Issue 84/3 – 2016

Issue 84/3 – 2016

25/12/2016 Tana Dluhosova


Contents

Articles

 

Daniel Berounský
Guest Editor’s Note…………………………………………………………………………….463–465

About the Editors

DANIEL BEROUNSKÝ is associate professor at the Department of South and Central Asia, the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Charles University in Prague. His published research focuses on indigenous rituals in Tibet, case studies of spirit-mediums in eastern Tibet, selected problems of Tibetan history and Tibetan ideas associated with the afterlife.
e-mail: Daniel.Berounsky@ff.cuni.cz

JARMILA PTÁČKOVÁ graduated from the Humboldt University in Berlin, specializing in Chinese and Central Asian Studies, and obtained her PhD in Tibetan studies from the same university. She worked as a researcher and lecturer at the Leipzig University and the Humboldt University. For the last several years her research focuses on the social and economic changes in Tibetan areas of Western China caused by the state stateinitiated development efforts. Currently, she is affiliated with the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.
e-mail: ptackova@orient.cas.cz

 

Solomon George FitzHerbert
An Early Tibetan Gesar sang Text……………………………………………………….467–526

This article introduces and presents an annotated English translation of what appears to be an early, and perhaps our earliest, Tibetan Gesar bsang (purifying smoke offering) ritual text. The translation is preceded by a discussion of the association between Gesar as a “worldly deity,” and the autochthonous Tibetan rite of smoke purification, and a tentative suggestion concerning Gesar’s role in the “Buddhicisation” of the bsang rite in Eastern Tibetan popular ritual culture. The article then gives a brief exposition of the layers discernible in the text’s presentation of Gesar: as the hero of a predominantly secular orientated chivalric-shamanic folkloric tradition, and his apotheosisation as a Buddha. The article then explores the difficulties in dating and attributing the text. The attribution to Karma Pakshi is ultimately rejected, in favour of a tentative attribution to the mid-late 17th century (and to Yongs-dge mi-’gyur rdo-je in particular) which would make sense in light of what can be discerned about the evolution of the Buddhist cult of Gesar in eastern Tibet around that time.

KEYWORDS

The Epic of King Gesar | Tibetan rituals

About the Author

GEORGE FITZHERBERT received his Doctorate in Tibetan Studies in 2008 from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University, where he also spent three years teaching as a Departmental Lecturer. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher with the ERC-funded project “The Tibetan Army of the Dalai Lamas” at the Sorbonne, Paris.
e-mail: george.fitzherbert@orinst.ox.ac.uk

 

Daniel Berounský
Bird Offerings in the Old Tibetan Myths of the Nyen Collection (Gnyan ’bum)………………………………………………………………………………………………… 527–559

 

The article introduces a corpus of Tibetan texts containing apparently old Tibetan myths on the Nyen (gnyan); beings representing the natural environment. The myths mostly narrate their conflicts with the original people, which are eventually resolved by ritual means. These texts are known as the Nyen Collections (Gnyan ’bum). Three examples of them are currently known and references from the Tibetan chronicles of the Bon religion speak about the rediscovery of some of its versions in western Tibet prior to 1017. The content, nevertheless, points to eastern Tibet as the place of origin of the core items of these texts. These texts represent a certain mythopoetic lore stemming from oral tradition, which might well be related to the traditions of the Naxi people in the Sichuan province of the PRC, as well as to some surviving traditions in eastern Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, as recently described. Extracts from the myths dealing with birds are presented in translation and paraphrase. These myths use their own specific poetic register and manifest an extraordinary veneration of birds. The other aspect of this veneration is the evident tradition of offering birds up to the Nyen. This is in sharp contrast with the orthodox Indo-Buddhist world-view, which does not ascribe any specific value to the animal realm.

KEYWORDS

Tibetan myths | Bon religion | non-Buddhist traditions of Tibet

About the Author

DANIEL BEROUNSKÝ is associate professor at the Department of South and Central Asia, the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Charles University in Prague. His published research focuses on indigenous rituals in Tibet, case studies of spirit-mediums in eastern Tibet, selected problems of Tibetan history and Tibetan ideas associated with the afterlife.
e-mail: Daniel.Berounsky@ff.cuni.cz

 

Ngondzin Ngawang Gyatso
The Lhadag Leu (lha bdag le’u), Ritual Specialists of the Black Water Bon of the Phenomenal World in Southern Amdo: A Brief Introduction…………………561–575

The paper translated from original Tibetan by Charles Ramble briefly examines the origin of the term  leu (le’u), the various types of  leu, their functions, and the features of the leu texts. This term designates both ritual specialists and rituals which have been performed in some areas of Amdo until recently. Leu is referred to in a number of Tibetan texts. This proves a long history of this tradition, which has been left unnoticed by the western scholarship so far.

