Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

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

II.1. Stelae and accompanying structures: Funerary and non-funerary structures

Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring

Basic site data

  • Site name: Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring
  • English equivalent: Inner River Long-stones (?)
  • Site number: C-90
  • Site typology: II.1b
  • Elevation: 4750 m
  • Administrative location (township): ZhungpaGzhung pa
  • Administrative location (county): GegyéDge rgyas
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 19, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, HAS A2
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring is located in an eponymous tributary valley on the west side of the main Dri Jiu’Bri byi’u valley. The terrain is strewn with rocks but supports little vegetation. Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring is a smaller example of a pillar erected inside an enclosure typology. Stelae of this typology probably find their greatest numerical expression in the greater ZhungpaGzhung pa region. Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring is one of ten pillar sites surveyed (C-9, C-10, C-55, C-56, C-77, C-78, C-79, C-80, C-90, C-136) that encompass the nine territorial divisions (tsopatsho pa) of old Zhungpa MatsenGzhung pa ma mtshan.168 These pillar sites may have been subsidiary to the centrally located Shang DoringShang rdo ring (C-54), formerly the largest pillar site in ZhungpaGzhung pa, and may reflect the existence of an integral ritual and political network during the archaic cultural horizon.

Oral tradition

In this region (ZhungpaGzhung pa), pillar sites such as Nangchu DoringNang chu rdo ring are often associated with the ancient tribe known as the MönMon.

Site elements


The enclosure is aligned in the cardinal directions and measures 4.7 m (east-west) by 2.7 m (north-south). It is composed of neatly-built double-course slab walls (around 60 cm thick) containing variable-length (primarily 35 cm to 60 cm long) stones. These stones project as much as 20 cm above ground level. The south wall of the enclosure is well preserved and the west and north walls are partially intact, while most of the east wall has been destroyed. In the east wall, a large stone (55 cm long) runs perpendicular to the wall course. This stone appears to demarcate one side of a “portal” that punctuated the east wall. Lying outside the east wall, near the portal stone, a slab wall extends in an easterly direction for 2 m. Thin slabs of stones (15 cm to 30 cm long) were planted edgewise into the ground, in parallel courses, creating a wall 30 cm thick.


A single pillar (1.3 m [height] by 80 cm [basal girth]) stands 40 cm from the inner edge of the west wall of the enclosure. This four-sided, somewhat pointed menhir is inclined at about a 30° angle, and is not well centered in the enclosure.


[168] For background information on the clans and territorial divisions of old ZhungpaGzhung pa, see John Vincent Bellezza. Zhang Zhung: Foundations of Civilization in Tibet. A Historical and Ethnoarchaeological Study of the Monuments, Rock Art, Texts and Oral Tradition of the Ancient Tibetan Upland. (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008), 265.

Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. . Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.