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

NgoringSngo ring

Basic site data

  • Site name: NgoringSngo ring
  • English equivalent: Long Verdure (?)
  • Site number: C-37
  • Site typology: II.1a
  • Elevation: 4720 m
  • Administrative location (county): PelgönDpal mgon
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: September 29, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Heavy pastoral usage.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS IX
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

NgoringSngo ring is located in the ZhungchuGzhung chu valley, which empties into the east side of Gomang TsoSgo mang mtsho.181 The old name of NgoringSngo ring is reported to be NakdongNag gdong (Black Face; the name may have been changed due to inauspicious phenomena associated with it). The site is found on the north flank of the ZhungchuGzhung chu valley and is surrounded by the herder’s hamlet of NgoringSngo ring. The terrain is sandy, turf covered and gently sloping. These white granite pillars were erected inside an enclosure. This enclosure appears to be of a design at variance with the standard double-course enclosures in which type II.1b pillars are planted.

Oral tradition

The enclosure of NgoringSngo ring is locally referred to as a möndo ramon rdo ra (MönMon stone enclosure), and is associated with the ancient MönMon. NgoringSngo ring is one of the most easterly archaeological sites in Upper Tibet that is attributed to the MönMon.

Site elements

Enclosure

The enclosure approximately measures 8.5 m by 6 m. The enclosure is highly fragmentary and its lower part has been heavily impacted by geomorphologic changes. Its configuration and mode of construction are not clear. There is a little structural evidence to suggest that the perimeter walls were of the double-course variety. The enclosure was not aligned in the cardinal directions. Uncut pieces of white granite, up to 1.2 m in length, went into its construction. Some of these stones protrude prominently from the ground surface. This enclosure appears to represent a transitional monumental form between the isolated pillars of the far eastern JangtangByang thang (see C-7 and C-36) and those enclosed inside well-delineated walls common farther west. The enclosure of NgoringSngo ring may have been of more rudimentary construction.

Pillars

The pillars stand in the upper portion of the enclosure. The three standing specimens are spread out over a distance of 3 m. Their position relative to the enclosure is not clear. These white granite pillars are heavily worn and discolored in places:

North pillar: four-sided (85 cm [height] by 90 cm [basal girth]).

Central Pillar: irregularly shaped (1.4 m by 1.1 m).

South pillar: irregularly shaped (70 cm by 1.1 m). There is also a collapsed pillar in close proximity, which may still be rooted in the ground.


Notes

[181] NgoringSngo ring was discovered by the Roerich Central Asian Expedition (RCAE) on March 23, 1928. George Roerich reports that three menhirs were found with stone slabs arranged around them in a square (George N. Roerich, Trails to Inmost Asia: Five Years of Exploration with the Roerich Central Asian Expedition. reprint edition, (Delhi: Book Faith India, 1996), 416, 417). He notes that no traces of libations were found at the site, and he concludes that this “sanctuary” was probably abandoned a long time ago. Roerich characterized the menhirs discovered on the RCAE as pre-Buddhistic sites, belonging to a phase in Tibetan history dominated by “primitive Bön” (Roerich. Trails to Inmost Asia. 355). After discovering the menhirs, Roerich tells us that the RCAE camped at a location called Ratri, 22 miles southwest of Do-ring (see C-162), and from there around the north side of Gomang TsoSgo mang mtsho the next day. Ratri is described by Roerich as a locale with granite slopes. Ratri can be no other than ratraRa gra (sp.?) (31° 19.1΄ N. long. / 89° 15.1΄ E. long. / 4680 m), a location a little downstream of NgoringSngo ring (this general area is dominated by granite formations). Inquiries with local drokpa’brog pa revealed that there is no other place in the Gomang TsoSgo mang mtsho basin with a name that, in the HorHor dialect, is phonetically similar to “Ratri.” Furthermore, in his account, Roerich notes that Ratri is located 22 miles south of the megalithic site of Do-ring. Roerich’s Do-ring has been identified as DoringRdo ring South (31° 22.7 N. lat. / 89° 26.0 E. long.), situated 22 km (as the crow flies) northeast of NgoringSngo ring (see C-162) and 25 km northeast of ratraRa gra. For more details about Roerich’s archaeological discoveries near ratraRa gra, see entry D-86.
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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.