KEYWORDS

Bon | Tibetan rituals |  leu | Amdo

About the Author

NGONDZING NGAWANG GYATSO (sNgon ’dzin Ngag bang rgya mtsho) is currently lecturer at Lanzhou University. His research focuses on collecting and exploring leu (le’u, etc.) ritual texts from his native Thewo (The bo) region and surrounding areas.
e-mail: awjc0219@aliyun.com

CHARLES RAMBLE is directeur d’études at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), Paris, and a member of Centre de Recherche sur les Civilisations de L’Asie Orientale (CRCAO). His numerous publications include The Navel of the Demoness: Tibetan Buddhism and Civil Religion  in Highland Nepal and Tibetan Sources for a Social History of Mustang: Vol. I, The Archive of Te.
e-mail: charles.ramble@orinst.ox.ac.uk

 

Lobsang Yongdan
The Introduction of Edward Jenner’s Smallpox Vaccination to Tibet in the Early 19th Century………………………………………………………………………………………577–593

Before its eradication in 1979, smallpox was considered to be the greatest killer in the world. Therefore, over time, people developed a variety of methods of prevention and treatment for smallpox. The study of smallpox is a well-established field and many scholars have written on the subject; however, as far as I am aware there is almost no scholarship regarding smallpox in Tibet. Thus, it is widely believed that Tibetans knew very little about smallpox and that the Jennerian vaccination technique was not introduced in Tibet until as late as 1944. This, however, is not the case: during the course of Tibetan history, Tibetans not only knew about smallpox but also developed various methods of prevention and treatment for the disease. As a literary society, Tibetans also produced a vast quantity of medical works, as well as historical and biographical accounts in relation to smallpox; in Tibet, as elsewhere, medical knowledge was constantly evolving. This article sets out to show how a Tibetan physician named Tsenpo Nomon Han (1789–1839) introduced Edward Jenner’s vaccination technique to Tibet in the early 19th century.

KEYWORDS

Smallpox in Tibet | inoculation | vaccination | Qing official Lamas | Amdo | Tsenpo Nomon Han | Beijing in the 19th century

About the Author

LOBSANG YONGDAN, born and brought up in Tibet, was trained as a monk, studying at Kumbum monastery. He graduated from the Buddhist College in 1992. He then studied in China and the United States. He completed a PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Dr Hildegard Diemberger in 2014. He is now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Mongolian & Tibetan Studies, Bonn University.
e-mail: lzyd2007@gmail.com

 

Stevan Harrell, Yang Qingxia, Sara Jo Viraldo, R. Keala Hagmann, Thomas Hinckley, and Amanda H. Schmidt
Forest is Forest and Meadows are Meadows: Cultural Landscapes and Bureaucratic Landscapes in Jiuzhaigou County, Sichuan……………………595–623

Present-day landscapes are shaped by historical forces that combine natural change (generated by climate, geological processes etc.) with anthropogenic change (locally generated in interaction with larger political and economic forces). In the Jiuzhaigou region of Northern Sichuan, humans have shaped landscapes to their needs for at least 3,500 years. In recent centuries, landscape change has probably accelerated, particularly in response to changes in the political economy of the region since the late 19th century. At present, Amdo and Baima Tibetan communities in the region are faced with generally similar but locally differing political and economic pressures, including economic development, tourism, and policies of conservation and reforestation. The communities have reacted to these pressures in diverse ways that produce different landscape outcomes, demonstrating that neither local cultural landscape ideals alone nor policy prescriptions alone can explain current landscape configurations or predict the precise future impact of policies. However, constraints imposed by bureaucratic planning may lead to landscapes with diminished biodiversity and reduced adaptive capacity.

