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

PaktukPags mthug

Basic site data

  • Site name: PaktukPags mthug
  • English equivalent: Thick Hide
  • Site number: C-158
  • Site typology: II.1c
  • Elevation: 4900 m
  • Administrative location (township): Oma’O ma
  • Administrative location (county): GertséSger rtse
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: June 8, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS II
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

PaktukPags mthug is located on one of a group of ridgelines of the same name. The array of pillars appended to an edifice is situated on a sandy level saddle, which connects a northeast-southwest running talus-blanketed ridgeline with higher slopes. From the site there are fairly open views in all directions. This funerary complex is situated 40 m north of funerary structure FS10 of the E-23 site. The pillars and appended edifice are oriented somewhere in between the cardinal directions and intermediate points. All structures are made of uncut reddish and purplish slabs of volcanic talus. The extreme degradation of the monument in part can be attributed to the unstable nature of the sandy substrate. This is the only example surveyed to date of an array of pillars appended to an edifice (II.1c) that was built on the same heights as cubic tombs (II.3). This proximity is likely to demonstrate a close functional and chronological link between these two types of monuments.

Oral tradition

According to the folklore of Oma’O ma, at one time there was a local chieftain who was extremely fond of wild yak (drong’brong) hunting. One day, because of all his killing, there were no wild yaks left in the region. In order to survive, he was reduced to boiling the skins of wild yaks and eating them. The name of the site, “Thick Hide,” is said to refer to this incident.

Site elements

Appended Edifice

The appended edifice is now nothing more than heap of rubble about 1 m height. Originally, the edifice measured around 6 m by 6 m. This structure was constructed of variable-length (30 cm to 80 cm long) stone slabs.

Pillar Array

The array of pillars approximately measures 12 m (east-west) by 4.4 m (north-south). There are only around 35 stones still standing, but strewn among them are over 150 collapsed specimens. The in situ pillars are 20 cm to 30 cm in height and have irregular and tabular forms. The uprooted specimens are 30 cm to 60 cm in length. From the pillars still in place it is clear that originally there were multiple rows of standing stones extending west almost to the appended edifice.

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Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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