The monastery was founded in 1416, and remains a popular pilgrimage destination. Shoton means “yogurt banquet,” and the Autumn festival celebrates the yogurt that was traditional provided to monks following their austere hundred-day summer retreat.
The Ruben Museum in New York is showing an exhibition of such large objects, through March 17, 2008. The museum’s website offers this brief description of the show, entitled BIG! Himalayan Art:
This exhibition presents the largest objects from RMA’s collection in a dazzling display of brightly colored paintings and explores the reasons for creating the even larger tangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings and textiles) that are majestically draped over mountainsides and in valleys. These large works are the focus of community celebrations and accrue merit for all who participate.