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HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 01

Date: fire Rat year, 3rd month, 17th day, Monday (1816)
Lines: 15
Script: ’khyug

A covenant among the five Shöyul dealing with various issues: 1. coordination among the five Shöyul in the event of external aggression, and guidelines for conduct in the event of confrontation; 2. proper conduct of community leaders in the event of external aggression; 3. stipulation to observe secrecy with regard to all internal affairs; 4. stipulation to keep the common interest of the five communities a priority in dealings with neighbouring communities.

1. § mi byi hlo (hor zla) 3 pa’i tshes 17 re za zla ba la | yul kha lnga po[’i] [±2S] [cho]d tshig bris don la | rgan pa mi ngo lnga yi skor nas sngon bsrol nar rtar
2. mchod tshig byed pa | stod nas phyi dra | nang nas smad dra | gang rtar ’byung na yuang | yul kha lnga po grong pa yul gang dra thaṃd (thams cad) gcig chong | gnyis chong
3. man pa | khyod stod shos | khyod tshugs shos | khyod bsteng yod shos | khyod [tsang li] shos | khyod gya ga shos bzer ba med | sgal srid zer ba yul nas ’byung na
4. bha dngul 100 | grong pa nas kram na bha dngul 23 yin {yin} | ’dzin mi gyur ba rgan pa | bstod padma ’dzin | btsang le {1S}bzango (bzang po) | gya ga dpaldn (dpal ldan) | tshugs
5. ghu ru bkris (bkra shis) | sted yed ’dzṃlng (’dzam gling) yod pa rgan pa lags skor gyi rtags |
6. § mi pho byi lo hlo (hor zla) 3 pa’i tshe 17 re za zla pha la | yul kha lnga po’i mchod tshigs
byed pa la | spyan btsugs mi ngo lnga’i skor nas chod tshigs
7. ’bris pa la stod nas phyi ’dra | smad nas nang ’dra gang ’dra [’byung?] kyang | rgan pa dun du btsugs rgyab du | mi mang phyi skor nang skor byas nas
8. cig chong gnyis chong man pa | nga bsted pa’i bcan tshug mi shes | nga btsang le bcan btsugs mi shes | nga gya ga bcan tsugs mi shes
9. nga tshugs bcan tshug mi shes | nga bsteng yed bcan tshugs mi shes | bzer ba med pa | rgan pa na ma rim bzhin gyi | bcan tshugs la lag rtaṃ
10. mi mang pho thogs mo thogs | thaṃd (thams cad) rgan pa la | mi mang lags rkor 1S rtags | de rta bu la ka dros ’chaṃ nas | phyi rtam nang du man pa | nang rtam
11. pyhi ru kyol yod daṃ bzer nas sna rgyal hlo (hor zla) 3 pa’i tshe 10 byed rgyu yin | mi mang lags skor gyi rtags |
12. § mi pho byi lo hlo (hor zla) 3 pa’i tshes 17 la | yigi (yi gi) ’bris don la | sngon khrol nang rtar gyis kha gcig ce 2 byed nas | yul ka lnga po’i rgan pa skags du gsu ’dzom kyang |
13. kha 1 | ce 2 byas nas lab sa med rgal | rgan pa can btsugs yul pa thaṃd (thams cad) gsu nas [1]y[1] dugs zer ba {1}’byung na | {1S}’drigs chad dngul 25 | d[e?] yul nas byas pa she^r (shar tshe) | ’grid tshad
14. dngul 100 phul phyogs zhus pa rgan pa mi mang lags skor rtags | yul {1S} rga lnga po gal srid bhes pa sher tshe | can tshugs kyang lo 1
15. rgan pa naṃ rgor nang bzhin | phyi snyom yul thaṃd (thams cad) {1} ma nag sngon sgam chung chung nang bzhin yin | de la kha 1 | ce 2 {1} byed sa med pa rgan bcan

1. me byi; re gza’; ’bri don; srol nang ltar 2. chod tshig; phyi dgra; smad dgra; gang ltar; gang ’dra; gcig mchong; gnyis mchong 3. zer sa med; gal srid 4. ’ba’ dngul; khram? na; ’ba’ dngul 5. lag skor 6. me pho byi lo; re gza’ zla ba; chod tshig byed; chod tshig 7. phyi dgra; nang dgra; bdun du btsug 8. gcig mchong gnyis mchong mana (< ma gtogs); bcan tshug: see notes below 9. zer sa med; rgan pa rnams (?) rim; lag ’tham 10. pho gtogs mo gtogs (?); de lta bu la bka’ gros; phyi gtam nang du mana (< ma gtogs); nang gtam 11. bskyal yod dam zer nas mna’ skyel; pa’i tshes; lag skor 12. yi ge ’bri; sngon srol nang ltar; gcig lce; su ’dzom 13. lce 2 byas; lab sa med {rgal}; su nas; ’dug zer; sgrig chad; bepa shar tshe | sgrig chad 14. lag skor; yul kha lnga 15. nam skor; spyi snyom; mana (< ma gtogs) sngon sgam; kha 1 | lce

Monday, the 17th day of the 3rd month in a Fire Rat year. A covenant among the five communities [of the Shöyul]. Concerning the five headmen (i.e. the fifteen or so headmen of the five communities), this covenant has been produced in accordance with past custom. whatever kind of enemies appear, whether outside enemies from the highlands, or lowland enemies from inside [the country], all the households and communities must act as one (lit., if one jumps two jump), and none may say “you are Te Shö, you are Tshug Shö, you are Taye Shö, you are [Tsele] Shö, you are gyaga Shö” (i.e. we are from a different Shö and your problems are not ours). In the case of an entire village saying this, the fine (bha dngul) shall be 100 rupees. If a household behaves treacherously (?) it shall be fined 23 rupees. Those who are to be responsible for making arrests are the headmen: Pema [Ten?]zin of Te; Zangpo of Tsele; Palden of gyaga; guru Trashi of Tshug; Dzamling of Taye. having passed the document from hand to hand, these headmen place their marks.

Line 6
Monday, the 17th day of the 3rd month in a male Fire Rat year. A covenant among the five Communities. This covenant has been written down concerning the the five supervisors. Whatever kind of enemies may come, whether outside enemies from the highlands, or inside enemies from the lowlands, the headmen shall be placed in front, and behind them the populace should form an inner arc and and outer arc, and acting only as one [the supervisors] may not say “I am unable to act as the supervisor of Te; I am unable to act as the supervisor of Tsele; I am unable to act as the supervisor of Gyaga; I am unable to act as the supervisor of Tshug; I am unable to act as the supervisor of Taye”. The headmen should each in turn sign the document and give it to the supervisor [in order to empower him?]. Each man and woman should hold the document in turn [in order to empower?] the headmen. having having reached an accord they should swear an oath about whether they have borne information about the outside to the inside, or conveyed inside information to the outside. This oath shall be sworn on the tenth day of every third hor month.

Line 12
17th day of the 3rd month in a male Fire Rat year. If a headman (or whoever) goes to Kag for a meeting he shall not speak with two tongues in one mouth; if a headman, overseer or all the villagers say that they have sworn this oath there will be a fine of 25 rupees for individuals and a fine of 100 rupees for communities.
    (The meaning of the remaining two lines is unclear: the sentences are unfinished and appear to have been copied in the wrong order. It seems to signify that if a village breaks away [bhes pa sher tshe] from the community of the five Shöyul then the incumbency of overseer should change at the same time as that of headman.)

The document appears to consist of copies of three separate resolutions: there are no signatures or seals, and the fact that some of the sentences in the third section (and possibly the second) appear to be in the wrong order suggests an inaccurate transcription, possibly due to damage to the original document from which the text was copied.

Line 8, bcan tshug: the term centsug, translated here as “supervisor”, appears in various forms in documents from southern Mustang, but most commonly as spyan btsug:

    The etymology of the term spyan btsug is uncertain; spyan is an honorific term for eye, and btsugs is the past tense of ’dzugs pa, meaning to pierce or to bore. The name is undoubtedly related to similar forms such as spyan pa, which signifies “overseer” or “steward,” and spyan bsal, denoting a personal favourite appointed to office by a ruler. An early quasi-historical work called dBa’ bzhed contains the word spyan dbang, “an obscure title which might indicate somebody in charge of the private affairs of the king” (Wangdu and Diemberger 2000: 30 n. 41). headmen and mediators in Baragaon villages are sometimes called migtsum, Tib. mig btsum, “[Those who have their] eyes closed,” signifying that they are deeply pondering the solution of the problem in hand (Tib. mig: eye; ’dzum pa, pf. btsum: to shut). (Demoness: 364, n. 9).

Lines 9–10, rgan pa na ma rim bzhin gyi | bcan tshugs... “the headmen...the headmen”: the meaning of this passage is highly uncertain.

Line 13, ’drigs chad: (< sgrig chad?): cf. sgrig khrims kyi nyes chad, disciplinary action, disciplinary measures (Goldstein).

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 02

Date: Water Dragon year (1832)
Lines: 23
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: seals of the Shöyul and of the scribe

An agreement among the five Shöyul dealing with several issues: 1. coordination among the five communities in the event of external aggression; 2. confirmation of dates and protocols of general assemblies of the five Shöyul; 3. elegibility for attendance of general assemblies (heads of estates only); 4. trade restrictions on wealthy members of the enclave and outsiders.


