PHOTO OF THE DAY
MAN DRESSED AS FEMALE IN DANCE AT TIHAR
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MAN DRESSED AS FEMALE IN DANCE AT TIHAR
CHAMANISME ET SCULPTURE TRIBALE
In Jumla, one of the oldest cities in Western region of Nepal, a festival (Mela) is held in principle every year to celebrate the victory of Hindu gods against the Lakhey and Bhakkus, representing ancient tribal beliefs.
Documents extracted from a documentary filmed in 2005 in Jumla district.
Photos and text courtesy of
The Daule protects from malevolent spirits and also from the rats. A secret name is given to the Daule by the dhami.
Les Daulé protègent des esprits-prèdateurs mais aussi des rats. Un nom secret leur est attribué par le dhami.
Il Daule protegge la casa dagli spiriti maligni ma anche dai topi. Un nome segreto gli è conferito dal Dhami.
A wooden structure on wich the Daule are attached using various techniques.
A droite, l’axe principal sur lequel les statues peuvent etre fixées par différentes techniques.
Una struttura in legno nella quale sono attaccate usando varie tecniche i Daule.
In the center of the temple lies an abstract sculpture and a stone both show sign of blood sacrifice.
Une sculpture abstraite et une pierre sont au centre du templion. Des sacrifices sanglants leur on été offerts.
Nel centro del templio è posta una scultura dalle fattezze astratte e una pietra, entrambi mostrano i segni di sacrifici animali.
Blood stains seen on the stone and anthropomorphic sculture.
Pierre et sculpture anthropomorphe maculées de sang.
I resti di sacrifici animali si rivengono sulla pietra e scultura antropomorfa.
The Sarki caste is originally specialized in leatherwork. In more recent times, they have been working with wood. Mr Runa Sarki continues to carve wooden statues for the community.
Runa Sarki sculpte encore des statues pour la communauté. Les Sarki, à l’origine une caste spécialisée dans le travail du cuir se sont reconvertis dans d’autres domaines, en particulier le travail du bois.
La casta dei Sarki, tradizionalmente specializzata nella lavorazione del cuoio, in tempi recenti ha iniziato a lavorare anche il legno. Mr Runa Sarki scolpisce sculture in legno per le necessità della comunità
Shamanic altars displaying the bells, collars of rudraksha and a small statue of Guro.
Autel chamanique avec le indispensables cloches, coiliers de rudraksha, et petites statuettes de Guro.
In questo piccolo ‘altare’ sciamanico si possono osservare delle campane in bronzo, una collana di rudraksha e una piccola statua in bronzo di Guro.
Humla Festival, A Hindu man playing a female shaman-dhamini.
Une pseudo chamane dhamini.
Uno dei caratteri del festival della regione di Humla, il soggetto rappresentato è una caricatura di una donna degli sciamani-dhamini.
Courageously the Lakhe faces the Hindu Gods.
Courageusement le Lakhé provoque et affronte les Dieux hindous.
Il demone Lakhe fronteggia coraggiosamente le divinità Hindu.
Set apart from the main groups, a masked character wearing rags plays the erratic fool. He receives much attention and respect from the spactactors.
En marge de tous le Groupes, un acteur masqé, vetu de hailons arpente la rue principale, se desarticulant en soubresauts inattendus. Lui aussi recueille beaucoup d’attention et de respect de la part de spectateurs.
Isolato dalle rappresentazioni dei gruppi maggiori di figuranti, il carattere del folle errante riceve attenzione e respetto da parte degli spettatori.
Bhakku are played by the lowest castes, on the Hindu social scale. In this example the Kami, who specialize in metal work, continue this tradition.
Les Bhakku sont incarnés par les castes le plus basses dans l’échelle sociale hindoue. De nos jours principalement les Kami, spécialistes di travail du metal et plus particuliérement du fer, poursuivent la tradition.
Some of the troop.
Une partie seulement de la troupe.
Una parte dei figuranti del festival.
