Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Antiquities of Zhang Zhung
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

I.1. Residential Structures Occupying Summits: Fortresses, breastworks, religious buildings, palaces, and related edifices

Jiu KyéByi’u kye

Basic site data

  • Site name: Jiu KyéByi’u kye
  • English equivalent: Little Bird Tea Urn57
  • Site number: A-75
  • Site typology: I.1x
  • Elevation: 4920 m
  • Administrative location (township): DrowaGro ba
  • Administrative location (county): NyimaNyi ma
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: June 23, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist Construction: On the south side of the summit, there is a small flag mast and broken pieces of plaques inscribed with the manima ṇi mantra.
  • Maps: UTRS VIII
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

The highly dissolute Jiu KyéByi’u kye stronghold occupies a 40 m high hilltop that sharply rises above the confluence of two valleys. There is a small but good winter grazing ground below the fortress. Regionally important pasturage in the Nyawo TsangpoNya bo gtsang po valley is located about 6 km away. The dispersion of ruins is found on the summit, a northern spur and on the upper east flank of the formation. There was probably a conterminous group of buildings on the summit, covering an area of 32 m by 3 m to 6.5 m. Most of the original building materials have spilled down the steep sides of the hill. Stones used in construction were dressed flat on their exterior sides, and are between 20 cm and 80 cm in length. Jiu KyéByi’u kye, with its small edifices and multiple ramparts, shares morphological similarities with the so-called MönMon castles of western Tibet.

Oral tradition

None could be obtained.

Site elements


The most intact remains on the summit are located on its south side. Here there are revetments up to 90 cm in height. On the rest of the summit there are only fractional wall footings left. From the north side of the summit, a ledge runs along the east face of the formation gradually descending for 3 m in a southerly direction parallel to the breadth of the summit. On its north side this ledge is 2 m wide and on its south side 5.5 m wide. Along its outer edge are partial footings of what must have been a defensive wall. In three places this ledge is revetted. The largest revetment section is 4 m in length and 3 m in width, and was made from dry-stone random-rubble slabs. On the south edge of the ledge are two small areas with structural detritus. Approximately 12 m below the north side of the summit is a spur, measuring 22 m (north-south) by 8 m (east-west), with many highly dissolute wall footings.


[57] This is one local interpretation of the etymology of the site name.

Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland. Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.