1. § na che zla bri ka/na tsakra ma | ’jaṃ mgon gzur phud snga pa yi | phyag g.yas sheb (shes rab) ral dri di | mtshan phyir mun pa dmag {pa} ruṃ
2. snang pas yong bskad lhar rtar bdud | ma bas gsal por shar ba’i a darsha | bzhes pa chu brug lo shod yul kha lnga pa’i mchod tshigs yigi (yi gi) ’dris
3. ’don la | sngon srol pha med rtar gyis yigi (yi gi) snying pa med pa gsar pa ’dri ’don la | sngar ’khyud yang | bstod nas bstod ’dra dang
4. smad ’dra gang rtar ’byung kyang | rgan pa bcan btsugs dun du yul mi mang rgyabs du dad nas | bcig chong gnyis phyong byas nas lab stang
5. bstang rgyu yin | ’di {1}la kha shes ngo shes byas nas ’dod mi ’phyogs pa dang | ’dzom ’dus sngar khyun hlor (hor zla) gsum pa’i tshe 10 la dug | da rta
6. yang hlor (hor zla) hor zla gsum pa’i tshe 10 la ’dzom rgyu dang | ma zad mi nyan pa’i rtam yul lnga po gang ’du byung kyang da rtang ma thags du | rgan
7. spyan tsugs mu re mi ri nyi^n (nyin mtshan) gang la thugs kyang ’dzom rgyu dang | rgal srid da brtang nas | yul ma ’dzoṃ na grigs bcad dngul 8 dang
8. grong pa ma ’dzoṃ na dngul 1 yin | dgong brtar mchod tshigs nang brtar la kha gcigs bce gnyis byed mi phyogs pa dang | phyi rtaṃ nang du
9. ’dus rgyu man pa | nang rtaṃ phyi la kyal yod daṃ zer nas | lo re hlor (hor zla) gsuṃ pa’i ’dzoṃ ’dus la | mi mang sna bkyal byed rgyu dang (seal) bstang
10. yed yul pa spyi snyugs sgo lags bkor gyis rt[ags] (seal) | tshugs yul pa spyi lags bkor gyis brtags (seal, seal) rgya ga yul spyi bkor rtags (seal)
11. btsang le yul pa spyi lags bkor rtags (seal) § bsted yul pa spyi lags bkor gyis [rtags] (seal, seal) | ’dzom dus grong pa’i
12. bdag spo man spa | ’tshab la bu tsha dad nas a kyis bstang rgyu | a ba dad nas bu tsha ’dzom rgyu mi yong pa dang
13. rgal srid tshab ’dzom na | nye chad dngul 2 yin | spyi lags bkor brtags | don tshigs ’di yi cha spang yigi (yi gi) | blaṃ (bla ma) ’jaṃ
14. dbyang dbang ’dus the rt[ags] (seal)
15. § chu ’brug zla 9 pa’i tshe bzang la | mchod tshigs yigi (yi gi) ’bris don la | yod ba dngul gyis bhang ’tshod byas nas | spid ’tshong | ston tshong
16. byed 1S bzer nas | dngul rgyu yod bsu thad nas stang mi phyogs pa yul khag lnga yi bgrong pa spyi skor rtags | sgal srid yul kha lnga nas | sgyu yod pa
17. med pa rnaṃs nas bstang na | grigs chad dgong brtar rna rgyal dang | dngul chad ’drigs nang rtar phul phyog pa | yul ga lnga spyi lags skor rtags
18. ma zad yul kha snga’o sa la | bsteng nyed | tshug | rgya ga | btsang li | bsted bcas | sa bzhi rang thag gi sa bca’
19. la phyi mi {’tshong} ’tshong rgyab du bcug sa med | sgal srid gyab tse | yul pa’i dag po’i rtam zer dgos | sgal
20. srid rtaṃ bshed nas | ’tshong rgyab ngos ma yin zer nas | dos len la thugs na | su yul nas mda’ bstang tshe
21. yul kha lnga po’i rgan mi spyan tsugs thaṃd (thams cad) ’dzoṃ nas | cigs ’chong | gnyis ’chong gyab nas | smra’ pa brtang rgyu
22. mchod pa | dgong brtar yigi (yi gi) nang bzhin gyis | mchod tshigs yigi (yi gi) lags brtags XXXXX ’don cha ’di la
23. mi gyur zer nas | bsas tshogs rnaṃ blaṃ (bla ma) la phul pa yin | rgan mi grigs spyi lags bskor brtags brtags rtags rtags rtags rtags |


2. zhes pa chu sbrul lo; chod tshig yi ge ’bri 3. don la; pha mes ltar gyi yi ge rnying pa; ’dri don la; sngar rgyun; stod nas stod dgra 4. smad dgra gang ltar; mdun du; mi dmangs rgyab tu bsdad; gcig mchong gnyis mchong byas; lab {stang} 5. gtang rgyu; sdod mi chog pa; ’dzom dus sngar rgyun; tshes 10 la ’dug; da lta 6. tshes 10; mi snyan pa’i gtam; gang du; brda’ btang ma thag tu 7. mi re mi re; gang la thug; gal srid brda’ brda’ btang; sgrig chad 8. gong ltar chod tshig nang ltar; kha gcig lce gnyis byed mi chog; phyi gtam 9. sdud rgyu; nang gtam; bskyal yod; ’dzom dus; mi dmangs mna’ skyel byed 10. snyug gu (?) lag skor gyis rtags 12. bdag po mana (< ma gtogs); tshab la; bsdad nas; aki gtang; rgyu; awu bsdad nas 13. gal srid; nyes chad; spyi lag skor rtags; don tshig; cha dpang yi ge; mthe (?) rtags 15. tshes bzang; chod tshig yi ge ’bri; bang mdzod byas; dpyid ’tshong; ston ’tshong 16. zer nas; su thad; gtang mi chog; grong pa; gal srid; rgyu yod 17. btang na; sgrig chad gong ltar mna’ bskyal dang; grig nang ltar ’bul chog; spyi lag 18. lnga bo’i sa; sa cha 19. gal srid rgyab tshe; bdag pos gtam; gal 20. srid gtam bshad; dolen thug na; brda’ gtang tshe 21. gcig mchong | gnyis mchong brgyab nas; mrawa (< smra ba) gtang rgyu 22. chod; gong ltar yi ge; chod tshig yi ge lag rtags; don rtsa ’di; zer nas | sāhi; rgan mi drag sgrig spyi lag rtags


[Citation from an invocation to Mañjuśrī.] The purpose of this document of agreement among the five Shöyul, written in the Water Dragon year: this new document has been written because there were no old ones like those of our ancestors. As in the past, whatever enemies might come, whether upland enemies from above, or lowland enemies [from below], the headmen and supervisor shall be in front and the ordinary villagers behind. we shall speak forcefully (lit. jump once, jump twice), and even if there is someone we recognise we should not sit (i.e. demur).
    It has been customary for us in the past to hold meetings on the 10th day of the 3rd hor Month, and it shall continue to be so.    

    If unpleasant news reaches any of the five communities, as soon as word has been sent, the headmen and supervisors as well as all individuals shall assemble, whether it is day or night.

    If a summons is issued and an entire village fails to attend the assembly, it shall pay a fine of 8 rupees, and if a household fails to come, it shall pay a fine of 1 rupee. No one should have two tongues in one mouth in relation to the matter presented above in this agreement. At the annual meeting in the third month, the people shall swear an oath about whether they have gathered information from the outside and brought it to the interior, and conveyed no information from the inside to the outside.

    The document is affirmed with seals (one each from Taye, gyaga and Tsele, and two from each of Tshug and Te) after being handed around to all the assembled villagers.

Line 11
When meetings are held, only heads of estates may be present [to represent their estate]. [If the head of the household is] the son, he may not remain at home and send his father as a substitute; and [if the head of the estate is] the father, his son should not be the one to attend the meeting. If a substitute does go to a meeting, there will be a fine of 2 rupees. The document is confirmed by being passed around to each member of the gathering, who sets his mark. The witness to this agreement is Lama Jamyang wangdu (seal).

Line 15
Water Dragon year, 9th month, an auspicious day: a document of agreement. The “haves” (yod pa) have amassed a treasury of money, and say that they will engage in spring and autumn trade. But whoever is rich may not trade just as he wishes, [a resolution that is] confirmed by the document being passed around the members of the assembly. If anyone in the five communities, whether rich or poor, does send [someone to engage in trade], an oath shall be sworn according to the rules as specified above, and a fine shall be paid according to the rules. This is confirmed by the document being circulated among the assembled representatives of the five communities. Outsiders may not come to trade on the territory of the five communities, Taye, Tshug, Gyaga, Tsele, and Te. If a trader from the outside does [attempt to] do business, the inhabitants (lit. owners) of the territory concerned should have words with him. If, once he has been spoken to, he insists on doing business, and it comes to a fight, someone should issue a summons and all the headmen and supervisors of the five communities should come and gather, and after arguing vociferously, they should engage in conciliatory talk. This document of agreement, which deals with such matters as those mentioned above, is confirmed by being passed from hand to hand. having stated that [this agreement] is not to be altered, it is confirmed, and offered to the lama of Tshognam. It is ratified (lit. marked) by being passed around the assembly of headmen and senior figures.

Line 12, a kyis bstang rgyu | a ba dad nas...: some communities in South Mustang use the terms awu and aki as distinct kinship terms for father and father’s brother respectively, whereas in others they are used indiscriminately for both (fraternal polyandry having, until recently, been the commonest form of marriage). In the present case it is clear that they are synonymous.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 04

Date: none, ca. 1860

Lines: 12

Script: ’khyug

An agreement between the two priestly brothers Rigden (the elder) and Rangdrol (the younger) over the inheritance of the estate that they share. Rigden, who is childless and unmarried, agrees that Rangdrol’s son will be his heir. Rangdrol agrees that he will not attempt to divide the estate before the death of his elder brother.



1. śri śri śri ’rgyal zhabs rinoe’i (rin po che’i) Zzhabs drung du |
2. mi byed gong ma khrim bdag rinoe’i (rin po che’i) Zzhabs drung du |
3. bzhus ba | bdag min rtags khung gsham gsal gus khran tsho[gs]
4. rnams blaṃ (bla ma) rig ’dzin nas kha’ cig ce gnyis gran rtam gsar skyed med byed pa’i ’dum ’gra snying nas gril sdes bzhu ba la |
5. dcha (da cha) tshogs rnam blab srang zer ba ’di bzhin blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan nam shis bar du blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan rang nas byed dgu ma thogs | rang
6. grol nas a co nam shis bar la skad dang rtses ba spu rtsam kyang byed rme phyogs ba dang | blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan shis tshe
7. rang grol kyis bu la blab srang smin rgyu ma thog | zhan zur su la ster gun zer ba shar tshes sdes thogs du
8. – – – – – – bha dngul 500 dang gos spon khri thogs pa’i bha dngul 200 zhu gron tsha med du ’phul phyogs bzhus ba bdag rig
9. ldan kyis rtags X | a co ma grong gong du blab srang khrog pa sogs dang blab srang phen kha gos zer ba
10. shar tshes {1S} rang grol nas kyang – – – – – bha dngul 500 gos spon khri thogs pa’i bha dngul 200 ’phul phyogs bzhu
11. ba rang grol kyis rtags X | bdon bya ’di cha dbang zhal ngo brtan ’dzin dbang rgyal | zla ṇi zla ba tshes
12. ring | yig bris ba sku Zzhabs bkris (bkra shis) bcas yod pa’i yig bris |


2. mi rje; khrims bdag 3. zhus pa; bdag ming; khungs sham; gus phran 4. kha gcig lce gnyis dran gtam; ’dum khra snying nas bsgril te zhu 5. rnams bla brang zer; nam shi; byed gu ma thog 6. nam shi; gtser pa spu tsam; byed mi chog; shi tshe 7. bla brang smin; ster gu na (?) zer; tshe de thog tu 8. ’ba’ dngul; dgos dpon khri thog pa’i ’ba’ dngul; zhu sgron; ’bul chog zhu 11. don rtsa ’di cha dpang; daṇi zla ba tshe 12. yig ’bri


To the feet of the precious thrice-glorious rgyal zhabs and to the feet of the precious master of the law, the lord over men. I, Lama Rigdzin (sic!), whose name and orgin are clearly presented below, without two tongues in one mouth, without newly raising issues that might have come to mind, make the following legal statement that condenses the essence of the matter.
    From now until his death, Lama Rigden shall himself be the master of the priestly estate of Tshognam. Until the death of his elder brother [Rigden], Rangdrol shall not utter anything, so much as a small hair, by way of complaint or argument. After Lama Rigden’s death, the priest- ly estate shall be given to no one but the son of lama Rangdrol. If [Rigden] says that he will give it to someone else, he shall pay a fine of 500 rupees [to Rangdrol or his son] and a fine of 200 rupees to the Trithogpa, who is the judge (gos spon) without begging to be excused (zhu sgron).
    Rigden signs with a cross. If, before his elder brother’s death, Rangdrol speaks of seizing the household or of dividing it in two, he shall pay a fine of 500 rupees and a fine of 200 rupees to the Trithogpa, the judge (cross). witnessed by the noble (zhal ngo) Tenzin wangyal and Dawa Tshering of the revenue office (daṇi). The document was written by Kushog Trashi.

