kalpa – [Sanskrit] an aeon; a vast period of time
in the universe’s cosmic cycle of creation and dissolution.
The Kalpa Group is an independent organisation that supports the work of individual scholars and professionals across a wide spectrum. It helps to explore innovative ideas and harness their full business, academic and cultural potential, facilitating a rich, interdisciplinary collaboration between specialists in diverse fields. With the freedom and resources to choose quickly and fund flexibly, the Kalpa Group is able to provide funding for innovative projects that fall beyond the scope of more conventional sources of support for research.
Established by Loel Guinness in 2000, the Kalpa Group was the successor to the Loel Guinness Foundation, which aimed to support exceptional individuals with original ideas including mountaineers, explorers, engineers, astronauts, doctors and linguists. Loel Guinness’s interest in innovative research had been stimulated by his grandfather’s support for Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s pioneering underwater exploration through his acquisition of the converted minesweeper Calypso. Utilising technology and marine science, Cousteau achieved world fame through his numerous books and films that popularised the previously hidden underwater world. After inheriting the Calypso, Loel Guinness donated it to the Cousteau Foundation in 2006.
Projects that synthesise and integrate ancient ideas with contemporary applications are especially encouraged; technology should be a tool for understanding the past and for creating platforms for communicating traditional knowledge. Kalpa therefore takes a special interest in projects that apply scientific technology to the investigation of topics in the humanities and bringing together experts from disparate fields. It is the spirit of the quest that best defines Kalpa Group’s projects, along with the highest standards of professional excellence, the use of the most scientifically advanced technology and an open-ended outcome.
The Kalpa Group has a deep commitment to supporting the welfare and continuity of communities where these ancient traditions are still practised. It is Kalpa's intention to serve these traditions on their home ground, providing them with the autonomy to which they are entitled.
Who painted Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi?
Bringing the under-drawings to light
In 1481, Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint a huge altarpiece for a monastery near Florence. This commission came at an early stage in his career, and although he was rapidly becoming acknowledged as an unusually talented painter, his major masterpieces, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, still lay before him.
Leonardo’s Lost Masterpiece
On 29 June 1440, two armies joined battle near the town of Anghiari in Tuscany. On one side was the larger force of Duke Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan, and on the other the army of the Italian League, led by the Florentine Republic.
A groundbreaking study of Rainbow Body
in the Bön tradition
In 2008, Loel Guinness completed a Masters dissertation at the University of Oxford on the subject of “Rainbow Body” (jalü), one of the most esoteric aspects of the Bön religion. He later expanded this preliminary study into a much more substantial work, and the final result was published in 2018 under the title Rainbow Body (Chicago, Serindia Publications, 2018)
A study of the Bön tradition
Until relatively recent times the Bon religion of Tibet was poorly understood by the majority of Tibetans and Westerners alike. Although our general knowledge has advanced greatly in the past few decades thanks to the work of a few pioneering scholars, misconceptions still abound, and many areas of this fascinating religion remain obscure.
Supporting Bon communities
In conformity with its holistic approach to research, the Kalpa Group’s engagement with Bon has proceeded along a number of clearly-defined but intersecting lines. The year 2002 saw the opening of Chasey Kengtse hostel, which is associated with the government school in Lubrak. Prior to this, there had been no school in Nepal where children of Bonpo families could receive a non-monastic education and also learn about their own religious tradition.