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

DongmarGdong dmar

Basic site data

  • Site name: DongmarGdong dmar
  • English equivalent: Red Face
  • Site number: A-108
  • Site typology: I.1a
  • Elevation: 4460m to 4480 m
  • Administrative location (township): RutokRu thog
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: HTAE
  • Survey date: October 5, 2003
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

The small stronghold of DongmarGdong dmar is divided into upper, middle and lower complexes, all of which are in a very poor state of preservation. The site appears to have had a functional relationship with the defunct agricultural lands located below in the Chulung GongmaChu lung gong ma valley. There is also a ruined settlement of seven ancient dokhangrdo khang spread out across sandy slopes and benches approximately 300 m to the north (B-45). We might surmise that the political and/or religious elite of this agricultural enclave inhabited the DongmarGdong dmar fortress. The hard to reach stronghold is built in reddish crags that rise 90 m above the valley floor. This siting must have provided the facility with a secure military position. Flanked by sheer rock faces, potential attackers would have faced a formidable challenge from the defenders. The dry-stone, random-rubble block-work contains stones that are generally 20 cm to 60 cm in length.

Oral tradition

According to local sources, DongmarGdong dmar was an ancient settlement.

Site elements

Upper structure

The upper complex measures just 6 m by 2 m to 4 m. Nearly all traces of the superstructures have disappeared, but revetments up to 4 m in height still cling to the crags. The remains of a 1 m to 1.2 m wide stone-lined walkway extend down from the upper complex for a distance of 7 m. The lower sections of this original access-way have been destroyed.

Middle structure

The middle complex is situated on the prow of a spur 15 m below the upper complex. It consists of a single building (6.5 m by 3.3 m) that was constructed against a rock face. Its forward wall is 60 cm thick and 2.7 m in height, 1 m of which is freestanding. The largest stones in the revetment are 80 cm in length. Only fractional footings of the rear wall have survived. These are found on the edge of a rock face.

Lower structure

The lower complex is also a single building, which is situated about 5 m below the middle complex. This structure was also built against a rock face and measures 9.4 m by 2.5 m. The maximum elevation of the forward wall is 3 m, with 2 m of that standing independently.


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.