Built for 250 patients, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the state of West Virginia in the USA housed more than 2,500 at the height of its capacity. Construction design was based on the Thomas Kirkbride plan whereby the building itself was meant to have a ‘therapeutic’ effect on patients. The institution opened immediately after the American Civil War. The doors closed on what had become the Weston State Hospital in 1994.
The graceful movements of Thai dancers entertain the Siamese royal court and night-market tourists. A fabulous addition to the elegance and precision of the performers are specialized costumes. Depending on the dance, performers might wear six-inch-long brass nails or specialized decorative headdresses.
Like a mountain that holds up the sky, the handle of an umbrella supports its dome, or so goes the mythology of the Buddhist umbrella. This golden parasol from Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep is a symbol for the exalted person whom it would protect from the heat of suffering and desire.
In 1916 an avant-garde photographer from New York fell in love with a schoolteacher in the Texas panhandle. The passion of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe is a modern American romance. Intense and complicated, their union produced beautiful and unforgettable art, his black and white photography and her images of flowers.
In Hong Kong, ferries glide back and forth on Victoria Harbour. Well-known as one of the world’s financial centers, this city of seven million is also one of the most densely populated — and apparently most intelligent — on earth. Studies routinely rank Hong Kong as the city with the highest IQ scores.
These novice nuns in Burma are on their way to a morning bath. Many Burmese families send their daughters for a religious education in the warm summer months. The “Thilashins” live together in compounds near wats. Numbers of resident nuns can double in summertime.
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was once the thriving cosmopolitan capital of Siam (Thailand). The reign of Ayutthaya ended in 1767 when Burmese troops sacked the city and carried away its treasures. The remains of temples, palaces and statues artfully permeate the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site located about an hour outside of Bangkok. In the severe flooding of 2011, this particular statue in the base of a tree was underwater for weeks.