Line 4, blaṃ (bla ma) rig ’dzin, “Lama Rigdzin” (recte Rigden): presumably a simple error on the scribe’s part.
Line 7, blab srang smin rgyu... “the priestly estate shall be given...”: for smin as a synonym of sbyin, cf. Jaeschke. The present translation is highly tentative, since Jaeschke records this meaning only from the Balti dialect.
Line 10, khri thogs pa (< khri thog pa), Trithogpa: the title of the Dukes of Baragaon.
Line 10, gos spon, “judge”: the translation is tentative; gos spon has been taken here as < dgos dpon. In the Seke-speaking community of Te, the term (< Tib. dgos?) is said to be synonymous with khrims. The twelve-yearly revision of the legal code in Te is referred to as gö sogwa, lit. “the turning upside-down of the laws” (sogwa < Tib. slog pa?); see Demoness: 280ff.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 05

Date: Iron Sheep year, 8th month, 20th day, Tuesday (1871)

Lines: 10

Script: ’khyug

Two Tepas have forcibly appropriated the sum of money that Lama Tshewang Bumpa was due to collect as the beneficiary of a rotating fund. To justify this appropriation they have produced documents proving that Lama Tshewang Bumpa has inherited unpaid debts from the time of his grandparents. The prospect of a legal battle has been averted, and thanks to successful media- tion the lama agrees to the Tepas keeping the proportion of the rotating fund that corresponds to the amount of money he owes them.


1. § lcag mo lug lo’i zla 8 tshes 20 re za 3 kar rma bher rtsis shar pa’i nyin | rted pa ’du
2. tshe dbang dang tshe dbang rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis nas tshog gnaṃ bla ’brang du | me me tshe dbang ang rgyal
3. dang i bhi yees (ye shes) ang gnyis dang | ma zad a khu blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan la sngon cha med pa’i bu lon yod
4. zer nas blaṃ (bla ma) tshe dbang ’buṃ pa’i ’bru skor gyi dngul 90 rted ’du li tshe dbang dang tshe dbang rgyo^ṃ (rgya mtsho)
5. gnyis nas zung bar rten nas | khrim rar slebs rgyu byas kyang | thar blaṃ (bla ma) mthuob (mthu thob) dang rted pa
6. phur ba gnyis kyi bar sduṃ byas nas | tshogs gnaṃ bla ’brang la rted ’du li tshe dbang tshe dbang
7. rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis kyi bu lon spyi phogs ltas nas dngul 80 byang nas ’dam cigs kyang ma las pa’i
8. phar ka rti krad pa yin | ’du li tsha zo 14 dang pad ma rii^n (rig ’dzin) lags nas byang nas thugs rtags chod
9. nas {1} gnaṃ la sprin med sa la bud med kyi phar kad rti krad pa ’du li tshe dbang | tshe dbang 10. rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis kyi rtags X X | don bya de’i phya spang bar mi 2 dang | pad ma
rig ’dzin yod pa’i rtags |


1. lcags mo; re gza’; skar ma be rdzi 2. bla brang 5. bzhung bar; khrims rar 7. bu lon ci phog bltas; sbyangs nas ṭam gcig kyang 8. pharkati sprad pa; tshwa zo; lag nas sbyangs; thugs thag chod 9. pharkati sprad pa 10. cha dpang bar


Tuesday, the 20th day in the 8th month of an Iron Sheep year, the day of be rdzi rising. An acknowledgement by two Tepas, Duli Tshewang and Tshewang gyatso, of the settlement of debts owed to them by Lama Tshewang Bumpa of Tshognam. The latter was unaware that his grandparents, Tshewang Angyal and yeshe Angmo, as well as his paternal uncle Lama Rigden, were indebted to the two Tepas. The latter have attempted to retrieve the debt by force, by appropriating the sum of 90 rupees that the lama should have collected as the beneficiary of a rotating fund (’bru ’khor). The matter was about to go to court, but Lama Thutob and the Tepa Phurpa intervened as intermediaries. At the priestly estate of Tshognam, the two creditors were able to determine (presumably by being shown the loan receipt) exactly how much money they were owed. The lama paid 80 rupees, and the Tepas issue this receipt (phar ka sti < Nep. pharkati) to the effect that not even one small coin was outstanding.
    A certain Pema Rigdzin also paid Duli [Tshewang?] 14 zo ba of salt that he owed him and the matter has been closed for good. Duli Tshewang and Tshewang gyatso set their marks to confirm that a receipt for which there are no clouds in the sky, and no dust on the ground, has been issued. The witness and the mediator, as well as Pema Rigdzin, set their marks.

Rotating funds (line 6, ’bru skor < ’bru ’khor) are even now a common practice in Mustang as a method of generating capital. In a typical case, someone with urgent need of money will initiate a fund by inviting people, usually from a number of different villages, to join the fund. (In modern times they include people who may be resident in different continents, and have to be represented by proxies at gatherings of the fund.) The initial sum to be contributed by each member is agreed at the outset, and this sum increases at each meeting of the fund, generally at six-monthly intervals. The person who collects the fund (sdud mi) on each subsequent occasion is determined by rolling dice, but in certain cases members who are in need of cash may be allowed to bid for the right. As in the case of this document, different funds are generally identified by the name of the initiator (slang mi). The term for rotating fund, ’bru ’khor, suggests that they may originally have involved grain (’bru) rather than cash, though funds involving livestock are also reported to have operated in certain communities in the past. (for a general study of rotating funds in Nepal see Messerschmidt 1978, and for the case of south- ern Mustang in particular see Lamas: 228–37.)

Line 1, bher rtsis shar pa’i nyin, “the day of be rdzi rising”: bher rtsis (< be rdzi) is an alternative name for snar ma, the third of the lunar mansions (Sk. kṛttikā).

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 07

Date: wood Pig year, 11th month, 2nd day, Monday (1875)

Lines: 14

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

The will of a nun who is the owner of two estates. The heirs to the estates themselves are not specified, and it is therefore probable that they will be simply inherited by her closest relatives. The will deals mainly with moveable property—culinary items, clothing and jewelry— and the sale of a field. The nun’s debtors and creditors are also specified, along with the amounts of money and other goods owed.
1. phyag stong ’khoor (’khor lo) gyur pa’i rgyal po dang | spyan stong bskal pa bzang po’i srgyas (sangs rgyas) dang | gang la gang ’dul ’[de] la ster bton pa’i [1S]
2. spa spyan ras gzig la phyol (phyag ’tshal lo) | shing mo ’phag lo’i hlo (hor zla) 11 pa’i tshe 2 re za zla ba la | a ṇi jo mo spre tsho mo’i shi na kha chem |
3. ma shi bku rim yong bsaṃ nas | kha chem zhag pa la | tsa ba grong pa 2 po la | dza chung 4 yod pa la gnyis gnyis dgos
4. chos grol ma la | cang lang yod pa yod pa de yin | tsha mo zla ba bu grig la ter rgyu [1S] | mgon pa gang du [±3S]
5. dang mar me ’phul na | zi kor ’di dang mu man 2 dang zan mor (mar po) ter pa yin | tsha mo {2S} shes bzang mo | byu ru 2 dang g.yu 1 dang shel nag de yin |
6. dgu klag la cag zang {1S} 1 dang kli ’u kang rnaṃs 1 yin | span spa sridr (srid thar) la | byu ru ga ba dang | g.yu ga ba 1 | dpal bzang tsho mo [1S]
7. byu ru bar ma 2 yin | tshe ring bzong (bzang po/ bzang mo) la g.yu 1 dang | byu ru 1 yin | tshe ri dbang mo nas bre lnga pad ma grol mi ter rgyu yin |
8. ting padma grol ma la yin | § las tho gye pa la jo rgyu ni | g.yu drug | byu ru che ma che chung sdoṃs pas 28 yin pa ’di rin
9. gang ’byor byas gas pa la jo rgyu yin | ma zad bca lags gag ga gog gas thaṃd (thams cad) gyas pa jo rgyu yin |
10. yang bzhing tshogs rnaṃs ’di yi spus blaṃ (bla ma) man pa bzhan la med | zhing rin ’di yi ge pa dang gang byung blaṃ (bla ma) dang span
11. spa sridr (srid thar) mag pa zla 3 gyi byed § bla ma la phul pa ni | shes sprul sku la | rnaṃs bu 1 phul | tshogs rnaṃs blaṃ (bla ma) la gaṃ 1 tal 1 |
12. ’zang chung 1 | dong mo 1 ’di rnaṃs bla ma la ’phul pa yin § tshur du rgyu ni | span pa sridr (srid thar) | la tsha zo ba [1]9 yang su rnams grol

13. ma la tsha zo 18 yong | ang mo la ṭam dang | bras zo ba 6 yong § sbyang rgyu ni | sha rin span pa sridr (srid thar) la ṭam phyed 4 ter dgos yod |
14. zhing ngar la zo do pa ’di | grong pa 2 la yin | da lo’i zhing thogs de gyes pa la jo rgyu yin bkra shis | bkris (bkra shis) |

1. sgyur ba’i rgyal 2. kha chems 3. sku rim; kha chems; rdza chung; lcags slang; yod pa {yod pa} 5. gzi ’khor; mu men; gzan dmar po bster 6. lcags zangs; sle’u rkang snam; g.yu dga’ 7. sgrol mas ster rgyu; li tho (?) dge ba la byo 9. dge ba la byo rgyu; bca’ lag gaga goge; dge ba byo 10. gzhan la 11. snam bu; sgam 1; tāl 1 12. zangs chung; tshwa zo 13. tshwa; ster dgos 14. zhing thog de dge ba la byo

