of true discovery.

Dongzhulin Monastery sits forty minutes away from Benzilan on the way to Tibet. Although not as popular amongst tourists, it is a significant destination for the local Tibetans. The monastery has several “living” Buddhas and each year the Mask Dancing Ceremony attracts thousands of followers. It was built in 1667, before Shangri-La’s Songzanlin Monastery, and at one time housed treasures, which rivaled those of Lhasa’s Potala Palace. Unfortunately, the monastery was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution and the current structure was restored in 1987.

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Experience the Sunrise at Songtsam Lodge Meili (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning properties below!

Every year Tibetans and travellers from all over the world make their journey to worship Mt. Kawagebo, the major peak of the Meili Snow Mountain range and one of the holiest mountains in the larger Tibetan region. Songtsam Lodge Meili was built in an unspoilt village away from the main tourist area overlooking the majestic snow mountains. A highlight is waking up and experiencing the morning sunrise. First golden sunlight shines over Mt. Kawagebo and then spreads quickly over the 13 peaks. Against the backdrop of the dark-blue sky, the sunrise is considered very holy and only lasts for a few minutes. Rooms are furnished with large comfortable beds, sofas, and timber flooring, providing a warm atmosphere that combines rustic charm with modern comforts. Most rooms also feature a cozy fireplace.

Destinations & Activities
The Meili Snow Mountain range is a sub range of the Hengduan Mountains, which run north to south, marking the boundary between Tibet and Yunnan province. It is remarkable for its impressive chain of glaciated peaks, rising more than 6,000 metres high, and during sunrise and sunset, the soft sunlight illuminates all thirteen peaks. As of today, none of the major peaks have been summited. Standing at 6,740 metres, the main peak, Kawagebo, is the first of the six most sacred mountains and over ten thousand pilgrims make the 240 kilometre trek circumnavigating the mountain each year.

The scenic drive from Shangri-La to Meili winds through lush temperature and alpine forests, crossing the Baima Mountain Pass at 3,292 metres. The Yangtze drainage area lies on one side of the pass and the Mekong on the other. On emerging from the pass onto a steep descending road, the Meili peaks soon appear in the distance. Baima Snow Reserve, a UNESCO designated world heritage sight, is one of the truly wild places left in China. Nearly all of the world’s species of rhododendron originate from this area. There are even a few spots where red pandas and snow leopards roam free.

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Songtsam Lodge Rumei, a Remote Oasis (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning lodges below!

When travelling the Songtsam Yunnan to Tibet route, Markham is the first stop and only way to enter Tibet from Yunnan. Nestled away in a valley, the lodge is located next to Zhuka Village in the north and vast farmland in the south. Guest rooms all face Lancang River, ensuring views of the natural stream outside and the green terraces nearby. The lodge embraces bright colours such as green, yellow, white, and peacock blue, mirroring the colours of the sky and surrounding snow-capped mountains, rivers, and fields.

Destinations & Activities
At an altitude of 2,600 metres, this remote oasis is situated at a point where the Songtsam Yunnan circuit, the Yunnan-Tiber route, and the western Sichuan road connect. This is the first resting place after passing Meili Snow Mountain on the banks of the Lancang River.

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Preserving Tibetan Cultural Heritage at Songtsam Lodge Laigu (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning retreats below!

The Laigu lodge is Songtsam’s highest property and is one of the most unique heritage hotels to be found in the world (it was the Winner for best Architectural Design by Heritage Architecture and received The Architecture MasterPrize 2019). With the prime consideration given to the preservation of natural and Tibetan cultural heritage, the building was designed with modular prefabrication and embedded under a high cliff hidden from sight. The project pays special attention to environmental sustainability in tectonic design and construction. Complete with twenty guest rooms, each one has a breathtaking view of Rawu Lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The lodge is equipped with state of art oxygen concentrator technology to achieve a 24-hour closed oxygen supply. The floor heating is imported from Denmark and the floor-to-ceiling triple-layered vacuum glass windows provide warmth and UV protection.

