For the past few years I have been working on identifying and publishing photographs of the stories on the reliefs at Borobudur in Java. This has led to four books being published, and a fifth with the publisher right now.
One of the main sources for my information about the reliefs was the extensive work done by the great Dutch archaeologists and Sanskritists who worked at the monument during the the Dutch colonial period.
One of the greatest of these was Prof. Dr. N. J. Krom who wrote the Archeological Description of Barabudur in two volumes in 1927. A part of this complete description was his work on the Lalitavistara reliefs, which he later published separately with van Erp’s photos accompanying it.
Krom was a Sanskritist himself, and he translated the relevant passages from the Lalitavistara to accompany the work. He also added detailed descriptions and discussed the scenes portrayed in relation to works at Ajaṇṭā, Pagān and other places in the Buddhist world.
When preparing this text for publication I wanted to use van Erp’s photographs to accompany it, but so far I have been unable to find any high definition version of them available, not even from the Museum that holds them, so I am using my own photographs.
It has to be noted that the reliefs have much decayed since van Erp’s time, and we are seriously in jeopardy of the further decay of the reliefs at the monument as acid rain on the one hand, and tourists leaning against and rubbing them are wearing them away rapidly.