Homage to Avalokiteśvara. The nun Tre (i.e. Trashi) Tshomo, declares that if she dies, this shall be her will, and if does not, let it serve as a beneficial religious ceremony. She is the holder of two estates that will be inherited separately. There are four earthenware jars, and each estate should have two. The iron roasting-pan that is currently being used by Chö Drölma should go to her granddaughter Dawa Butrig. If, after her death, butterlamps are to be lit at the nearby monastery called gönpa gang (on the west bank of the Kali gandaki, opposite the settlement of Tshug), then these items should be given as a fee: a string of gzi stones; two lapis lazuli, and a red shawl. her granddaughter She Zangmo should receive two corals, one turquoise and a dark crystal. gulag should receive an iron kettle and a pair of woollen draw- ers. Penpa hridar should receive a good-quality turquoise; Palzang Tshomo should receive two medium-quality corals; Tshering Zangmo should receive a turquoise and a coral; Pema Drölma should give Tshering Angmo the five large measures of barley (that she owes the author of the will?). Pema Drolma should have the metal bowl(s). [This] list of activities (? las tho) should be made known (jo < byo) at the merit-making ceremony (gyas pa < dge ba). Six turquoises and the corals of varying sizes—28 in all—should be sold, and whatever price can be got for them should be contributed (jo < byo) for the merit-making ceremony (gas pa < dge ba). All other miscellaneous items should go towards the merit-making ceremony. The field called Tshognam should be sold to no one but the lama. (The next sentence is not clear, but seems to say that the income from the sale of the field should be divided three ways between a scribe, a lama and the author’s son-in-law Hrithar, perhaps as a recompense for their contribution to the merit-making ceremony.) Gifts to lamas: the reincarnate lama of She monastery [in Dolpo] should be given a roll of woollen cloth; the lama(s) of Tshognam shall receive one box, one plate, one small copper vessel and a butter churn. The following items are owed by debtors: Penpa hrithar owes 9 (or 19?) zo ba of salt, and Sonam Drölma owes 18 zo ba of salt. Angmo owes 1 ṭam and 6 zo ba of rice. As for debts to creditors: Penpa hrithar should receive 3.5 ṭam as he cost meat. The field named Ngarla (?), which has a seed capacity of 2 zo ba, should be shared by the two estates. The yield of that field for this year should go towards the costs of the merit-making ceremony. Blessings.

The references to children and grandchildren suggest that the nun was a widowed laywoman who became a renunciate late in life.

Lines 8–9, las thos gye rgyu yin, “[This] list of activities...merit-making ceremony”. The translation of this passage is tentative. The meaning of las tho is uncertain, and it is unlikely that the verb jo (< byo?) should be used with two rather different meanings in these few lines.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 08

Date: The text of the document is in two parts, both parts being copies of earlier documents

Part 1: fire Rat year, 6th month, 13th day, Thursday (1876)

Part 2: fire Tiger year, 8th month, 18th day, Saturday (1866)

Lines: 19

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs



The first part records the settlement of a dispute over the ownership of a field by two priest- ly cousins, Lama Ösal Dorje and Lama Tshewang Bumpa. The details are not specified, but it appears that the latter, the heir of the main estate, contested either the usufruct or the owner- ship of a field claimed by his cousin. The agreement states that Ösal Dorje may use the field until his death, after which it will revert to the main estate. The second part reproduces an ear- lier document in which the head of the estate before Lama Tsewang Bumpa, his paternal uncle Lama Rigden, has died, and Tsewang Bumpa’s father, the new head, allows Ösal Dorje’s mother, Phurpa Angmo, to continue to use the house and land allocated to her for her lifetime by his deceased brother.


1. § tshe dbang rgyal zhing dang khang pa’i sna skal yin |

Part 1
1. [obscured]
2. b[stab] shi[l ]
3. § me byi zla 6 pa’i tshe 13 res gza 5 nyin | tshogs rnams bla ma tshe dbang ’buṃ pa dang kho pa ’od gsal rdoe (rdo rje) gnyi kha
4. chaṃ yige (yi ge) bri don [la] | don blaṃ (bla ma) rig sten nas tshaṃ [pa] ’od gsal rdoe (rdo rje) la tshog rnams zhing cig krad dug pa
5. ’di phyir khaṃ chu ’byung nas tshaṃ pa ’od gsal rdoe (rdo rje) nas śrī brgyal Zzhab su bhin ti bzhus te phyag daṃ de khar thag a
6. smal du gtog skab sleb bar tan | gnyi phyog brig cham byas te ha dgos bzhing bzhing ’di tsham pa ’od sal rdoe (rdo rje) nam
7. chi bar rtsa len byed rgyu dang | tsham pa ’od sal rdoe (rdo rje) grong na bzhing ’di bla ma tshe dbang ’buṃ pa la logs brgyu mchod pa
8. yin | dgong don la mi brgyur ba blaṃ (bla ma) tshe dbang ’buṃ pa’i rtags | tsham pa ’od sal rdo rje lag brtags | phya spang bri khra

9. a rta dbraṃ | ted spen pa | blaṃ (bla ma) thu thog | yige (yi ge) bri mi bla ma nyli (nyi zla) brgyal po bcas yod |

Part 2
1. me pho stag lo zla 8 ba'i tshes 18 re za 6 la | tshogs rnaṃs blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan sku ’des bar gshegs pas sku tshogs ’jug
2. lus ’dusu (’dus su) | tshug rgan sridr (srid thar) dpaldn (dpal ldan) | rgan tshe ring sridr (srid thar) | gted ka cu sran ’beb | tang ma gu ru bcas
3. nas | phur pa ang mo’i Zzhu laṃ la | chang ka ras dang | dar kha khur nas | blaṃ (bla ma) rang ’grol dang | bu tshed^ng (tshe dbang) buṃ pa gnyis
4. la | phur pa ang mo dad pas khang pa med par ’u dug brten | mo rang naṃ shi bar thub khang pa g.yar rnang yod
6. pa sku mkhyen Zzhus sol bas | blaṃ (bla ma) yab sras gnyis nas mi yong gsung kyang | Zzhu laṃ byas mi rnaṃs nas dbu
7. tsug phyag ’phul ’zhus nas | phan tshun chod rgya zhag don la | phur pa dbang mo naṃ shi bar du yang blaṃ (bla ma) yab
8. sras phyog nas khang pa na ma dad zer nas phyir ston dbang med | phur ba dbang mo sa nas yang | rgyu nor sar snying cheung (che chung)
9. gang yod | gzhan la gyur dgos byung kyang | tshogs rnaṃs bla brang blaṃ (bla ma) yab sras la ma rtog tshong mi phyogs zhing zhal
10. gros ma ’phul pas | khab dkud tsaṃs la rang dbang chod nas mi tshong zhing | gal srid gaṃ rgya khyed sad kyi
11. nyo tshong byas tshes rgyu gang nyos phyir {1} logs rnom zhus pa | ngos phur ba dbang mo’i rang mthad the rtags | gong
12. tshig sor gnas phur ba dbang mo naṃ shi khang par dad phyogs gsung ba blaṃ (bla ma) yabs sras 2 kyi phyag rtags | don phya ’de
13. yi phya dpang | dgong gi Zzhu laṃ byed pa’i sgan ming rnaṃs yod | yig bris kyu mkhar blaṃ (bla ma) mthu thob
14. bcas yod |

khang pa’i nakal

Recto, part 1

1. tapsil 4. ’cham yi ge; sprad ’dug pa 5. byung nas mtshams pa; rgyal zhabs su binti zhus 5–6. amāl du rtog skabs slebs par rten; gnyis phyogs ’grig ’cham; ha go shing zhing; mtshams pa 7. ’chi bar; zhing ’di; log rgyu chod 8. gong don la mi ’gyur; cha dpang ṭhiṭa (?)

Recto, part 2
1. re gza’; sku ’das par 2. dus su; gted bka’ bcu 4. ’u rdugs rten; bar thug; g.yar gnang 6. gsol bas; nas u 7. tshugs phyag ’phul zhus; ’jog don 8. phyogs nas; ma sdod; nor gsar rnying 9. ’gyur; ma gtog ’tshong mi chog 10. ma phul;

khab skud tsam; mi btsong; khyad gsad kyis 11. tshong byed tshe; log snom; rang ’thad 12. sdod chog gsung; yab sras; don rtsa de 13. cha dpang; gong gi

A copy of the document concerning Tshewang Angyal’s field and his house.

Recto, part 1
Fire Rat [year], sixth month, 13th day, friday. The subject of this document of agreement between Lama Tshewang Bumpa of Tshognam and the Anchorite Ösal Dorje. Lama Rigden gave the Anchorite Ösal Dorje a field in Tshognam. A dispute arose over this, and the Anchorite Ösal Dorje presented a petition (bhin ti < Nep. binti) to his Majesty’s government, and they went to the court in Thak when the matter came up for investigation. The two par- ties reached a settlement: it was agreed that Anchorite Ösal Dorje could use the field until his death, but that if Ösal Dorje should die, the field would revert to Tshewang Bumpa. Lama Tshewang Bumpa and Anchorite Ösal Dorje set their mark in confirmation that they will abide by the above. The witnesses are the young man (bri khra < Nep. ṭhiṭa?) Ada Ram, Penpa of Te and Lama Thuthog, and the scribe is Nyilda gyalpo.

Recto, part 2
Friday, the 18th day of the 8th month in a fire Tiger year. Lama Rigden of Tshognam has died. The following still remains to be done immediately after his merit-making ceremony. Tshering hrithar of Tshug and the elder Tshering hrithar and the Ka cu (name not clear) of Te, and guru of Tangma (in Tshug) came bringing a flask of chang and a ceremonial scarf (dar kha) for the petition (zhu lam) of Phurba Angmo. Phurba Angmo was distressed (’u dug rten) at having no house in which to live, and begged Lama Rangdrol and his son Tshewang Bumpa to lend her a house in which to live until her death. But the lama and his son refused, and the petitioners (zhu lam byas mi) begged them respectfully (to change their minds).
    This is document of agreement (chod rgya) between the two parties (phan tshun). Until Phurba Angmo’s death, the lama and his son may not turn her out of the house, forbidding her to live in it. If Phurba Angmo, for her part, sells any property, old or new, large or small, that she may have, she may sell it only to the father and son of the Tshognam priestly estate, and without first discussing the matter with them may not sell so much as a needle and thread. If, in violation of this document, she should sell something, whoever has purchased the items sold must return them. Phurba Angmo freely agrees to this. witnessed by the above-named petitioners. The scribe who wrote the document is Thuthob Lama of Kyukar (in Purang).

