Jawshing Arthur Liou, ‘Kora’, 2011-2012, Pictura Gallery
Jawshing Arthur Liou, ‘Kora’, 2011-2012, Pictura Gallery

Kora is both a type of pilgrimage and a type of meditation in the TibetanBuddhist tradition. Kora is performed by making a walking circumambulationaround a temple, stupa, or other sacred site. Kora many be performed while spinning prayer wheels, chanting mantra, counting mala, or repeatedly prostrating oneself. Many consider Mount Kailash the most sacred mountain in Asia. Four religions - Buddhism, Hinduism, Bön, and Jainism – worship this remote mountain, located 900 miles west of Lhasa, as the center of the spiritual realm. For thousands of years Hindu pilgrims and Tibetans have revered the Himalayas as an embodiment of the divine; the presence of the lone towering Kailash peak is the ultimate seal of this sanctity. Pilgrims believe that by circling Mount Kailash by way of an arduous 34 mile-long path, one can cleanse the sins of a lifetime. My desire to film this mystical landscape in Tibet preceded my knowledge of the existence of the mountain itself. In the summer of 2007, I was mourning the loss of my daughter. My bearings shattered and drowning in sorrow, I sought spiritual sanctuary in Buddhism. One day, I came across an album by Tibetan Buddhist singer Kelsang Chukie Tethong. I was immediately captured by her voice—a sound so serene and bright it compelled me to close my eyes. At that moment, a vision unfolded in my mind; one with the vivid image of wind-swept plains, a deep blue sky, and distant snowcaps. Later I was shown an image of Mount Kailash by a Tibetan monk. I knew immediately the journey to Tibet’s sacred mountain would be the most important task for me in the coming years. In the summer of 2011, I embarked on a four-week expedition to western Tibet, including a four-day kora around Kailash. The mountain seems perfect and its shape, deliberate beyond any natural thing. Such form inherently points to a higher reality—a realm that predates the existence of language and religions. The harsh elements and
expansive landscape turned my thoughts inward. There was no immediate enlightenment, but gradual realization—that the pilgrimage is an external mirror to my solemn confrontation with past and future. The kora, as a circle, has no beginning or end.Music composition by Aaron Travers and Melody Eötvös Aaron Higgins, field recording, camera co-operator Federico Agostini, solo violin Warren Haggerty, solo cello Ji-Woon Jung, violin Erin Rafferty, viola Melody Eötvös, electronic sound performance

About Jawshing Arthur Liou

b. 1968

Fair History on Artsy

Chi-Wen Gallery at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2016
Chi-Wen Gallery at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015