Destinations & Activities
At an elevation of 3,800 metres, Rawu Tso (Ranwu Lake) is the largest lake in eastern Tibet and to the west is one of the three largest glaciers in the world. Nearby there is an ancient village that inhabits a dozen families. This rural area is one of the word’s best-kept secrets and is nestled amongst glaciers, snow-capped mountains and lakes.

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Opportunities and Perspectives in Collecting Asian Art: A Panel Discussion

Americans have a long tradition of collecting Asian art, and through their support have made our cultural institutions world leaders in the fields of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Himalayan art. With interest surging in these areas, it is most timely that Asia Week New York presented an important panel discussion entitled Opportunities and Perspectives in Collecting Asian Art at The Winter Show on Sunday, January 26th, 2020, at the Park Avenue Armory, in New York.

Matthew Welch, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Art, moderated the panel of five prominent experts, who explored the current market dynamics and provided insights into the remarkable opportunities for collecting Asian art. The participants were:
•    Dessa Goddard, Vice President, Head, U.S. Asian Art Group, Bonhams
•    Jeffrey Horvitz, collector and museum patron
•    James J. Lally, gallery owner, J.J. Lally & Co. and Chinese art specialist
•    Joan B. Mirviss, gallery owner and Japanese art specialist
•    Christina Yu Yu, Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


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Keeping Traditions Alive at Songtsam Linka Lijiang (Sponsor Post)

Songtsam is Asia Week New York's 2020 Presenting Sponsor. Learn more about another one of their stunning retreats below!

Instead of the touristic and commercialised old town of Lijiang, Songtsam's Linka Lijiang retreat is located at a nearby small Naxi-ethnic village named Ciman, where the traditional way of living still thrives. Surrounded by pinewoods and a pear garden, Songtsam Linka Lijiang offers spectacular views of the old town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and Lashi Lake. The hotel’s design is grand in appearance and has an interior layout in the style of a Naxi courtyard that is decorated with exquisite Hui-style stone sculptures. The property also exhibits a unique combination of Naxi-Dongba, Chinese-Hantang, and Tibetan influenced art. 

Destinations & Activities
Lijiang is a prefecture-level city with an elevation of 2,400m in northwest Yunnan, China. It is in a region where the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau converge. This unique geographic location significantly influences its major inhabitants, the Naxi people, on every aspect of their lives from local politics, customs, and beliefs, to art, architecture, and cuisine. The people of the area absorb the cultural characteristics of Han-Chinese and Tibetans, but at the same time are firmly rooted in their own Dongba origins and traditions. The old town of Lijiang is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the last surviving ancient towns in China.

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Finding Peace at Songtsam Linka Shangri-La
 (Sponsor Post)

We're back with another post featuring Songtsam, the Presenting Sponsor of Asia Week New York 2020. This month we travel to their property in Shangri-La…

Hidden in the city’s peaceful and green valleys between Tibetan villages and Himalayan barley fields, Songtsam's Linka Shangri-La retreat faces the back of Songzanlin Monastery which can be seen across the meadow and is located only a short distance away. Tibetan-style rooms, dining facilities, spa, and other modern amenities are housed in lovingly hand-built stone structures spread over 21 acres of hillside surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Destinations & Activities
Shangri-La is a county-level city at an elevation of 3,200 metres in northwest Yunnan province, China. It has been long viewed as a paradise on earth with its majestic landscapes, diverse cultures, and deep spirituality. Located in a wide valley, Shangri-La is surrounded by mountain ranges on all four sides. It is the capital of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and the gateway to the ancient Tibetan kingdom. The region is characterised by snow-capped mountain peaks, pristine forests and lakes, as well as traditional Tibetan villages with white-walled and richly decorated buildings. There are many beautiful hiking routes to explore the mountains, lakes, and idyllic villages and pastures.

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