Chhintang and Akuwa Chhintang are located in the Dhankuta district.
In the eastern regions, contrary to what is generally accepted, anthropomorphic sculptures in wood are also present as protection of springs, for crossing a bridges or funeral effigies.
This region is mainly populated by Bantawa Rai, they still practice masked dances (Makhundo Kel) during various occasions.
Documents extracted from a documentary filmed in 2005 in Dhankuta district.
Photos and text courtesy of Christian Lequindre.
Before crossing some bridges, travellers rest on wooden platforms donated by local patrons. These rest aereas are adorned by effigies of the donor.
Avant le passage d’un pont, de longs bancs de bois forment des plateformes pour y déposer le lourdes charges. Ils sont souvent associés à une effigie protectrice, portrait d’ancetre donateur de ces aires de repos.
In prossimità dei ponti, si possono trovare delle piattaforme in legno per il riposo dei viandanti, queste strutture possono essere adornate dalle effigi dei donatori.
Sim Nag is placed at the center. These sculptures are associated with the worship of the serpent gods Nag-Nagini, rulers of the underworld.
Les fermettes disposent de piéces d’eau avec au centre, une déité ophidienne Sim Nag, associée au culte des Nag-Nagini, couple de serpents suoverains des mondes souterrains.
Scultura associata al culto della divinità oppidiana Nag-Nagini è posta al centro di un piccolo specchio d’acqua.
Statues et masques de lignées sont disposés à l’extérieur par le mai tre de maison.
Statues and masks depicting lineage are displayed by the host.
The ghyampa filled with fermented millet-jar are related to the worships of the ancestors who passed on the secrets of fermentation.
Les Ghyampa sont éminemment liés aux cultes des ancetres fondateurs qui leur ont transmis les secrets de la fermentation.
I Ghyampa sono essenzialmente connessi al culto degli antenati che gli hanno trasmesso i segreti della fermentazione.
Statue protégeant l’accés à l’étage, espace très privé de la maison.
Statue protecting access to the private upper floor.
Statua protettrice posta a protezione del piano privato della abitazione.
Duwacha, ou Jogekung, à la longue barbe, et Mechacha masques.
Offerings of butter lamps, rice, flowers, red pigment, sindoor, alcohol of millet and other foods are used to end the ceremony.
Des offrandes de lampes à beurre, de riz, de fleurs, de pigment rouge-sindur, d’alcool de millet et de nourriture clotureront cette cérémonie.
La fine della cerimonia è segnata da una precisa tipologia di offerte .
SHAMANISM AND TRIBAL SCULPTURE
Writer and collector, he has donated a collection of masks from Nepal to the Musée des Arts Premiers Quai Branly, Paris.
Among his books:
A Masque découvert, regards sur les arts primitifs de l’Himalaya , Stock, 1995.
La Statuaire archaïque du Népal occidental , Renaud Vanuxem, 2006.
Le Masque de la Chine , Musée Jacquemart André, Actes Sud, 2007.
Photographer and collector, he has been resident in Nepal since the 1980s.
He carried out multiple field studies between 1995 and 2005 and produced three documentaries on different masks traditions in Nepal.
He has also directed the Annapurna Gallery in Paris from 1989 to 1995.
AND HIDDEN HERITAGE
INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN
FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
INDRA JATRA JATRA FESTIVAL KATMANDU NEPAL MASKED CELEBRATIONS
Indra Jatra is a gala festival celebrated in the capital city of Kathmandu.
This is a festival of the Hindus and the Buddhists and continues for a period of seven days.
The festival celebrations takes place around Hanuman dhoka while the events are held on the Basantapur Durbar Square in
Kathmandu is crowded with visitors coming from all corners of Nepal.
Indra Jatra Legends
According to a myth, Indra was looking for flowers in the Kathmandu valley.
But while wandering there, he became captivated in the hands of the people residing in the valley.
Dagini, Indra’s mother rescued her son by promising the capturers the pleasure of heaven.
