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

Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur

Basic site data

  • Site name: Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur
  • English equivalent: [A Tak] Pelmo’s Weaving Stakes
  • Site number: C-125
  • Site typology: II.1b
  • Elevation: 4880 m
  • Administrative location (township): TsojangMtsho byang
  • Administrative location (county): TsonyiMtsho gnyis
  • Survey expedition: HTAE
  • Survey date: November 5, 2003
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS IV
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur is located on the left side of the mouth of the Tsermo RongMtsher mo rong gorge. The site enjoys broad views to the east towards Tso DepelMtsho sdad spal and has a sweeping panorama of the MukkarSmug dkar range to the south. The views north and west are cut by the mountain ranges hugging these flanks of the site. The terrain is slightly elevated, sloping and covered in grass and gravel. The location of Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur is noteworthy in that it appears to form the northeast territorial bounds of the type II.1b monuments. In addition to walled pillars there are four outlying funerary structures at Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur.

Oral tradition

According to local mythology, the epic goddess A Tak LumoA stag klu mo/A Tak PelmoA stag dpal mo used the standing stones of Pelmo TakpurDpal mo ’thag phur as the stakes for securing her backstrap loom (takma’thag ma).

Site elements


The enclosure is aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 12.2 m (east-west) by 7.9 m (north-south). Its four double-course walls (60 cm to 85 cm thick) are largely intact. The enclosure is primarily made up of variable-length (20 cm to 50 cm long) unshaped chunks of blue limestone; however, red sandstone, a beige rock, and a gray rock were also used. Most of these stones were laid flat. The north and south walls of the enclosure are mostly level with the ground surface. The east wall is elevated about 20 cm above ground level and now buckles outwards. In the middle of the east wall there is a gap, which appears to have been caused by damage to the structure. Near the north end of the east wall two or three vertical courses of masonry are exposed. The east side of the north wall terminates in a slab, 60 cm long, which was planted in the ground edgewise. The west wall is elevated about 30 cm above the interior of the enclosure. The elevated east side and sunken west side of the enclosure serve to create a level interior space. There are pieces of milky quartz scattered about the site; these must have functioned as offerings or as a decorative element. There are quite a few stones scattered around the enclosure and the adjoining areas; some of these may have been part of the structure. This disjecta membra suggests that the walls of the enclosure were much better developed than they appear today.


There are eight firmly planted unbroken pillars that stand 70 cm to 90 cm from the inner edge of the west wall of the enclosure. They are made of an uncut hard fine-grained gray stone that has uniformly weathered to a reddish brown color (except for Long-stone DR7, which has weathered to a beige color). The line of pillars almost stretches across the full north-south extent of the enclosure. From south to north, the pillars have the following dimensions and characteristics:

  1. Long-stone DR1: irregularly shaped (60 cm [height] by 50 cm [basal girth]).
  2. Long-stone DR2: tabular (75 cm by 75 cm).
  3. Long-stone DR3: irregularly shaped, inclined (80 cm by 1.2 m).
  4. Long-stone DR4: irregularly shaped, inclined (1 m by 90 cm).
  5. Long-stone DR5: tabular (65 cm by 70 cm).
  6. Long-stone DR6: three sided (75 cm by 80 cm).
  7. Long-stone DR7: irregularly shaped (80 cm by 1 m).
  8. Long-stone DR8: tabular (85 cm by 75 cm).
Outlying funerary structures
Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 is situated 21.8 m northwest of the walled pillars. Only three walls of this open limestone enclosure are extant: west wall (6.4 m long), north wall (4.5 m long) and the south wall (3.5 m long). There are traces of the double-course composition of these walls. The walls are made of smaller stones (10 cm to 25 cm long) that were laid flat on the ground.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (5.5 m by around 1.5 m) is situated on a small rise 8.4 m north of FS1. This rectangular structure is primarily made of limestone chunks (up to 70 cm long), which are level with the ground surface or which project above it to a maximum height of 20 cm. There are many stones scattered around FS2, giving the appearance that it may have had a solid masonry shell.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (4 m by 1.4 m maximum) is situated 24.4 m northeast of FS2. This specimen is in very poor condition. It appears to be of the same design and construction as FS2.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (4.8 m by 3.7 m) is a highly fragmentary enclosure.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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