Sabine Cotte

1996 Associate Laureate, Cultural Heritage
France, Born 1961

Project Goal

Conserve Bhutan’s fortified monasteries through the publication of a preservation handbook

Location: Bhutan

On a trek to Bhutan in 1992, French art restorer Sabine Cotte decided she wanted to educate people about the need to restore and protect their cultural treasures.

A trek to Bhutan in 1992 dramatically changed the life of French art restorer Sabine Cotte (born in 1961). She and her architect partner were enchanted with the dzongs — fortress monasteries — of this tiny Himalayan nation. But they were dismayed by deterioration of the buildings and of the precious religious art inside them.

Since that time, much of Cotte’s energy has been devoted to helping Bhutan and its people restore and protect their cultural treasures.

In 1996, she won a Rolex Award to produce a conservation manual for Bhutan. The Handbook of Preventive Conservation for Dzongs and Lhankangs was produced in 2000.

This practical manual is now widely used and has become a model for Himalayan art conservation handbooks.

Cotte currently lives in Australia. Her passion for Bhutan is unchanged. She often travels to the region, developing practical training for local people, and also gives workshops to support the artistic traditions of the Himalayas.

Other 1996 Associate Laureates