This legend is symbolized with the onset of the fine season after the rainy showers.
According to others, the festival is celebrated in the honor of Bahirab, who is Shiva’s manifestation and is believed to
Indra Jatra Celebrations
Indra Jatra, named after God Indra, is a colorful festival of dance, song and merriment.
Indra is considered to be the rain god.
The celebrations begin in the end of September with the oncoming of the autumn season just after monsoon.
The festival highlights traditional classical dances in various forms and styles.
Local people are seen to rejoice all around the Hanuman Dhoka courtyard.
There are masked dancers in the traditional outfit dancing in the festive mood.
Beer flows from the Bahirab statue, which is remarkable to look at.
Indra Jatra Rituals
On the first day of the festival, a long pole made of wood is set up in front of the Royal Palace located in Hanuman Dhoka
to appease Lord Indra.
The third day marks the procession of girl goddess called Kumari.
The people of Kathmandu consider her to be an embodiment of “Taleju” goddess.
She travels to the royal place on a beautifully decorated chariot.
The final day of the festival marks the lowering of the erected pole along with animal sacrifice, religious ceremonies and
different rituals performed.
PHOTO JOHAN REINHARD
GHANTAKARNA JATRAS ON THE MONTH OF
Ghanta Karna Chaturdasi or GhantaKarna is the Nepali festival commemorating the death of Ghanta(Bell) Karna(Ears) “Bell Ears,”,
a demon with jingling bells in his ears so that he’d never have to hear the name of Vishnu.
According some opinions the festival is a relic of ancient demonolatry in the Kathmandu valley.
In Hindu mythology he caused death and destruction wherever he went, until a god in the form of a frog persuaded him to
leap into a well, after which the people clubbed him to death and dragged his body to the river to be cremated.
The Jatra is celebrated by making the domn’s effigy of bamboos which is finally burnt while the remains are sanked into
the river, signaling the end of the festival.
From an iconographic point of view the body of the Demon is painted with red,blue and black color and had a pair of bells
on his ear.
The festival is celebrated towards the end of the Nepalese month of Shrawan (14th day of waning half of Hindu month of Sravana)
It begin with children that collect money from passerby, then used to make an effigy of the demon,
Young girls hang tiny dolls on the effigy of Ghanta Karna to protect themselves from the demon
children sell iron rings and iron nails
It is believed that who have iron nails in the lintels of their homes or are wearing an iron ring will be protected
from evil spirits in the coming year.
JATRAS IN THE SRAWAN MOUNTH
BUNGAMATI KUMARI JATRA
INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
THE BATTLE CELEBRATING PEACE
– REVIVING ANCIENT FORGOTTEN RITUALS.
Photos and Text courtesy Mr NABIN BARAl: http://nepalthroughthelens.blogspot.com and http://www.demotix.com/news/save-greater-himalayas
The celebration with colors, music and dance- For the last day, the characters changed costumes and joined the head lama in a dance to drive the devil out of the village.
Hundreds of years of preservation and perseverance nourished and timely practiced are the basic attributes that gives birth to a cultural phenomenon.
Sometimes the culture becomes identity and other time identity reflects the culture.
Manang, a mystical Himalayan District of Nepal, preserves itself within the largest protected area of Nepal, Annapurna Conservation Area, rated by B.B.C as one of the 12 best walks of the world! Manang Valley – indigenous people prefer to say Nyeshang Valley – is a combination of scenic grandeur and biodiversity with multicultural and multiethnic dimensions. This valley is largely occupied by Buddhists, and in some parts, Bon Po believers who worship nature as God.
Manang has its own original and unique sets of customs, cultures and festivals.
The performance of Evil.
At the last day some villagers are masked with evil .The masked evil performs against the head lama and the dancing worriers.
The spectators are chased and dispersed by the evil.
This brings more fun in the festival. The spectators again gather with lama and dancing worriers to fight against the evil.
The performance of head lama against evil.
The villagers get together and make boundary of rope.
They drive the masked evils in side the boundary of rope.
