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

Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo

Basic site data

  • Site name: Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo (sp.?)
  • Site number: D-98
  • Site typology: II.2e
  • Elevation: 4670 m to 4700 m
  • Administrative location (township): BartaBar tha
  • Administrative location (county): NakchuNag chu
  • Survey expedition: HTAE
  • Survey date: October 31, 2003
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: manima ṇi plaques.
  • Maps: UTRS IX
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo is located on an east-facing slope in a narrow valley of the same name. The site enjoys broad views to the north and east. Neri BültsoNe ri bul mtsho is visible 15 km to the east. The seven terraced funerary structures of the site sit on a turf-blanketed, moderately inclined slope. These structures are generally aligned in the cardinal directions. Funerary structures FS2 to FS6 are devoid of stone walls and there is little stone detritus remaining on them. It would appear, therefore, that external stone walls were only minimally used at Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo. The funerary structures of the site are prominently elevated above the adjoining terrain, giving some of them the appearance of bangsobang so (II.2d). The two longer sides of these rectangular structures are oriented perpendicular to the axis of the slope, as is common in this monument typology. Evidence from analogous sites in the region (D-74, D-97) indicates that at least some of the terraced structures of Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo had a burial function. These are likely to be the final resting places of a local social elite.

Oral tradition

According to local lore, the ruins of Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo are those of a Buddhist nunnery destroyed by the 18th century CE Jungarjun gar.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (8.6 m by 5.6 m) is the lowest elevation specimen at the site. Fragments of all four of its stone walls are still intact. These wall traces contain stones 10 cm to 30 cm in length. The walls do not appear to have been finely constructed.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (10.5 m by 9.5 m) has a forward flank raised 2 m above the downhill slope. The rear flank is elevated about 1 m above the uphill slope. There is a slight depression on top of this structure.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (5.9 m by 5.9 m) has a forward flank elevated about 1.5 m above the slope, while the rear flank is flush with the slope.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (6.7 m by 5.3 m) has a forward flank elevated about 1.5 m above the downhill slope, while its rear flank is slightly elevated above the uphill slope.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (9.7 m by 6.9 m) has a forward flank elevated about 1.5 m above the downhill slope, while its rear flank is slightly elevated above the uphill slope.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 (11.1 m by 7.6 m) a forward flank elevated about 1.5 m above the downhill slope, while its rear flank is slightly elevated above the uphill slope.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 (17.1 m by 11 m) is the largest and highest elevation funerary structure at the site. These distinctive characteristics may possibly mean that FS7 was used to inter the highest status member/members buried at Zhunmé DoZhun ma’i mdo. FS7 is one of the largest terraced tombs surveyed to date. The top was excavated to a depth of at least 1 m. This excavation occurred long ago as evidenced by the growth of vegetation and the obdurate quality of its surface. It would appear that this conspicuous funerary structure fell prey to looters. The forward flank of FS7 is elevated about 3 m above the downhill slope and the rear flank is elevated about 1.5 m above the uphill slope. Wall segments have persisted on the forward/east and rear/west rim of the structure. There are a few old plaques inscribed with the manima ṇi mantra on top of FS7.

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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.