Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet


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These critical and provocative essays discuss female role models, the nun's life, and gender and role identity as these manifested in Tibet. No current Talk conversations about this book. One of the first books on "women and Tibetan Buddhism," this has some absolutely terrific essays. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Rita M. Yeshe Tsogyel. Janet Gyatso.

The Tibetan Demoness. Miranda Shaw. Janice Willis. Barbara Aziz. Karma Tsomo. References to this work on external resources. Wikipedia in English 1 Dakini. No library descriptions found. Book description. Haiku summary. Add to Your books. Add to wishlist. Quick Links Amazon. The first part of the names of the Buddhist demoness and the Bon goddess are closely related and are derived from the Zhang Zhung language. She is described as riding a deer, wearing a greatcoat of peacock feathers, and holding long-life vase.

This makes good sense when we consider that Trari Nam Tsho was once surrounded by elite settlements and much cultural activity. As we have seen, in the Buddhist tradition, the four main mountains ringing Trari Namtsho, the Gyalchen Rishi, are male warrior spirits that pin down the lake demoness, in what can be construed of as a act of ritual rape.


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  8. In more ancient sacred geographic traditions, the Gyalchen Rishi may have been the acolytes of Trede Chenmo Relchikma. A religious parallel with Lake Nam Tsho seems instructive here, where the four main mountains surrounding this lake serve as minions of the goddess. The submission of lake and earth goddesses to male instruments of power and prestige mountains or monastics , seems to reflect the development of a stronger patriarchal bias in the cultures and religions of Tibet with the coming of Buddhism. I have written about this theme at some length, but it deserves a special study in itself.

    Narrative Dispossession: Tibet and the Gendered Logics of Historical Possibility

    Nowadays, local herders look upon Bell Island with a considerable amount of apprehension, perceiving it as an inauspicious location. Very few of them have taken the trouble to visit the location. The demonization of centers of ancient civilization is commonplace in Upper Tibet. Buddhism could not often co-inhabit comfortably with their veneration.

    Over time, many sites were reviled and slowly forgotten. Moreover, ancient sites like Bell Island were not the object of study in premodern Tibet. Such an undertaking would have been perceived as quite irrelevant or frivolous by the traditional scholarly community.

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    Arriving on the shoreline opposite Bell Island on a stormy late summer morning in Note the natural causeway going out to the island. Looking back towards the mainland from Bell Island later on the same day. The remains of a couple of shrines can be seen against the lake on the middle right side of the photograph.

    What a contrast to ancient times when it was an important center of settlement with 15 well-built houses and many shrines and other structures! The most remarkable feature of the buildings is that they are relatively well preserved, with around half of the ancient houses still having some or most of their roofs intact.

    Coming upon these long-abandoned structures is like entering a time machine and being transported back to the distant past. The houses of Bell Island were constructed in the primary archaic architectural style of Upper Tibet. These are corbelled structures with heavy stone walls and roofs. The very sturdy structures have stood for many centuries. Fortunately, due to the extremely remote location and the harsh environment of the island, these buildings have not been menaced by people in a long time. The structures have endured complete neglect, numerous earthquakes, and the wild elements of the lofty Changthang, but not much else.

    This is not to be taken lightly in this age of the accidental and willful destruction of many archaeological sites throughout Tibet and beyond. Although no direct dating of the structures at Bell Island has not yet been undertaken. Tibetan tradition has it that in the imperial period circa — CE , islands at Lake Nam Tsho were claimed by Buddhist ascetics and occupied by no less an eminent personality than Guru Rinpoche. This lake is still perceived as being under a Bon pall. This island is described as a very desolate place.

    Yet, Tsho Do was once a thriving insular settlement with well appointed caves shelters, substantial all-stone corbelled houses and a well-designed stronghold.

    "Becoming a Woman in Zanskar"

    Likewise, it appears that other islands of the Changthang were at their zenith in the prehistoric era. This typological assessment is corroborated by archaeometric evidence. The ground plan of a residence at Bell Island has been compared to foundations excavated in western Tibet, which are dated to the second half of the first millennium BCE.

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    The lack of reference in Tibetan literature Including Bon texts to residential and cultural centers on the islands also hints at their archaic status. As with the funerary pillars of the region, there are only scant and veiled allusions to the archaeological wealth of the region in early times. The precipitous degradation of the physical environment of Upper Tibet over the last two millennia strongly suggests that the insular settlements are of substantial antiquity as well, belonging to a time when the climate was more amenable to human habitation.

    There would be hardly any reason to construct an elaborate settlement after stable potable water supplies disappeared from places like Bell Island. Finally, there are no archaeological indications that Bell Island was reinhabited by the Buddhists or Bonpo in any substantive way. Based on the topographical characteristics of the island, it can be subdivided into seven different sectors:.

    Also, in order to weatherproof and decorate the structures, we can be fairly well assured that their exteriors were plastered and possibly painted too.

    Tibetan Buddhism Enters the 21st Century: Trouble in Shangri-la

    The random-rubble walls were built primarily of roughly-hewn, dark-colored limestone blocks. The small entranceways of the houses face south and east, directions still favored by contemporary house builders in Tibet. The corbels and bridging stones used to construct the roofs are made of a harder metamorphic stone, cut into pieces up to 1. Much stone working skill went into the creation of the roofs and the walls and foundations needed to support them. These roofs weighed tons, and it is a real tribute to the competency of the ancient masons that they endure at Bell Island.

    Part of three closely arrayed houses of the Lower Terrace, Bell Island. The construction of a corral visible on left side of image has helped to obliterate and obscure traces of the three residences. When I first visited Bell Island in , I thought that these remains may have been those of one large structure, but this is not the case. Perhaps these three structures erected side by side were the habitations of an extended family or some other closely knit social group. As I have observed before, I think that at least some of these multi-roomed structures were occupied by family units, not by male anchorites alone.

    One of the three closely arrayed houses of the Lower Terrace, Bell Island. Note the long corbel suspended on the rear upper wall. This structure was built in three tiers. Some of it was destroyed by the construction of a corral lower right corner of photo. The central house of the Lower Terrace, Bell Island. Three rear rooms are visible in this image, which still enjoy part of their stone roof. Pictured are the central rear room foreground and the north room background with a large subterranean recess in its northwest wall.

    Note the massive corbels, bridging stones, and lintel. The south house left and central house right of the Upper Terrace, Bell Island. The south house, Upper Terrace, Bell Island. The rooms of this structure mostly open around a centralized space, an unusual internal design feature in all-stone corbelled constructions. Note the intact entranceway and roof appurtenances.

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    The south house left and central house right of the Outcrop sector, Bell Island. The multi-roomed central house is bereft of its roof. The south house has an anterior courtyard and three partly intact rooms in rear. The north house of the Outcrop sector, from the rear or west, Bell Island. Note the largely intact roof. This is probably the largest single structure on the island. Also note the many different outer wall planes in this structure. As all-stone corbelled structures are often composed of multiple structurally self-sufficient units, walls tend to have many projecting angles and indentations.

    The sandy surface of the roof is what remains of a weatherproof sealant, perhaps a type of natural cement. The open interior of Founders House looking towards the rear west. The standing stone in the rear is not an original feature, it was placed there relatively recently. This poorly anchored stone is not a stele but rather a roof member.

    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet
    Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet Feminine Ground: Essays On Women And Tibet: Essays on Women in Tibet

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