This agreement, which was signed by the protagonists and witnessed by the petitioners, was given a more substantial legal footing in a Nepali deed of pledge (kabulpatra) (see Karmacharya; Nep. 3.65, 1876).

Line 1, sku tshogs: an honorific term to denote the merit-making ceremony otherwise known as dge rtsa (“root of virtue”) or simply dge ba (“virtue”).


HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 09

Date: fire Pig year, 1st month, 13th day (1887)

Script: ’khyug ma tshug and ’khyug

Remarks: document is in the form of a small booklet


Concerning the fund for the financing of the annual ceremony of Narag in Tshognam. A woman of Te died, and a number of people contribute one ṭam each as capital for the fund. The document also specifies other duties they take on as patrons, such as providing rice to feed the assembly (two people each year, by turn). There follows a list of debtors who repay the interest they owe in the form of grain for the ceremony. In spite of the document’s claim that the ceremony will remain forever as a feature of Tshognam’s ritual calendar, it was in fact abandoned before living memory (presumably when the priestly lineage that established it came to an end).

p. 1
1. § {1} me phag zla ba dang po’i tshe bcu gsuṃ nyin | na rag gi
2. chod tshig gyur brtan gyis tho bskod pa la | thogs mar sted mi yul
3. tshe ’das bo mo bsaṃ drug gi na rag {gyu} brtsug rog byed zer nas
4. bkal ba nam stong bar du | tshogs rnaṃs blab ’drang du na rag tsug pa’i
5. gyur brtan dngul drug bzhag yod | de yi khar | tshogs rnams tshe dbang rgyal

p. 3
1. § nas byor chag ṭam 1 | tshogs rnaṃs sdo yon nas ṭam 1 | tshal thang mgon’i (mgon pa’i) |
2. grub chen tshe ring rdoe (rdo rje) nas ṭam 1 | brag dkar dpal bzang phuno^gs (phun tshogs) nas ṭam 1 |
3. sted ka mi gser kyis nas ṭaṃ 1 * yod | byin dag mi ngo {1S} 7 nas kyang
4. zla ba dang po’i tshe bcu gsuṃ nyin | byin dag gsu la phog kyang chag
5. chug med pa tsug rgyu chod pa yin | rgal srid byin dag su babs nas
6. * tshes skyab gu ru bkris (bkra shis) nas ṭam 1 | tshogs rnaṃs dkar ma rab tan nas ṭaṃ 1 |

p. 5
1. § ang yod byed na chad pa ṭaṃ 1 yod | bsang ma byin dag re re nas bras zo
2. ba re re du rgyu dang | mchod sman kyang du rgyu dang | dngul bhed dang byin dag rnaṃs
3. nas zo ba {re ra} sdo sdo dus ba bdi cang bod khal * tsos rgyu dang | lhag ma zo ba 11

4. {’di dngul 1 phi phus gyur rtan yin zhan byin dag su bzhugs kyang}

5. {rtsi phrod byed rgyu chod pa byin dag mi ngo spyi lags rtags}
6. {mar la nas zo gzhi tsa rgyu chod pa dang}

7. {1S} bzhi * dang zo ba sdo

p. 6
1. las pa las | mar rin zo ba 4 dang | phi phud zo ba {7} dun byed rgyu chod pa yin |

p. 7
1. byin dag su la bab kyang dngul bhed dang du yar ston kha du rgyu chod pa 2. yin | nas kam po man spa len mi phyogs | sgal srid byin dag nas slon
3. pa len nas | ma tshang na | byin dag gi dgun khur byed rgyu ’o | sbyin
4. brdags gnyis kyis lags ltags |

p. 9

1.§ jaṃ pa’i dbyangs gy[i] shes rab dang | spyan ras gzig gyis snying rjes
2. dang | phyags na rdoe (rdo rje) thu rtobs kyis | de ba spyan du skyes pa’i phyed du | sa glang

3.zla ba dang pa’i tshe 13 la | mi yul tshe las ’das pa bsaṃ drug stod slab rang sang

4.sngags chos gling ’du | na rag byed zer nas dngul {4S}
5.{4S} tshe ’das mteog (me tog ?) {2S} nas dngul 8 | gnyis phyogs nas
6.dngul phye dang 17 blab ’drang du chogs ga byed zer nas | dngul lags thogs bhed du lag | drag dgar dpal bzang phuo^gs (phun tshogs) la dngul 5 la bhed nas zo ba phyedng (phyed dang) doo (do do)
8.tshaṃ spa span ba la dngul phyedng (phyed dang) [±2S] nas zo phyedng (phyed dang) do do yin


1.§ yin | tshogs rnaṃs blaṃ (bla ma) la dngul 1 {1S} la bhad ne zo ba 1 {2S} phyedng (phyed dang) do yin | gaga yon la dngul 3 la | bhed nas zo ba phyedng (phyed dang) doo (do do) yin pa’i khar | mchod pa tho’i mi ’drang | tshogs rnaṃs oyan (o rgyan) rang ’grol nas | dus yar nas zo ba 3 ter gyu dang
4.gaga ’do yon nas nas zo ba 3| {tshogs} kar ma rab brtan nas| nas zo ba 3| tshe

5.skyabs gu ru bkris (bkra shis) nas| nas zo ba 3 | sted ka ma’i ser kyis nas| nas zo ba 3

6. sted tshe ring bkris (bkra shis) nas | nas zo ba 3 dang de rnaṃs dngul bhed dang dus yar rnaṃs
7. gya ga blaṃ (bla ma) mi sras dbang brgyal nas | nas zo 3 dang | sted dka’ mi

p. 12
1. tshi ring nas nas zo 3 bkris (bkra shis) | bti^n (btan ’dzin) brgyal mtshan nas 2. nas zo ba 3 | bkun’ (bkun dga’) dpal tsang nas nas zo ba 3 |

p. 13
1. § sbyin bdag su la bhab kyang dus nas | zla ba dang po’i tshe 13 la | mchod 2. pa ston rgyu mchod pa | chod pa spyi lags ’kor kyi rtags | chos sman gyud 3. la sbyin bdag mi ngo drug nas nas zo ba re re | bdus rgyu mchod pa yin |
4. g.yong sdoṃ gi chos sman sgyur bstan zo ba 9 yin | sbyin bdag su la
5. 1S snab kyang nas zo ba dgu gi tsha gyabs nas mar gu nyos nas | chos
6. sman ’phul sgyu yin | sbyin bdag gi nas sa dgong dang tsha yis sa la byed

p. 14 (photo missing)
sgyu mchod pa yin | sbyin bdag kyi lags skor gyis ’dzugs (?)

(p. 1) The 13th day of the first month in a fire Pig year. A document of agreement concerning the na rag, a list of the material requisites. first, there was a request to perform a Narak for the woman Samdruk of Te, who had passed away, and a sum of six rupees was deposited at the priestly estate in Tshognam as the principal with which to perform the ceremony regularly until the world ages end. Tshewang Angyal of Tshognam has made an endowment of 1 ṭam. (p. 3) Döyön of Tshognam: 1 ṭam; the meditator Tshering Dorje of Tshalthang Monastery: 1 ṭam; Palzang Phuntshog of Drakar (in Tshug): 1 ṭam; Kemi Serki of Te: 1 ṭam; guru Trashi of Tsekyab (in Tshug): 1 ṭam. And furthermore, from these seven patrons, on the 13th day of the first month, whichever patron’s turn it is should provide [the requisites] in full; if the patron responsible (p. 5) should behave high-handedly [and fail to fulfil his obligations] he shall be fined 1 ṭam. 1 zo ba of rice from each of the patrons shall be collected for the food. [The requisites] for the butterlamps should also be assembled. Of these [resources, comprising] the interest from the endowment and the two zo ba [of grain] from each of the patrons, 4 bod khal and 2 zo ba [of grain] should be boiled [for beer]. from the remaining 11 zo ba (p. 6), 4 zo ba should go for butter and 7 zo ba for the first-offering of flour. (p. 7) It has been decided that whichever patron is responsible should collect the interest and requisites in the autumn. Only dry barley should be taken. If the patron takes undried barley, and if it is insufficient, the patron shall make up the shortfall. Both patrons place the prints of their hands. (p. 9) In order that the late Samdruk should be born in the Realm of Bliss through the wisdom of Mañjuśrī, the compassion of Avalokiteśvara and the power of Vajrapāṇi, the upper priestly estate of Sang-ngag Chöling was asked to perform a na rag. And for this purpose, 8 rupees were given [on behalf of?] the late Metog [—]. from both parties there was a total of 16.5 rupees, and the priestly estate was asked to perform a ritual on the basis of this endowment. As the interest on cash (lags thogs), Palzang Phuntshog of Drakar shall give 1.5 zo ba of barley as the interest on his [endowment of] 5 rupees; Anchorite Penba shall 1.5 zo ba as the interest on his [endowment of] [—] and a half rupees. (p. 11) from the Tshognam lama: 1.5 zo ba of barley as the interest on 1 rupee; the Noble Doyön: 1.5 zo ba of barley as the interest on [his endowment of] 3 rupees. And in addition to these, those who were on the list of [sponsors of] the ceremo- ny: Ogyen Rangdrol of Tshognam shall give 3 zo ba of barley during the collection (dus yar); the Noble Doyön shall give 3 zo ba of barley; Karma Rabten: 3 zo ba of barley; guru Trashi of Tsekyab (in Tshug): 3 zo ba of barley; Karma Serki of Te: 3 zo ba of barley; Tshering Trashi of Te: 3 zo ba of barley; dngul bhed dang dus yar rnams; the lama of gyaga, Mihre Angyal: 3 zo ba of barley; Kemi Tshering of Te (p. 12): 3 zo ba of barley; Tenzin gyaltsen: 3 zo ba of barley; Kunga Palzang: 3 zo ba of barley. (p. 13) whichever patron is responsible shall collect this, and on the 13th day of the first month the ceremony shall be performed. for the ceremony, this is confirmed by [the document] being passed around the group. for the votive lamps, 1 zo ba of barley shall be collected from each of the patrons. The total quantity as the material base for the votive lamps is 9 zo ba. whichever patron is responsible shall allocate 9 zo ba of salt for the purchase of oil, and shall offer the votive lamps. The patrons should seek advice (sa la < Nep. sallā?) about the prices of the grain and the salt (?). (p. 14) The patrons confirm this document by passing it from hand to hand.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 10

Date: water Dragon year, 7th month, 25th day (1892)

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: seal of the King of Lo


A letter from the King of Lo to the lama of Tshognam, Tshewang Bumpa. The lama appears to have claimed that he and his brother Doyön are not liable for the payment of trade tariffs when travelling through Lo on the grounds that they, and not the king, are the owners of their priestly estate. The king denies that they are the owners, citing the restoration sponsored by an earlier queen as the basis of royal ownership. he nevertheless acquiesces to the Tshognam lamas’ exemption from taxes, not on the basis of their ownership of the estate but on the grounds of their priestly status and activities.



