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

Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring

Basic site data

  • Site name: Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring
  • English equivalent: Black Horse of the lumoklu mo Pillars
  • Site number: C-92
  • Site typology: II.1b
  • Elevation: 4460 m
  • Administrative location (township): JangpaByang pa
  • Administrative location (county): GegyéDge rgyas
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 22, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS II, HAS A2
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring is situated along the western margin of the desiccated Tsatsa KhaTshwa tshwa kha basin. There are very open views to the east. The terrain is well drained, sandy and very gently sloping with a perennial spring in close proximity. I have adopted the name “Valley of the Dead” for this long, dry basin because of the proliferation of funerary monuments found here (see C-91, C-153, D-46, D-68). Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring enjoys a wide panorama to the east as is typical in this typology. Within the enclosure there is a row of eight standing pillars set close to the inner edge of the west wall.

Oral tradition

Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring is locally said to be the haunts of a local lumoKlu mo (female water spirit). Her black horse mount is likened to the pillars and walls found at the site.

Site elements


The quadrate enclosure measures 11.4 m (east-west) by 7.1 m (north-south), and its walls are oriented with no more than a 15° deviation from the compass points. The walls of the enclosure are largely intact with the exception of the east wall. The sturdy perimeter walls are between 60 cm to 90 cm in thickness, and each consists of parallel courses of slabs and cobbles. These stones are primarily 30 cm to 60 cm in length, and are set flush with the surface or elevated above it to a maximum height of 20 cm. In the south wall there is one very prominent stone, 1 m in length and rising 45 cm above-ground level. Mostly light-colored, fine-grained igneous stones were used to build the enclosure, but there are a few white calcareous stones in the construction as well. There are a couple of inscribed manima ṇi stone fragments lying in the enclosure; these were probably transported there from nearby manima ṇi walls that were built in the pre-modern period. There are also small pieces of milky quartz scattered about the enclosure, which are likely to have been arrayed in some kind of gesture of offering. Just to the west of the enclosure there are the scant remains of a möndurmon dur type funerary superstructure.


The row of pillars, which is set within a few centimeters of the inner edge of the west wall, extends from the south to the north ends of the enclosure. The pillars are made of the same fine-grained stones as was used to build the enclosure. The four-sided standing tabular pillars tend to have their two wider faces oriented north and south. There is an uprooted specimen with three uneven sides lying inside the enclosure (1.1 m long by 80 cm girth).

From north to south, the dimensions and forms of the in situ pillars are as follows:

  1. Long-stone DR1: four well-hewn sides with broken top (50 cm [height] by 80 cm [basal girth]).
  2. Long-stone DR2: small insignificant pillar (50 cm).
  3. Long-stone DR3: four irregular faces (1.5 m by 80 cm).
  4. Long-stone DR4: four irregular faces (90 cm by 80 cm).
  5. Long-stone DR5: four irregular faces with pointed top (1.6 m by 1.4 m).
  6. Long-stone DR6: four irregular faces (1.2 m by 1.1 m).
  7. Long-stone DR7: three irregular faces (1.1 m by 1 m).
  8. Long-stone DR8: four irregular faces (1.3 m by 1m).

Affiliated sites

LhasaLha sa government facility

The presence of potable water and salt at Lumö Tanak DoringKlu mo’i rta nag rdo ring insured its economic importance long after the demise of the Upper Tibetans responsible for erecting the pillars. The site, however, is now completely deserted. In the nearby rocky formation, bounding the western side of the basin, there is a small ruined Buddhist retreat. In close proximity, on the valley floor, there are the remains of a small residence, which is reported to have been occupied by a representative of the old Tibetan LhasaLha sa government. This official was in charge of overseeing the extraction of salt from nearby Tsatsa KhaTshwa tshwa kha and collecting the appropriate taxes.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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