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

Jiu MöndoByi’u mon rdo

Basic site data

  • Site name: Jiu MöndoByi’u mon rdo
  • English equivalent: Little Bird MönMon Stones
  • Site number: D-61
  • Site typology: II.2a, II.2b
  • Elevation: 4620 m
  • Administrative location (township): BargaBar ga
  • Administrative location (county): PurangSpu rang
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: May 8, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: The excavation and wholesale extraction of stones from the funerary structures. Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, UTRS X, HAS C4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Jiu MöndoByi’u mon rdo is the name given to funerary structures found all around the J iuByi’u locale, the site of an ancient citadel (A-82). The majority of these enclosures and the subsurface graves have been recently dismantled to feed the local appetite for building stones. It is widely reported at J iuByi’u that many of these funerary structures contained human bones, which were indiscriminately discarded. The wholesale destruction of the J iuByi’u funerary monuments, a function of greed and ignorance, is a significant cultural loss. Wrought by the Tibetans themselves, this comes on top of the highly destructive Chinese Cultural Revolution. Only the remains of five so-called möndomon rdo still lend themselves to documentation.

Oral tradition

According to residents of J iuByi’u, the tombs of Jiu MöndurByi’u mon dur contain the remains of the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 is situated near the northern-most line of chötenmchod rten at Jiu GönpaByi’u dgon pa (30° 46.031 N. lat. / 81° 21.993΄ E. long.). It is found on sloping ground in the vicinity of where a couple of contemporary residences have come up. FS1 has been totally destroyed. Reportedly, the excavation of this structure turned up charcoal at about 1 m in depth. At 60 cm deep a ceramic vessel (35 cm across) was smashed during the excavation. A large portion of this vessel was still in situ at the time of the survey.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 is situated north of Jiu GönpaByi’u dgon pa on the lower flanks of a hillside, in close proximity to FS1. FS2 has been reduced to a double-course wall fragment 80 cm in length and around 25 cm thick (46.048΄ / 22.003΄). It is composed of variable-length pebbles (2 cm to 7 cm long) embedded into the ground. It is reported that human skeletal remains were discovered in the ground at this location.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (8.5 m by 6 m) is situated in a sandy and grassy plain approximately 1 km north of J iuByi’u (46.322΄ / 22.154΄). It consists of a rectangular single-course enclosure subdivided into at least two cells of unequal size. FS3 is composed of stones up to 85 cm in length. The stones of the enclosing walls protrude a maximum of 20 cm above the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (6.5 m by 2.7 m) is situated in close proximity to FS3 (46.334΄ / 22.170΄). Adjacent to this enclosure there is a small area of various wall segments. These structures are primarily composed of variable length (20 cm to 40 cm) slabs embedded in the ground edgewise. These slabs are flush with the surface or rise above the ground level to a maximum height of 15 cm.

Funerary Structure FS5

Reportedly, the superstructure of FS5 was dismantled in 2002 (46.491΄ / 22.112΄). There are cavities in the ground where the stones of the enclosing walls were extracted.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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