Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Labrang stupa

1925-1926, by Joseph Rock.
Lamasery buildings, stupa-style pagoda, and partial view of bridge over the Sang River at Labrang.

Labrang Monastery(拉卜楞寺, བླ་བྲང་བཀྲ་ཤིས་འཁྱིལ་, also as Labrang Tashikyil), located in Xiahe County in Gansu province (used to be the Amdo), is one of the six great Geluk (Yellow Hat) monasteries. This region sees the interaction among four great cultures/civilizations: Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian, and Muslim. Labrang plays a very important role for Tibetan Buddhism reaching Mongols. It is Tibetan Buddhism's most important monastery outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

"Labrang" means the residence of a great Lama. Labrang was founded in 1710 by the First Jamyang-zhaypa. The line of his reincarnations, the Jamyang-zhaypa Rinpoches, have been the traditional heads of the Labrang Monastery.

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Rain on the mountains near Paotow

1936, by Pickens Jr., Rev. Claude L.
Eastern Suiyuan (绥远). Rain on the mountains near Paotow (包头).

In his diary dated June 22nd, Monday (1936), he wrote:"

Here we changed from the tenth to the 20th century and took a bus.
We bought an inside ticket for three dollars for a 400 li ride. Tickets
for the top of the bus would have been $2.00. Our bus was filled with
camel hair and wool with only Laurie and me inside. It was an eight to
nine hour ride over rather bumpt roads at what seemed flying speed. At
the first hundred li place was PA TS?(Z) PU LUNG in the site of a C. & ?.
??(As) experiment, similar to the R.C one in Norther Ningsia, but with much
less success. Most of the trip was over semidesert and grassland with
very little sedentary life. The last 300 li was South of the TA CH'ING
SHAN. Every now and then at a distance we could see a lamasary. Half
way we stopped at KUNG MIAO where we had lunch: boiled eggs and bitter
water. Finally we a strong wind behind us we reached Paotow.

PAOTOW, SUIYUAN. Just as we reached the city it started to rain.
Had this happened anywhere else our journey would have stopped until
the sun came out to dry things. They say that this is the first good
rain in 6 months. We went directly to the Swedish Mission where mail
was awaiting us. Mr. and Mrs. Swenson took us in and treated us kindly.
This town is very large and the center of much trade with Inner Mongolia
and Sinkiang. It was formerly one of the centers of trade with
?rga, but this is now stopped. One wonders what will happen when Japan
takes Inner Mongolia. Of course, it is also the beginning of the camel
caravans that go to and from Ningsia and Kansu. There are huge and
impressive inns and shops with Mongolian and Chinese characters on them.
There are two mosques here, but I was too tired to look for them."

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mongolian wrestlers

Mongolia wrestlers from Weichang
1909, by Purdom, William
Weichang Xian, Hebei Sheng, China

围场满族蒙古族自治县, Chengde, Hebei

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Lags-kha-gtsang Incarnation on the way to Dzangar Lamasery

Lamas and the mule litter of the Lags-kha-gtsang Incarnation below the Gan-dmar Pass on the way to Dzangar Lamasery.
1926, by Joseph Rock

Buddha of Dzangar Lamasery

Living Buddha of Dzangar Lamasery with a young tulku in front of his yurt (Mongol tent)
1926, by Joseph Rock

According Rock's diary, the old Living Buddha's name being Lakatsang, is eighty-one year old. The boy standing by is a young tulku, or living incarnation of a Bodhisattva.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Koko Nor. Moslem escort

Koko Nor (Qinghai Hu, 青海湖) . Moslem escort.
1925, by Joseph Rock

Koko Nor (Kokonor, Qinghai Hu, Blue Sea Lake, 青海湖)

Stupa (chos rtan), Northern Ningsia

Northern Ningsia (宁夏). The Mongolian Plain begins.
1936, by Pickens Jr., Rev. Claude L.

In Picken's diary dated on June 19th Friday, he wrote"

The day of the Eclipse. 20 li from where we stayed the night we
saw a chortan, rather dilapidated. This probably marks the border between
Ningsia and Suiyuan, though we were told the canal a li or so
away was the present one. Possibly this chortan is the ethnological
border of the Mongolian plain. This chortan having been erected to
keep the influence of the Chinese to the South. At the canal construction
work was going on to erect a motor bridge across. ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pagoda, Weichow

Pagoda, Weichow
1936, by Pickens Jr., Rev. Claude L.

Weichow - Weizhou(韦州), Ningxia Huizu Zizhiqu (宁夏回族自治区) , China.
The tower is the Kang-ji-Si Ta(康济寺塔), 42 meters, 13 tiers, and 8 eaves. Kang-ji-Si(康济寺) was built during Xi Xia (西夏) , and the tower initially had 9 tiers. Two stone tablets (石碑) behind the tower records its history.

In his diary dated May 25th, 1936, he wrote:

We went for a walk out to visit the pagoda. It stood in a great
open space outside the West wall of the city in an enclosure that
looked as though at one time it had been part of the city wall. There
were no temples or other buildings about. Two tablets dating from the
Ming period stood close by, but they were of soft sandstone so badly
defaced that it was impossible to make out many characters. One tablet
had the characters first year telling of repairs to the pagoda.
It is extraordinary to find in a 100% Moslem town such a thing. I
wonder if this dates from the Hsi Hsia or Tangut Dynasty? This country
was depopulated by Geengis Khan and later under the Mings the Moslems
came. Certainly Persian and Arab faces are very common.

Weizhou (韦州)

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If you have GoogLe Earth plugin installed, you can look at
Weizhou 3D map in Google Earth

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bonpo lama from Radja Gomba

Bonpo lama with earrings, beaded necklaces, and hand drum in a state of trance.
1926, by Joseph Rock on the roof of his quarters at Radja Gomba.

According Rock's diary, the sorcerer is from the Nyimaha or Red Sect. He is a member of the Konser tribe belonging to the five Hor states. The sorcerer's name is Tsepten-ja.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lama from Radja Gomba

Using water from the Yellow River (Huang He 黄河) to print images of Buddhas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Radja Gomba Monastery

The monastery of Radja Gomba at the foot of the great conglomerate cliff.

Radja Gomba's Printing establisment.
1926, taken by Joseph Rock.