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.2. Superficial structures: Primarily funerary superstructure

NyenmarGnyan dmar

Basic site data

  • Site name: NyenmarGnyan dmar
  • English equivalent: Red nyengnyan
  • Site number: D-54
  • Site typology: II.2b, II.2d
  • Elevation: 4640 m to 4650 m
  • Administrative location (township): TagoRta sgo
  • Administrative location (county): NyimaNyi ma
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: June 20, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Extraction of stones from the monuments.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: A few manima ṇi plaques.
  • Maps: UTRS VIII, HAS B1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

NyenmarGnyan dmar is the name of a small village on the east side of sacred Dangra YutsoDang ra g.yu mtsho. Bounding the village to the northeast is a range with a rock outcrop also called NyenmarGnyan dmar. This is the local territorial deity (yüllhayul lha), who is considered a bodyguard (kusungsku srung) in the circle of the TagoRta rgo mountain gods. At NyenmarGnyan dmar there are at least seven funerary structures spread out across the sandy plain on the outskirts of the village. This mortuary site is divided by a gully into south and north sectors.

Oral tradition

On the shores of Dangra YutsoDang ra g.yu mtsho, structures such as those found at NyenmarGnyan dmar are considered the tombs of the ancient MönMon. Funerary structure FS5, the largest funerary structure at NyenmarGnyan dmar, is locally known as Tso DeugoGtso rde’u mgo (Chieftain’s Head Hill). It is thought to be the burial mound of an ancient MönMon chieftain.

Site elements

South sector
Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (8 m by 8 m) is a square tumulus raised 80 cm above the surrounding terrain. There are no coherent wall segments left in this rock and earthen mound. FS1 seems to have been aligned in the cardinal directions. Stones up to 50 cm in length went into its construction.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (14.5 m by 5.5 m minimum) is situated 3 m east of FS1. The fragmentary walls of this double-course enclosure are flush with the ground surface. The width of FS2 is uncertain because many stones have been removed in order to build walls in the settlement of NyenmarGnyan dmar. Stones up to 50 cm in length went into building FS2.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (6 m across) is a highly deteriorated enclosure situated 25 m north of FS2. The remaining wall segments are around 90 cm thick and contain variable length (up to 60 cm long) stones flush with the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (9 m across) is another highly dissolute funerary structure situated 25 m north of FS3.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (18 m by 18 m), the largest funerary structure at NyenmarGnyan dmar, is situated 98 m north of FS4. This square tumulus (bangsobang so) is elevated about 1.7 m above the surrounding plain. Only tiny wall sections are still extant along the flanks of this rock and earthen mound. The random-rubble double-course fragments that have survived are composed of smaller stones. Reportedly, in the 1980s, stones were extracted from FS5 in order to build adjacent houses. Interestingly, several years after being built, these houses were abandoned, probably because of the perceived negative effects associated with using stones from a so-called möndurmon dur. Roughly 70 m northwest of FS5 there is a small rocky tumulus (under 50 cm high) on which old manima ṇi plaques rest. This may be another funerary structure.

North sector
Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 (11.5 m by 12.5) is situated on the north side of a gully that cuts through the benches of NyenmarGnyan dmar (53.934΄ / 37.492΄ / 4640 m). Although all four walls of this enclosure are intact, there is no discernable coherence to these structures. The walls are flush with the ground surface and their corners are rounded. Stone piled inside the enclosure were probably removed from the perimeter walls affecting the integrity of FS6.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 (6.5 m) is a highly dissolute structure situated immediately north of FS6. FS7 appears to be identical in construction to FS6.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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