View Full Version : Nicholas Roerich
09-27-2003, 08:07 PM
I'm curious to know if anyone else on the list has followed the work of Nicholas Roerich (a.k.a. Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh), a talented painter, mystic, and seeker who founded the Nicholas Roerich Museum (http://www.roerich.org/) in New York (at 319 West 107th St.) His books include Shambhala (1930) and Heart of Asia (1930). He has a tremendous following in eastern Europe.
[ September 27, 2003, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: John Hoopes ]
09-27-2003, 11:30 PM
It is funny - I grew up on the Upper West Side, went to school on 112th Street, and never heard of Roerish until I read about him in one of Arguelles' books. I will have to visit his museum soon. The photo of him is great. Why is he so significant for you?
09-28-2003, 04:33 AM
Thanks for mentioning Roerich!
Count me in the Roerich fan club!
His paintings are really beautiful- especially
when seen in person at the Museum.
I first heard of him when I saw some of his
paintings reproduced on the covers of several
books by Elizabeth Clare Prophet- The Lost Years
Of Jesus- and it also included stories of Roerich
recounting his travels in Tibet, where he met old
Llamas who told him stories of Jesus
spending time in the Himalayas, learning 'stuff'!!
In 1930 Roerich wrote a peace agreement,
which was signed by President Roosevelt among others,
and as a result Roerich was nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He worked closely as an inspiration to Stravinsky
when he was composing 'the Rite Of Spring'..
So much to this man, without even
looking at his beautiful art!!!
Thanks for the introduction to someone new for me – looks very interesting. The paintings remind me a lot of reading James Hilton’s ‘Lost Horizon’ – the common origin of Shangri-La – I think they’re pretty much of the same period.
In recent years the experts have pinned down Shangri-La to a place rather than a myth – near Lijiang in Yunnan Province, China, ‘discovered’ by the Austrian naturalist Joseph Rock. Hilton read his accounts in National Geographic back in the 20s. I was there about 5 years ago – very peaceful. Perhaps Roerich and Rock shared a few high altitude drinks.
06-15-2004, 12:27 PM
Gosh, I wish I'd returned to this thread sooner! Thanks so much for the tip about Joseph Rock and National Geographic! I actually went back and found the original article: "Banishing the Devil of Disease Among the Nashi" in the National Geographic Magazine for November 1924. It was followed by additional articles: "The National Geographic Society's Yunnan Province Expedition", by Gilbert Grosvenor (April 1925) and "Through the Great River Trenches of Asia" by Joseph F. Rock (August 1926). The last article is subtitled, "National Geographic Society Explorer Follows the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salwin Through Mighty Gorges, Some of Whose Canyon Walls Tower to a Height of More than Two Miles" (sound like Shangri-La?)
According to the article by Grosvenor, "In February, 1923, the National Geographic Society took over from the U.S. Department of Agriculture the expedition into Yunnan Province, southwest China, headed by Mr. Rock... The Society provided Mr. Rock with funds which enabled him to extend the scope of his work in Yunnan, with the result that during the succeeding eighteen months he made researches and explorations which... have increased our knowledge of a little-known part of China, inhabited by many diverse tribes..."
In March 1925, Nicholas Roerich began his famous Central Asia expedition, a 3-year trip which took him from India up into the Himalayas and into the Altai, Mongolia and Tibet, where he had an audience with the Dalai Lama. It was also sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose Secretary Henry Wallace had a fascination with Eastern religions. The stated purpose of Roerich's expedition was to collect drought-resistant grasses, but he was also collecting art, studying ancient ruins, and searching for the legendary Shambala. He was undoubtedly assisted in his ability to obtain USDA funding on the basis of Rock's successful expedition. (He may also have hoped to find Shambala before these other groups did!)
Roerich played a central role in the stimulation of mystical pursuits during this period. His legacy includes the idea of the pyramid with the Eye of Providence on the obverse of the Great Seal, which Henry Wallace helped persuade FDR (himself a Freemason) to approve.
Roerich had a direct influence not only on art of the period, but literature. His frequent visitors in New York included the writers H.P. Lovecraft and A.A. Merritt, both of whom wove stories of expeditions in search of ancient mysteries into their short stories and novels, influencing a generation of seekers and fans of fantasy literature. It's said that Lovecraft's allusions to "nameless" entities, as well as his use of Asian place names, were inspired by Roerich.
[ June 15, 2004, 01:30 PM: Message edited by: John Hoopes ]
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