1. § lugs gnyis bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan khris rtser ngom pa’i khri lcaṃ la yum nor ’dzin dbang mo zhes mtshan nyi zla ltar krag pa’i tshogs gnams mgon pa sa sngags
2. chos gling ’di bzhin sar stabs mdzad te bla ma chos dbying rang sgrol zhes pa’i [2S] mdzin te bstan pa yar rgyas mdzad te chos gyun sogs =e= [b]yon mdzad pa bcas glo
3. rang gi gon pa dngos nas zos bral yin stabs da bar rgyud pa rim ’byon ngos gon mnyam med byas pa dang rkabs ’dir bla ma tshe dbang bum pa legs dang ’dod yon gnyis
4. nas sngar ltar gon ’dzin nyam med byas bzhin sngon dus nas bla ma rang gi gon nor mtshong ’krod mdzod song gnyis gsum nas bcu bar ji yod la khur cang khel du srol
5. med mkhyun zhu ’dug kyang de ma bden su ma nges kyang dgong gsal mgon pa glo bo rang gi gtsang mchod yin ’dus kyang blaṃ (bla ma) dpun gnyis ’di khar gus zhabs che stabs
6. blaṃ (bla ma) dpun gnyis sku tshe mdzad pa naṃ mkhyong bar khal mdzo bong bu gnyis gsum bcu bar la khur cang mi len pa khong rang yas mas kun nas sde bar chun dgos dang
7. blaṃ (bla ma) dpun bcas nas kyang sngar ltar chos mkhyun nyaṃ med dang gus zhabs su ma song pa’i rigs byas tshe de skabs zhib bya rgyu bcas mtshang mas ’di sgom tshul bzhin
8. yong pa byed | zhes sde pa’i (?) khar nas chu bgrugs zla 7 yar phyog dga’ pa’i tshes 25 bris (seal)


1. khri rtser; bkrag pa’i; dgon pa 2. gsar btab; ’dzin te; rgyun sogs 3. dgon pa dngos; skabs ’dir 4. mnyam med; dgon nor ’tshong sprod 5. rgyun (?) zhu; gong gsal; spun gnyis 6. spun gnyis; nam ’khyong 7. spun bcas; chos rgyun nyams med; tshang mas 8. mkhar nas chu drug; phyogs dga’



following its restoration by the king of Mustang and his queen, Nordzin wangmo, who were as splendid as the sun and moon, the temple of Sang-ngag Chöling, in Tshognam, was occu- pied by Lama Chöying Rangdrol. he caused the doctrine to flourish. The temple unquestion- ably belongs to Lo. The lineage has continued down to this day in an unbroken succession, and it is now occupied by Lama Tshewang Bumpa and Döyön. however, the lamas’ constant plea that have always traded freely with their animals, passing through Lo to Tibet without paying transit duties, is not true. But because we holds the lama and his brother in high regard, and because their temple, Sang-ngag Chöling, belongs to Lo, they may make commercial trips through Lo to and from Tibet with anywhere from three to ten pack animals (dzos or donkeys) without paying tax, for as long as they wish. If, however, the lama and his brother should do anything that is unworthy of this unbroken tradition of religious activity, or engage in activi- ties that cause our respect to be withdrawn, an investigation will be carried out according to custom. The letter has been sent from the ruler’s palace (seal of the King of Lo.)

Note: the hand in which this document is written is not very clear, and some of the readings are conjectural.

Although the precise circumstances that provoked this letter are not known, the episode occurred during a period of discontent against the payment of tariffs (khur cang) imposed on traders travelling through Lo. In 1863 the government of Nepal had demanded that traders pay the customs office in Dana revenues that had until then been paid to the King of Lo. however, the latter refused to accept the withdrawal of these traditional taxes, and there appears to have been a period when traders from the Shöyul were paying double revenues. In 1900 the Shöyul petitioned the government to intervene, but it was not until 1910 that an offi- cial order (rukka) was issued expressly forbidding the King of Lo to levy khur cang duties. (for a more detailed account of these events, see Demoness: 64–66.)
    In the present case, the lamas seem to be arguing that they should be exempted from pay- ing trade tariffs on the grounds that they are the owners of the temple of Sang-ngag Chöling, a claim that is peremptorily dismissed by the king. The king does, however, accept their exemption on the grounds of their priestly status and religious deeds. The “unworthy” activities that might result in the forfeit of these privileges are not specified, but probably refer to an attempt by the priests to make an illicit profit by including the animals of tax-liable traders in their own caravans.
    The dates of Chöying Rangdrol, the first member of this priestly lineage to live in Tshognam, are unknown, and we know of no other references to a queen of Lo named Nordzin wangmo.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 11

Date: fire Bird year, 7th month, 4th day, Monday (1897)

Lines: 10; one line on verso

Script: ’khyug ma tshug

Remarks: second line damaged due to folding of document

Receipt of a loan of grain, salt and rice by Lama Ösal Dorje to a nobleman of Samar. The security on the loan consists of a house, a threshing yard and two fields.

sa mar gagā stams zugs

1. § me bya zla 7 pa tshe 4 res za 2 nyin | rtaṃ zug yige (yi ge) bris don la | tshogs rnaṃ blaṃ tshe dbang buṃ pa nas ’bru dngul song tho la
2. sa dmar gagā sde[m] chogs [only parts of syllables are legible for remainder of line; the figure 26 is visible below the line]
3. rtse mor ’bar pha tshe bu brgyud ’bar la dngul 26 [1S] ’bur tsho la ’phul pa dang | ma zad nang tshan za rgyon sogs ma tshang par rnang brten blaṃ (bla ma) la
4. ’bun du zhu pas | rgyab res sar snying sdoṃ nas bod khal rgyad dang zo ba lnga | nas bod khal lnga | tsha bod khal zhi | bras bod khal gsuṃ
5. bcas song | ’di yi sgrig bha do la khang pa dbul sa | zhing sṃe or gyuṃ phug sras zla pa’i thob khal | chu ’ar rab dgu sdong sdong bcas
6. zhag yod pa | lo res la bhad lnga ma drug ’phul rgyu | rgal srid ’dab ma nus phyin ngang ga thaṃs pa yan khang pa dgra dmi gnyis man
7. zhing gnyis bcas ’bur tso spa rtsa la ’phul pa yin | ’di la dmar po tshos logs | snyog pa ting rlog | dran pa sar btam sogs su thad
8. nas ’gal song med pa | gagā sdeṃ chog | sras bskyid ljong | sras zla ba gsuṃ blo seṃs rang thad kyi phyag rtags XXX don ’di phya spang
9. la | sa dmar rkar mi’i rtags X smon thang sras bkris (bkra shis) rtags X tshugs bragr (brag dmar) span ’byor rtags X tshe ring rdoe (rdo rje) rtags X yig
10. bris sgrub pa tshe ring rdoe (rdo rje) yin | bkris (bkra shis)



Lama Tshewang Bumpa of Tshognam has lent 8 bod khal of buckwheat, 5 bod khal of barley, 4 bod khal of salt, and 3 bod khal of rice to the Nobleman Demchog of Samar. As the security (sgrig bha do; bha do < Nep. banḍhak) Demchog has put up: a house, a threshing yard and the fields named Me Orgyum and Rabgu Dongdong, which is located in Chuwer (an area of land north of the main settlement of Samar). The interest shall be 20 per cent (lnga ma [for la?] drug—“six for five”). The agreement is confirmed with the formulae that “red should not change colour, sediment should not be raised from the bottom, new issues that come to mind should not be brought up”.

    The document is signed by Demchog and his two sons. The witnesses are from Samar, Mönthang and the Dragmar sector of Tshug. The scribe is sgrub pa Tshering Dorje.


The relationship between the two documents LT/11 and LT/12 is not immediately clear. LT/11 was written on the same day as the first part of LT/12, and both bear the names of the same four witnesses. The date of the second part of LT/12 is eleven days later than the first part , and it carries the names of two witnesses who are different from the previous four. The scribes of the two documents are different, but both documents seem to be originals since the names of the witnesses and debtors are followed by crosses. Both refer to an outstanding debt of 26 rupees, but LT/12 part 1 refers only to this debt, and not to debts of grain that have been incurred. The security for the loan in LT/12 part 1 is given as ten poplar trees. Line 2 of LT/11 is badly damaged, but the first part of line 3, beginning rtse mor ’bar pha tshe bu brgyud... is almost identical to the corresponding passage in LT/12 part 1 (lines 2–3), suggesting that the preceding, damaged section also mentions the security of poplar “from their roots to their tops” (rtsa ba nas rtse mo’i bar), and the barely-visible dngul 26 on line 2 refers to the loan for which these trees are a security.
    While LT/12 part 1 and this first part of LT/11 therefore probably deal with the same issue, the remainder of LT/11 and LT/12 part 2 are clearly related, but with certain differences that can be summarised in tabular form:

(Form can not be uploaded here)

    These are the main differences between the second part of LT/11 and LT/12 part 1: while the quantity of buckwheat borrowed is the same, the amount of rice and barley have been reversed, and that of salt has increased by 2 bod khal. The interest rate has been raised from 20 to 35 per cent, but the borrower’s security no longer includes the two fields.

    LT/12 is apparently not a new agreement but a revised version of LT/11. It seems likely that the entirety of LT/12 was written on the 15th day, and that the first part of it was back-dated to the 4th day—the day on which LT/11 was written. The witnesses to LT/12 part 1 are the same as those in     LT/11 because this part of the agreement—the security of 10 poplar trees for an old debt of 26 rupees—has not been altered, and the names of the old witnesses could therefore be repeated in good faith.

    However, the second part of LT/11 has been revised, either because of an error or because it was in the mutual interest of both parties to do so, and for this purpose it would have been necessary to engage witnesses who were actually present in Samar on the 15th day: the old witnesses—all from other settlements—were apparently no longer there at the time. (we cannot tell whether the they themselves added the crosses after their names in the first part at some later, convenient time, or whether these were provided by the scribe.)

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 12

Date: fire Bird year, 7th month, 4th day, Monday (1897)

Lines: 11

Script: ’khyug



A debt document dealing with the same loan as that featured in LT/11, but with an additional agreement concerning a further loan of cash and grain.

