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

Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma

Basic site data

  • Site name: Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma
  • English equivalent: Red Slope West
  • Site number: D-69
  • Site typology: II.2a, II.2b
  • Elevation: 4520 m and 4540 m
  • Administrative location (township): SharmaShar ma
  • Administrative location (county): GegyéDge rgyas
  • 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

The funerary structures of Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma are located on the north edge of a large gravelly and sandy plain. MardepDmar ldebs is the name of the long low-lying red ridge that bounds the north side of the plain. The five quadrate funerary superstructures of the site are distributed quite widely over the plain. They are built of uncut brown sandstone blocks. In addition to Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma, there are funerary structures at Khorchen’Khor chen and Riu GyamchungRi’u gyam chung.

Oral tradition

According to local drokpa’brog pa, Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma and affiliated sites are tombs of the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (9 m by 9.4 m) consists of a square enclosure that is not well aligned in the cardinal directions. The entire structure is slightly raised above the surrounding plain. Three of its walls are single-course while the west wall is double-course (1 m thick). The variable-length (primarily 30 cm to 60 cm long) stones were laid flat on the ground. There are small wall traces within the perimeter wall, suggesting that this was an intricately designed superstructure.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (4.7 m by 5.8 m) is situated 13 m north of FS1. FS2 has been reduced to a highly fragmentary enclosure.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (3.4 m by 4.3 m) is situated 75 m west of FS2. The walls of this rectangular enclosure are aligned in the cardinal directions. The walls are composed of variable length stones (primarily 40 cm to 60 cm long), which project a maximum of 20 cm above ground level. Part of the north wall of the enclosure is double-course. Other walls of the enclosure appear to be of the single-course variety.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (4.8 m by 4.8 m) is situated 70 m west of FS3. Very little remains of this structure. There may be other specimens in the vicinity, but too little remains in place to know for certain.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (6.7 m by 6.7 m) is situated roughly 1 km southwest of the other enclosures. The fragmentary walls of FS5 seem to be aligned in the cardinal directions. The stones of the walls appear to have been laid flat on the ground.

Affiliated sites

Khorchen’Khor chen

On the south edge of the same plain that hosts the funerary structures of Mandep NupmaDmar ldebs nub ma there are two more specimens at a place known as Khorchen’Khor chen (32° 29.889΄ N. lat. / 82° 54.113΄ E. long. / 4450 m). These poorly preserved quadrate enclosures appear to have single-course walls, and measure 7.3 m by 6.4 m and 4.7 m by 5 m. The structures are built of a purplish stone, primarily 20 cm to 60 cm in length. What appears to be another funerary superstructure at Khorchen’Khor chen is located some distance away (29.829΄ / 53.940΄ / 4450 m). In the south wall of this last enclosure there is a single line of in situ stones aligned east-west.

Riu GyamchungRi’u gyam chung

What may be another funerary structure was detected further west at a locale called Riu GyamchungRi’u gyam chung (32° 29.965΄ N. lat. / 82° 52.906΄ E. long. / 4450 m). This square structure is situated on the edge of high ground overlooking the large plain to the east. The site has wide open views in all directions. The structure (2.7 m by 2.9 m) is aligned in the cardinal directions, and is primarily made of smaller purplish stones (10 cm to 40 cm long). Within the partly intact, outer foundation walls there is a pile of rubble 1 m in height. Many other stones are scattered around the vicinity. The design of the wall traces and the amount of stones strewn around the site indicates that the Riu GyamchungRi’u gyam chung monument was constructed with an elaborate superstructure of significant elevation. Rather than a funerary function, it is possible that this structure had alternative ritual functions.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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