The head Lams performs with Mantras and religious songs against the evil to drive it away permanently from the village.
People believe that it maintain peace in the Village.
The metaphoric end of evil.
At the last moment lama burns a small cone structure which is made up of straw.
Pest of red powder is also mixed with the straw to represent blood. Earlier 12 virgins used to be sacrificed to the Gods at the beginning of the Bade festival. Owing to Buddhist beliefs, the practice was stopped and goats were offered instead. Later, only the tips of the ears of goats were offered. Now, because the Nyeshang community follows the peaceful middle path of the Buddha, Bade festival in future will not encourage animal sacrifice.
Manang celebrates Bade Festival once in three years, on the 1st day of the tenth month of Tibetan Calendar.
Bade has more than one expression according to the local people.
On one side, it’s a Nyeshang oral tradition and an intricate performing art, basically a play, where mother Earth is the stage, with courtyards and terraced fields forming the backdrop.
Bade is full of sounds, colors and intense drama, which tell a story of two warring brothers. On the other side, it is a performance which retells the story of a Ghale king sending his army off to battle. Both expressions meet in the purposes and objectives of the festival, which is to free the village of evil spirits, demons, enemies, diseases and natural calamities, to ensure peace, security and prosperity in the village.
In the late 1950s, King Mahendra came to the valley and, seeing the hard life of the settlers, as well as their strength and determination, declared that the people of Manang need not to pay the government tax if they wanted to import and export goods from Nepal. The people of Manang have become prosperous traders, hoteliers, and businessmen. Many have moved down from the harsh and beautiful valley in north central Nepal to Kathmandu, but, at the same time, made their culture and traditional way of life vulnerable. At present, most of the younger generations of Manang are living either in big cities of Nepal or in foreign countries for the sake of education, business and better life.
The worriers are back.
Ancient rituals of Bade were forgotten since more than two decades.
It needed practice for the worriers to play their role .So the day before the festival is set to begin, the men of Manang gather in a monastery to rehearse. The Rehearse is finished. Two warring brothers (Kings) with their army and yaks are back in the battle field.
The battle with smiles.
When the worriers reach a main square just near Buddhist Stupa, the battle festival Bade begins.
In a poetic war, the two brothers who are camped on opposite sides berate each other through the ‘Dohari’ songs – a form of traditional ballad song.
Through song and satire, they fight out their battle
In 2004, the younger generations saw Bade for the first time since the past 25 years. Two decades ago, the Bade tradition started to decline, as local people migrated to Kathmandu and took with them economic and cultural resources. The Destination Manang Campaign of 2004 reinstated it. But it was only from October 25 – 27 of 2007 that it was fully revived with the ancient rituals which were forgotten since many years. The villagers hope that by reviving the Bade festival, they can reconnect the youth with the roots of their culture, and share it through tourism.
There are two different groups. The narration begins with two brothers visiting a temple. The elder brother is offended when he finds that his younger brother has visited the temple before him. The fight or rather the play of Bade begins. In a poetic war, the two brothers who are camped on opposite sides berate each other through the ‘Dohari’ songs – a form of traditional ballad song. Through song and satire, they fight out their battle. To boost the morale of their teams, both sides also display their war skills through role-play.
Earlier 12 virgins used to be sacrificed to the Gods at the beginning of the Bade festival. Owing to Buddhist beliefs, the practice was stopped and goats were offered instead. Later, only the tips of the ears of goats were offered. Now, because the Nyeshang community follows the peaceful middle path of the Buddha, Bade festival in future will not encourage animal sacrifice.
Worriers act of attack with ancient weapon.
These weapons were locked in a small monastery since two decades.
The Destination Manang Campaign of 2004 provided these weapons to the worriers’ hand. The weapons are made up of wood. The attack is full of fun and laughter.
It reminds the ancient way of attack but in a play full manner because Bade is the battle festival celebrating peace.
A worrier sings the ‘Dohari’ songs, a form of traditional ballad song.
