Before They Pass Away: A Photographer Races After Vanishing Tribes

By Jane Hwang - 2014-01-07T15:48:54Z

Photograph by Jimmy Nelson BV courtesy teNeues

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The Mustang of Nepal

"Mustang now stands alone as one of the last truly Tibetan cultures in existence today. From the 15th century to the 17th century, its strategic location granted Mustang control over the trade between the Himalayas and India, providing the surplus that enabled the construction of large monasteries and the creation of stunning works of art. At the end of the 18th century, the kingdom was annexed by Nepal." -- Before They Pass Away 

The practice of Tibetan Buddhism "remained unchanged since the 14th century. With the culture in peril in Tibet due to China's control, the Dalai Lama has called on Mustang and other ethnically Tibetan Himalayan regions to preserve his peoples' way of life. But that is becoming increasingly hard to do. China is funding the construction of a road that will soon cut through the former kingdom. It has already reached the Chinese side of the border. Once it is built, life there will change forever. Besides bringing in electricity, and modern ways of life, people know it will also usher in more government control.” -- Steve Chao, "Mustang: A Kingdom on the Edge"

Left: Jamyang, Pasang, Thupten, and Tsering, in Chele Village, Upper Mustang, May 2011