KEYWORDS

Landscapes | Tibet | Jiuzhaigou | bureaucracy | landscape plasticity

About the Authors

STEVAN HARRELL is Professor of Anthropology and of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. He has conducted research in Taiwan and in Southwest China, on topics ranging from family, gender, and demography to ethnic relations to material culture to elementary education. Since the late 1990s, his research has been focused on human-environment relations, primarily in Southwest China, and has become more interdisciplinary, including earth sciences as well as social sciences. He is co-founder and president of Cool Mountain Education Fund, a small public charity that gives scholarships to high school and college students who have graduated from Yangjuan Primary School in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture.
e-mail: stevehar@uw.edu

YANG QINGXIA is Deputy Director, Science Department, Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve. A native of Jiuzhaigou, she holds a master’s degree in development studies from Massey University, New Zealand, and is also a Ph.D. student in Tibetan History, Economy, and Social Development at Sichuan University in Chengdu. Since 2005, she has collaborated with faculty members from several international universities to conduct research change on traditional cultural resources, socioeconomic change and development, environmental change and traditional ecological knowledge in the face of rapid tourism development.
e-mail: qingxia_y@163.com

SARA JO VIRALDO is a researcher with a BS in forest resources and a Master of Public Administration degree from Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington. Since 2008 she has conducted  research in Southwest China and the United States on topics such as forest management policies, cost benefit anaylsis of solar energy facilities, and climate change risk communication. Her work is focused on using rigorous analysis to inform policy decisions that are effective, equitable, and sustainable.
e-mail: sarajo.viraldo@gmail.com

R. KEALA HAGMANN is a forest ecologist and an associate with Applegate Forestry, LLC in Oregon, USA. Her primary focus is on developing and applying the unique historical records of forest conditions, re-discovered during graduate work at the University of Washington-Seattle, to contemporary management questions in fire-prone environments. Keala transitioned from a career in graphic design to ecology and enjoys working with interdisciplinary teams to explore tradeoffs between complementary and conflicting objectives in dynamic socio-ecosystems.
e-mail: hokulea@uw.edu

AMANDA H. SCHMIDT is an assistant professor of geology at Oberlin College. She and her undergraduate research students use geographic information systems, remote sensing, field work, and radioisotope fingerprinting techniques to quantify human changes to the environment, with a particular focus on the effects of people on erosion and a regional focus on southwest China. Her graduate work at the University of Washington included traditional training in geology as well as interdisciplinary training to work with teams on complex environmental problems.
e-mail: aschmidt@oberlin.edu

THOMAS HINCKLEY has an undergraduate degree from Carleton College and a graduate degree from the University of Washington. He has been a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Washington-Seattle, and the Agricultural University of Vienna, Austria. From 1966 to 2004, his research and academic interests were almost entirely devoted to tree and shrub water relations, photosynthesis, growth and ecophysiological modeling. In May 2001, an arsonist fire destroyed the building in which he had his office. This turned out to be transformative in very positive ways. From 2004 to the present, his teaching and research endeavors have broadened and have become much more interdisciplinary in nature. Currently, he is interested in cultural and political history and current status on issues of natural resource stewardship, sustainability and human health.
e-mail: Hinckley@uw.edu

 

Gerald Kozicz
Stupas, Lhathos, Tsatsakhangs: A Preliminary Report on the Cultural Topography of Hunder………………………………………………………………………..625–644

The Nubra Valley is one of the ancient corridors used by traders, armies and pilgrims that connected Northeast India, Central Asia and the Western Himalayas. The fortified settlement of Hunder was probably the most important regional checkpost along this line from the very early times of human occupation. Placed on a ridge above a gorge and protected by a perfect topographic setting, Hunder could hold its position for centuries. And like a cultural barrier riff, all the cultural currents left their marks all over the topographic relief in the form of the various types of material culture and religious architecture such as tombs, stupas, lhathos and burial shrines. The following article attempts to provide an overview of all the various relics in order to provide some insight into the chronology of the cultural history of this place which served as an outpost for western Tibetan culture for so long.

KEYWORDS

Nubra Valley | Hunder | lhatho | stupa | Trans-Himalayan routes

About the Author

GERALD KOZICZ has been leading several projects funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Many of the topics dealt with in the course of these projects are related to the cultural history of Ladakh in a wider context. These include all forms of religious architecture, in particular stupas, lhathos and the temples of the Second Diffusion of Buddhism.
e-mail: gerald.kozicz@gmx.at

 

Book Reviews and Notes

Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan (Associate Editors). Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Volume IV: Historical Perspectives, Poets, Teachers, and Saints, Relation to other Religions and Traditions, Hinduism and Contemporary Issues.
(Jan Filipský)……………………………………………………………………………………… 645–647

Peter Schwieger. The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China. A Political History of theTibetan Institution of Reincarnation.
(Jarmila Ptáčková)………………………………………………………………………………. 648–649

 

 

Our Contributors ………………………………………………………………………………….651–654

Contents of Volume 84 (2016) ……………………………………………………………….655–657