1. me bya zla 7 pa’i tshes 4 re za 2 pa’i nyin | sa dmar ga ga sdem phyogs dang sras skyid sbyong sras zla ba cas la | tshogs rnaṃs blaṃ (bla ma) tshe dbang ’buṃ nas bu lon
2. snying pa bhad ngos sdoṃ dang dngul 26 song pa ’di la dngul snang ma thub par rten nas | dngul 26 po’i bhan gra la shol sdong 10 rtsa ba nas rtse mo’i bar pha tshe bu
3. rgyud ’bar dngul 26 po’i ’bur tsho la ’phul pa yin | ’di la mi gyur pa sa dmar ga ga sdeṃ chogs sras skyid sbyong sras zla pa bcas me med rnaṃs kyi
4. phyags rtags X | thong thos gi phya spang la | sa dmar dkar ma’i rtags X | smon thang sras bkra shis rtags X | tshu[gs] spen ’byor rtags X | tshugs
5. tshe ring rdoer (rdo rje) rtags X |
6. me bya zla 7 ba tshe 15 re za 6 nyin | rtaṃ zur yig gi bris don la | sa’u tshog rnaṃs bla ma tshe dbang ’buṃ pa nas a sa mi sar
7. mar ga ga sdem chog la | rgo rgyal rin po che khral rigs dang nang tshang za sgyon sog ma tshang brten blaṃ (bla ma) la ’bun du zhu ba | gyab res
8. sar snying sdoṃ ’bod khal brgyad dang zo ba lnga | bras bod khal lnga | tshwa bod khal drug | nas bod khal gsuṃ bcas song | ’di sgrig bhang do
9. la ga ga khang pa g.yul sa bcas zhag yod | lo re la bhad bod khal re re la zo ba 7 ’dab rgyu chod pa yin | rgal srid ’dab ma nus phyin | srang ga
10. then pa yan phyod ’bur rtso span tsa la ’bul pa yin | ’di la dmar po tsod log | snyog pa rding rlog dran pa sar btaṃ sogs su thad
11. nas sgal song med pa | ga gā sdeṃ phyogs sras brkyid sbyong | sras zla ba gsuṃ blo seṃ rang thad stags the po | thong thos phya spang
12. tshugs steng ma gu ru rtag X | rtsang lis dpal zang rtag X | yig ge bris mi gyes lung bkris (bkra shis) bcas zhug | bkris (bkra shis)

Part 1
fire Bird year, 7th month, 4th day, Monday. The nobleman (ga ga) Demchog and his sons Kyijong and Dawa are unable to repay Lama Tshewang of Tshognam the old debt which,including capital and interest (bshad ngos sdom), amounts to 26 rupees. As the security (bhan gra < Nep. banḍhak) for the 26 rupees they give 10 poplar trees from root to treetop in perpetuity. Signed by the debtors and four witnesses.

Part 2
Fire Bird year, 7th month, 14th day, friday. A debt document, an agreement between the creditor (sa’u < Nep. sāhu) Lama Tshewang Bum of Tshognam and the debtor (a sa mi < Nep. asāmi) Demchog the nobleman and his two sons. Because they were burdened with taxes to the gorkha king, and by illness through harm from planets, and they do not have enough, they are taking a loan of 8 bod khal and 5 zo ba of old and new buckwheat; 5 bod khal of rice; 6 bod khal of salt; 3 bod khal of barley; as security (bhang do < Nep. banḍhak) for these the nobleman has put up his house and threshing yard. Every year, as interest for each bod khal he shall pay 7 zo ba. If he cannot pay this, he will forfeit his house from the doorstep on the street and everything above.
    Signed by the debtor Demchog, his sons and two witnesses.

Line 7, za sgyon < gza’ skyon, “harm from planets”: possibly a reference to a cerebral stroke, believed to be caused by the influence of gza’.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 15

Date: Earth Dog year, 6th day of the 11th month, Sunday (1898)

Lines: 23

Script: ’khyug ma tshug

A guidebook (for pilgrims: gnas shad [bshad]) to the supports of body, speech and mind located at the great holy place of Khra rum dkar po (Pra dun rtse) in Tibet.

1. gnas chen kra rduṃ dkar po’i bsku gsung thugs stan gi gnas shad | dpon sa pad ma bkra shis gsung nas ’dri pa’i
2. gnas yig bzhug s+ho | m lha mgo ’dzul snang rtam ’gring dpa’ po gcigs sta | de nas yar ’dzags nas | g.yasu (g.yas su)
3. bka’ chen gyi dung/drung du | ’jam spa khyil thang 1 | rgyal pa rigs kyi yuṃ lnga | steng seṃs dpa’ 4 | ’og seṃs ma bzhi | {2S}
4. dun du joo (jo bo) bcuigs (bcu gcigs) bngos {1S}| de yi mdong du mchod pa’i lha mo rgyad | de yi bka’ dong bcigs la gu ru padma sa ’dul dgleng
5. tshul du bzhugs pa | yang sgo 1 g.yasu (g.yas su) shar phogs rgyol (rgyal po) yul ’khor srung | lho phyogs rgyol (rgyal po) phags dkyes po | gling bsing tshan phyags da
6. dpal lha mo’i mda’ dar | bsaṃ g.yas sprin ’khang | yang sgo’i bsteng du thub dbang bdang/gang brten 1 | de nas sgo nang g.yasu (g.yas su)
7. sa ldags la {1S} khro snogs (sna tshogs) rtaṃ ’dring gsung sbyon 1 | steng kheb kha sbyang rje’un (rje btsun) tung shags gi lha gsuṃ bc[u] so 5 lnga ’og la nyis mi sras
8. chen brgyad | de’i dong du skye rong jo ’o ’di bzang po | bug bstod du rnam nang dkar po snaṃs par snang mdzad bzhal bzhi pa |
9. g.yas su ’od dpag med 1 | rdor seṃs 1 | yang g.yasu (g.yas su) rdoeng (rdo rje chang?) 1 | gu ru tsho skyes rdo rje 1 | gying/gyigs la mchod pa’i lha mo dngar logs ri la yod
10. pa la | da rta bsku ru sbyon pa 1 | skur thong du | srgyas (sangs rgyas) sman lha 1 | yang dang dong du guru pad ma bsaṃ spa 1 | de’i dbus su | thub ba gsung sbyon |
11. sbyang dkra dun sang rgyas ’od srung tso byas srgyas (sangs rgyas) rab mdun rab dun gyis dbu skra mdun zung ’jug yod pa bzhug yod |
12. g.yasu (g.yas su) ’jaṃ pa dang | g.yon du ’jaṃ ma 1 | bka’ spa la 1 | gya sa dkoon (dkong jo) gyi bzhang ba’i jo bcu gcig bzhal 1 | khar sa dpa’
13. ni 1 | ’jam dbyang 1 | sgrol ma dkar gsung sbyon 1 | rgya dkar pha daṃ pa srgyas (sangs rgyas) | nor lha rnaṃs thos sras | byang chub rtung shags lha gsuṃ cu
14. so lnga | phyags dor gsung sbyon 1 | yang sgo nang sgo nas | mar thon nas | nub phyogs rgyol (rgyal po) spyan migs bzang | sbyang phyogs rgyol (rgyal po) rnaṃs

15. thos bsras | sa nang nas gnod byin sgang pa bzang po 1 | nor lha dzaṃ lha | tshong dpon nor bu bzang po 1 | bka’bl (bka’ la?)
16. sgrol ma khyil thang 1 | pha mi sgrin len ’jal pa 1 | sman lha der bshegs brgyad | sdem phyogs yumb (yab yum) | rgyal ba rigs gyi
17. yab lnga | bka’ dung la ’phags pa spyen ras bzigs 1 | § yang sgo thon nas khro bo bdu^id (bdud rtsi?) khyil pa 1 | srung ma rab rtan ma 1 |
18. § yang mgon gang gi g.yasu (g.yas su) mgoon (mgon po) bya rog mdong can 1 | mkhro’ (mkha’ ’gro) sde lnga 1 | blaṃ (bla ma) tsha ba {tsha ba} rong gi mdung rten 1 | rdor seṃs 1|
19. mar man mdzad | {1S} srgyas (sangs rgyas) shākya dthub pa | ’jaṃ spa khyel thang bzhugs | shākya thub spa la | g.yas su sha ri bu | g.yon du
20. mi’u rgal gyis ’bu | rdoe (rdo rje) ’drags po btsal 1 | yees (ye shes) mgoon (mgon po) phyag bzhi spa | gu ru snang srid zil snon bzhugs | dmag zor ma bzhugs | sbyang ngos mchod
21. rten phyag rdor buṃ khang 1 | lho nas byogs (byang phyogs?) rtam gring mchod rten buṃ khang | sdigs shegs mchod rten gsuṃ bzhugs yod | phyi phyogs
22. bsu man khang | bka’ gyur bcas bzhugs yod pas | de la ’khrul spa med pa | sa khyi zla ba bcuig (bcu gcig) tshe drug re za
23. nyi ma la | dkra rduṃ rnaṃs snang dkar po ru | dpon gi gsung bzhin ’dris pa | bkris (bkra shis) shogs |

A site-description of the supports for the body, speech and mind at the great holy place white Tradum. A guide to the place written according to what his Eminence (dpon sa) Padma Trashi said. On entering, there is a hayagrīva (and...?). Then after climbing up, to the right, in front of a great pillar (bka’ < ka), there are scroll paintings of Maitreya and the consorts of the five family Buddhas; above are the four sattvas, and below the four sattvis, and in front the eleven[-headed?] lord (Avalokiteśvara?). In front of this are the eight Offering goddesses. On one pillar is guru Padma, standing in earth-subduing form. furthermore, to the right of a certain door are the King of the East, Dhritarashta, and the King of the west, Virūḍhaka. ... (gling bsing tshan phyags da?)... the beribboned arrow of Śrīdevi; a house of clouds that surpasses understanding. Above the door is an image of Shākyamuni. Then inside the door, to the right, are earth gods, a variety of wrathful divinities, and a hayagrīva that speaks. On the ceiling (?) are the thirty-five Confessional Buddhas, and below them the eight great Bodhisattvas. In front of them is the Kyirong Jowo wati Zangpo (Jo bo wa ti bzang po). In the very interior, on top, are a white Vairocana and a Vairocana with four faces; to the right is an Amitābha and a Vajrasattva; also to the right are a Vajradhāra, a Padmakāra (*Padmavajra). In/on the gying/gyigs (?) is/are the Offering goddess(es), and on the opposite side is a da rta bsku ru (?). In the skylight (skur thong < gur mthongs) is a Medicine Buddha and facing it is a Padmasambhava. In the middle is a speaking Shākyamuni. In the northern [part of the temple of?] Tradun is the combined hair of the Seven Successive Buddhas, foremost of whom is Dipaṃkara. (12) To the right is Maitreya and to the left a female [form of] Maitreya (sic! ’jam ma < byams ma), a skull-cup, and an Eleven-headed Avalokiteśvara that was sponsored by the Chinese Queen Konjo; an [Avalokiteśvara] Kharsapāṇi, a Mañjuśrī, a white Tārā that speaks, a Pha Dampa Sangye (Pha dam pa Sangs rgyas), from India, the god of wealth Vaiśrāvana, the thirty-five Confessional Buddhas, and a speaking Vajrapāṇi. Then after going down and exiting through the inner door, there are the King of the west Virupaksha, the King of the North Vaiśrāvana, the yaksha gangzang (gNod sbyin gang bzang), the god of wealth Jambhala, and the Merchant Norbu Zangpo (Nor bu bzang po). On a pillar there is a scroll painting of Tārā, and a [divinity for?] the repayment of the kindness of one’s parents; the Eight Sugātas who are Medicine Divinities; Cakrasaṃvara and his consort [Vajravārāhī] in union, and the five fathers of the Buddha families; on the side of a pillar there is an Avalokiteśvara. Then, after passing through the door, there is an Amṛtakuṇḍali, and the protector Rabtenma (Rab brtan ma). Again, to the right of (or inside and to the right of?) the protectors’ chapel is Kākamukha, a set of the five Classes of ḍakiṇīs, a reliquary of Lama Tshawarong, a Vajrasattva, a Dipaṃkara, a Buddha Shākyamuni, and a painted scroll of Maitreya. To the right of the Shākyamuni is a Śāriputra, and to his left a Maudgalyāyana; a Dorje Drakpotsal (rDo rje drag po rtsal), a four-armed Mahākāla (“wisdom Protector”), the guru in the form of the Subjugator of the Phenomenal world, and Śrīdevi (dMag zor ma). On the northern side there are three stupas: a Vajrapāṇi repository, and from south to north (?) a hayagrīva stupa repository and a stupa for the Atonement of Sins. Outside there is a temple with a prayer wheel (man khang < maṇi khang) and a set of the Canon. This was written without error as recounted by the Lord (dpon) [Padma Trashi] on a Sunday, the sixth day of the eleventh month in an Earth Dog year, at the Temple of the white Vairocana in Tradum.