He was singing the song in a louse voice.
Although he was reviving the ancient rituals, the loud melody was not only expressing the story of the war but it was also requesting to new generations of Manang to take the responsibility to protect their battle festival Bade, which celebrates peace.
Battle ends with laughter and joys-Carried away in their various roles, sometimes the villagers do start a brawl that is soon controlled by the younger soldiers who stand between the supporters of the two brothers.
But actual violence does not occur.
When things start getting out of hand, villagers step in to bring things back to normal.
In facts nobody wins and no body is defeated.
At last the culture is preserved for the next time
INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
MAUJA VILLAGE KASKI DISTRICT
Nepal circa 1973-74
(Photo courtesy Tod Ragsdale http://taragsdalephotos.com/)
-Mauja is a Gurung village of Kaski District in the Gandaki Zone of northern-central Nepal, the photo was took by the photographer Tod Ragsdale in the early 70’s.
A basament of ‘brut’ stones, a sort of archetipic style for this primitive altar, in which we can see a group of protective/commemorative (?) poles carved in a very minimal style. The presence of some metal trisul and of wide bells confirme that we are in front of an holy place.
According Mr. Christian Lequindre opinion, the Masta culte, linked to those kind of sort of AXIS MUNDI POLES , is sporadically spread till the western central region despite most of the scholar of the matter limite than to the Karnali area. That’s an evident example in Gurung village context, the pic was took in 1973/74. As demonstrated by mr Christhian in his recent catalogue there are also wooden poles in the eastern area of Nepal, but refering here to ancestors and funerary cult.
-GAI JATRA, COW FESTIVAL, NEPAL, Photos courtesy Vincent Van den Berg http://web.mac.com/vincentvandenberg/shi/Index.html .
Gai Jatra is a festival celebrated by the Newar community of Kathmandu valley every year since the malla period at the beginning day of Bhadra, a Nepali month according to the lunar calendar, Gai means Cow and Jatra means in Nepali language.. It is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. In Kathmandu the festival is held around Basantapur, in Bhaktpaur around the old Bhaktapur city and in Lalitpur ,around the Patan Durbar Square. The festival lasts for a week.
On the first day of the festival, either actual cows or human beings with oval shaped baskets with painted pictures of a cow and Ganesh on either side of the basket with straw horns to represent cows are sent round the town.
The festival comes just a day after the Janai Purnima (celebrated during the full moon day). The Gai Jatra commemorates the death of people during the year, is a healthy festival which enables the people to accept the reality of death and to prepare oneself for the life after death. The festival of cows is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. It is believed that Cow is indispensable to help the dead souls to cross a holy river before to arrive in heaven, in this way the dead souls catches the tail of cow as help to cross this river.
According one belief the celebration of the Gai Jatra begun when the King Pratap Malla lost his son, and his wife fall in a very deep sorrow, so was decided that a person from each family that have lost one people during the year should come to the queen to show that many others were actually in the same pain. Since this event begun the tradition of celebrating Gai Jatra festival.
According another one belief the festival begun when some people were called to make laugh the sadden queen, wife of Pratap Malla, some of these started to make different jokes and particulary phantomime and satires direct to hit the higly ranked people of the society, so the queen started to laugh. In the recent past, the Gai Jatra, before the declaration of the republic, was the only place in wich was possible to satire the Kings of Nepal.
In the past people who have lost a member of the family in the previuos year were part of the street procession led by a real cow. In the present days the processione is led by a cow structure in bamboo in which the photo of the lost people are hanged with the name.
In the festival the children are dressed in godly customs, to bless the celebrating dead souls. In the stik dance, the dancers with their sticks clear the path chasing ghosts and are focused to destroy their nails which are hindrances for the dead souls to reach the Haven.
The Gai Jatra festival in Bhaktapur:
Gai Jatra 2007
INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN
FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
2008 – 2016
MANI RIMDU, GOMPA, buddhist monastery in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal
Photo Courtesy Rejselyst