Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Big books

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Some visions are easily contained in the mind — a haiku by Basho, for instance. Others — the Palace of Versailles, the Taj Mahal — burst out, needing acres and acres to be realized.

The dimensions of Tibetan master painter Romio Shrestha’s works — from 2 feet to 9 feet high or wide — while not extreme in Western terms, present a few problems for anyone reproducing them in a book. Many of Shrestha’s images from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition are mandalas, incredibly detailed, brilliantly colored and teeming with quintillions of spiritual signs. Which is why Callaway Editions has published a coffee-table book that only needs four legs to become a table itself. At 16-and-a-half inches-by-24 inches, Celestial Gallery gives each of its 35 huge, eye-zapping color plates — representing Buddha Sakyamuni, Avalokiteshvara (the bodhisattva of great compassion), the Wheel of Deluded Existence et al — the benefit of ample room and elegant printing.

As Deepak Chopra says in his foreword, “you will encounter an inner realm previously hidden from sight.”

Check out other big books which will transform your coffee table into a gallery this season.

George Tysh is Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at


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