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Gutschow, Niels
Chörten in Nepal
Architecture and Buddhist Votive Practice in the Himalaya in Dhading-Rasuwa, Dolpo, Humla, Manang, Mustang, Sindhupalcok-Dolakha
language: English
binding: Book (Hardback)
dimensions: 21.70 × 25.60 cm
publishing date: 01.03.2021
prices: ca. 98,00 Eur[D] / 100,80 Eur[A]
ISBN: 978-3-447-11498-1
All cultures shaped by Buddhism, from ancient Bhactria and Gandhara to Mongolia and Japan had quite a peculiar way of developing representations of the Buddha, the Bodhisattvas and a variety of guardian deities and saints. Of particular importance is the representation of the Buddha and his Teachings in aniconic form in the shape of an impassable building. In Sanskrit named Stupa, in Nepali Caitya, in Newari Cibha and in Tibetan Chörte, these structures – imposing or of miniature size – not only characterize the urban space of Newars in the Kathmandu Valley. They mark the access to Tibetan villages in northern Nepal, line the trails across high passes and stud topographically prominent places. By the thousands they transform wilderness into a landscape that promises shelter, protection and wellbeing. Often, these structures are small, made up of two or three cubes in diminishing size, placed on top of each other. Of peculiar importance are the Triple Protectors, the Rigsum Gönpo in the shape of three multiple cubes, lined up to guard the settlements against calamities such as flood, landslides and pests. To ensure their agency, their colours (black, white, red) are annually renewed. Single cubes may also signal their significance as repository of ashes of deceased.
With 584 maps, architectural drawings, and photographs, produced from 1970 to 2008 Niels Gutschow documents a rich cultural heritage of the Tibetan and Tamang along the range of the Himalaya.