Stories of lDe, de Bro and ser: politics and religion in ancient Ladakh

Wednesday 11 October 2017 to 18H00

by Nils Martin, doctoral student at EPHE, attached to the CRCAO

The villages of Alchi, Sumda Chung, and Mangyu, Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir, India), are famous for the temples and stupas decorated with Kashmiri-style murals that were erected there during the Second Broadcasting Period. Buddhism in Western Tibet. However, the historical context and the dating of these monuments, traditionally associated with the activity of the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055), remain obscure. The same is true of the nearby fortified sites of Alchi Khargok, Balukhar and Khaltse Zampa. The founding inscription of Chenrezik Lhakhang, in Mangyu, gives a unique insight into the ancient history of the region and these sites. It presents a patrilineage of 'donators' from the unknown serner clan, as well as the royal dynasty for which they officiated in Mangyu and its surroundings as governors. The royal scenes represented in the temple, extremely hierarchical and provided with legends, also participate in the expression of their vassalage. On these epigraphic and visual bases, supplemented by the revised translation of several dedicatory inscriptions of Alchi and Balukhar, a new historical model will be proposed for the erection of the temples of Alchi, Sumda Chung and Mangyu, as well as the fortified sites of Alchi Khargok, Balukhar and Khaltse Zampa, in connection with the establishment of military clans ('Bro and sMer) by the rulers of the West-Tibetan kingdom of Guge-Puhrang.


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