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The Roerich Shambhala Museum Interview with Bira Yanjmaa

The Roerich Shambhala Museum

Year: 2017

Since 2008, the Roerich Shambhala Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the Nicholas Roerich residence in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where the Roerich family lived during 1926-27, as well as to study artworks and writings that he created on his two journeys through Greater Mongolia. It is also dedicated to the fulfillment of his profound interest in the Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhist culture, his vision of Shambhala as both a physical location and a state of mind, and his Pax Cultura, or “Peace through Higher Culture.” RedHero interviewed Enkmhaa, the director of the Roerich Museum, showing us the exhibition within the Institution, devoted to the life and legacy of  Nicholas Roerich and his family. Between 1926 and 1927 the Central Asia Expedition team has lived in this house. Roerich depicted Mongolia many times in his artworks, which are more than 500.


About Nicholas Roerich

Nicholas Roerich (1874 – 1947) was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, philosopher, and public figure, who in his youth was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the spiritual. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.

Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a well-to-do notary public Baltic German father and a Russian mother, Roerich lived in various places around the world until his death in Naggar, Himachal Pradesh, India. Trained as an artist and a lawyer, his main interests were literature, philosophy, archaeology, and especially art. Roerich was a dedicated activist for the cause of preserving art and architecture during times of war. He was nominated several times to the long list for the Nobel Peace Prize. The so-called Roerich Pact was signed into law by the United States and most nations of the Pan-American Union in April 1935.


Interesting fact: while in Ulaanbaatar in 1926-27 he gifted one of his many Shambhala paintings to the Mongolian Prime Minister, Tserendorj. The painting can be seen today in the Zanabazar National Fine Arts Museum. Because the Soviet Communists had recently changed the name of the Mongolian capital from Urga to Ulaanbaatar, or “Red Hero,” Nicholas Roerich referred to the painting as “Our Buddhist Red Hero” when he offered it to the prime minister.