Pra dun rtse temple is well known as the westernmost of the temples attributed to Srong btsan sgam po. Classified as one of the temples for “the subjugation of the marches” (mtha’ ’dul), it is located in Drongba County of the Tibet Autonomous Region, some 80 km north of the Nepalese border as the crow flies. The orthography of the name given in the document, kra rdum, is consistent with its local pronunciation, Tradum or Trarum. The name denotes both the temple and the nearby town of Drongba. Tradum was a common destination for people of Mustang for purposes of both trade and pilgrimage, and until very recently represented the northernmost point in Tibet where traders from Mustang were allowed to travel without special permission. After its destruction during the Cultural Revolution the temple was rebuilt in the late 1990s. To the best of my knowledge there is no written description of the temple prior to this time, and the present document, cursory though it is, may be a valuable record of what was destroyed. Equally, some of the uncertainties in the text—not least the precise locations of the murals described—might be resolved by an in situ comparison of the text with whatever artwork may have survived. for example, it is not at all clear what the writer means by “the female form of Maitreya” (’jam ma < byams ma): Byams ma usually denotes a Bonpo divinity whose name is “the feminine form of Champa (Byams pa), the Buddhist bodhisattva Maitreya, with whom she otherwise does not seem to share any attributes” (Kværne 1995: 28).
    During a visit to the temple in 1999, while restoration work was under way, I was told that the structure had survived thanks to the efforts of the head of the township (shang drang < Ch. xiangzhang), since the building had been used variously as a school and as an army base. The murals, however, did not survive, and during my visit the walls were in the process of being redecorated by a painter from Tsedong, near Shigatse. work had begun in 1993 thanks to a government allocation of 40,000 RMB. The money was used to repaint the temple and to purchase a copy of the Canon, since the original set (mentioned in the present document) had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution together with the entire library. (The library appears to have been substantial: the task of burning the books is said to have required a full week.)

    The identity of the writer’s guide, Padma Trashi, is not known. The title he is given in line 1 appears to be dpon sa, and in line 23 simply dpon. The former, if the reading is correct, would suggest that he was a religious hierarch rather than a knowledgeable member of the local gentry.
    In the literature of the phyi dar, Tradum is generally considered to be the temple that pins down the right (or sometimes left) knee of the supine demoness that is Tibet (for a summary of the sources, see for example Aris 1979: 24–31). however, there are at least two other local narratives that still have some currency. One is that the temple pins down the front (mdun) of the forehead (dpral) of the demoness (hence Tradun < dpral mdun); the other (Tradun < skra bdun) is that the building sits on seven (bdun) of her hairs (skra). Line 11 of the document is apparently a reference to a variant of the latter version, insofar as the etymology of the toponym is provided by a belief that the temple treasury houses the combined hair of the Seven Successive Buddhas.
    A more extensive commentary to this document has been published in Ramble 2015. That article contains the following assertion:
    The author of the document does not give his name. however, the distinctive handwriting is unmistakably the same as that in hMA/LTshognam/Tib/11, where the scribe identifies himself as sgrub pa Tshering Dorje (Tshe ring rdo rje).... Ösal Dorje and Tshering Dorje were probably close acquaintances, and the document may well have been a gift from the latter to his friend in Tshognam following a pilgrimage to Tradum. (ibid.: 379–80)
    Since the article was published I have carried out a closer comparison of the handwriting of the two documents and have concluded that this identification is erroneous: in spite of certain superficial similarities, the two documents are almost certainly not written by the same scribe.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 17

Date: Iron Dog year, 5th month, 17th day, Monday (1910)

Lines: 13

Script: ’khyug

A declaration, signed by the headmen of Tshug on behalf of the community as a whole, confirming certain rights and privileges of the lamas of Tshognam, including their exemption from various taxes and obligations.

1. lcag khyi zla 5 tshes 17 re za 2 nyin | phan bde’i ’byung gnas lug gnyis dgong ma ’khrim dag rinoe (rin po che’i) zhabs drung du | bzhu ba bdag ming stag khongs sham sal rnams nas slom slang mi rgyur ba’i rgan ’dzin
2. tsang bul zhu snying | don tshug yul dang tshog rnams bla brang gnyis sngon srol khyad bsod bskor du bcung zhig ma mdum pa’i brgyu mtshan | snga lo rkag sku zhabs kham gsum kyis pho brang zheng
3. skabs | tshug yul ba la dpon lung dad dam la brten pa’i | brdung ma sogs ’bran nas sprad rgos gsung skabs | gang gsung dāng du slang pas | grong res nas mi res brdung ma len mi ko shags byed
4. dus | tshogs rnams bla brang na’ang bla brang ki phu mo kun’ (kun dga’) ko shags byed dugs par | sngon nas da thubs yul dpyi yi las don gang yang rgyug mi sgos pa’i mchod don gzhir zhag kun’ (kun dga’)
5. yul mnyam por ma bsong par brten | rjes su dpon lung gnyis nas ’dzin chang rnang skabs rku zhabs kham gsum la sngon ’khyun byi yod ’dzun ’bral den par zhus ba’i yid che’i
6. gnas su gong te | da cha khyed rang bla ma sbyin bdag rnams bcung zhig ma mdum kyang | da phyin sngon khyun gzhir bzhagi (bzhag gi) bla ma sbyin bdag rnams dad dam la bsel zhugs med par sngon khyun
7. la sor gnas zhag gos sungs ba star | sngon chad bla ma chos nyid rang ’brol nas da thub bar mchod yon byin dag snang nas gang la gang ’dul gyi sgo nas ’dzin skyong mdzad nas zhug pa
8. byin bdag rnams nas ’ang | bla ma la sang rgyas ngos kyi ’du shes zhag zhing spyi gsung dāng du blang zhing mdzad pa’i rnam par thar ba sogs la ngo tshar skyes nas zhug sdad yod pa’i rkabs su phun gsuṃ
9. tshogs pa la brten nas | lo leg pa | rkya brgyal ba | de kyid phun gsum tshog pa ’byung ba la bzhug | dphya (da phya) ’ang sngon khyun la gzhir zhag pa’i mchod don sngon du song ba’i mchod don dang | da cha ’ang
10. tshug yul nas dbyar shing khur po co snga nyiu (nyi shu) bzhi bcu lnga bcu gang ’byor | gun shing yang gong dang thun pa’i kha drang brtar spog brgyu dang | Zzhan gdon phral (= khral) med dang ma tshad |

11. yul dpyi yi las brgyug gang yang mi sgos pa’i sngon khyun la sor gnas zhag pas ’di la bskal ba dang nyzlin (nyi zla) nam nas bar la logs med pa | brgan (seal) | rdore (rdo rje) tshe ring dang
12. brgan ’kun dga’ rab stan gtso’i yul spyi ’the’u brtags (seal) phya spang | khyen zhan bsoṃd (bsod nams) dpal ’byor gis rtags X chos ’khor sngags pa brtan dzin rtags
13. lted ka mi brtags X zhab ’bras srid thar brtags X brtsang led yied (yi shed) brgyal mtshan [brtags] X bri mi bar dum mdzad mi su pa bha khāt bha hā ’dur phyags btags | sāhi (Dev.)

1. lcags khyi; re gza’; lugs gnyis gong ma khrims bdag; zhu ba; ming rtags khungs sham gsal; blo blang mi ’gyur 2. gtsang ’bul; bsod skor du cing; ma ’dum; rgyu mtshan; brang bzhengs 3. gdung ma sogs ’dren nas sprad dgos; sko bshag 4. gi bu mo; sko bshag byed ’dug par; da thug; spyi yi; mi dgos pa’i chod don gzhir bzhag 5. song bar rten; ’dzin ’chang snang; sku zhabs; sngon rgyun byed; rdzun ’bra bden 6. dgongs te; cung zhig ma ’dum; bsal bzhag med par; sngon rgyun 7. ’jog dgos gsungs pa ltar; da thug bar; sbyin bdag gnang; nas bzhugs pa 8. sbyin bdag; sangs rgyas; bzhag zhing; ci gsungs dwangs du blangs; ngo mtshar; bzhugs bsdad; skabs su phun sum 9. lo legs; skya rgyal; bde skyid phun sum tshogs; la bzhugs; da cha’ang sngon rgyun la gzhir bzhag pa’i chod don 10. bco lnga; dgun shing; mthun pa’i kha grangs ltar spog rgyu; gzhan don khral med 11. yul spyi yi las rgyug; mi dgos pa’i sngon rgyun; bzhag pas; nam gnas bar; log med 12. spyi mthe bo rtags; bar ’dum; phyag rtags

Monday, the 17th day of the 5th month in an Iron Dog year. we, whose names, marks and origins are clearly set out below, freely and willingly present this binding agreement, to the feet of the precious master of the law, the supreme one of the two traditions, the fount of benefits and happiness. Concerning the matter of disrespect for the traditional relationship between the community of Tshug and the priestly estate of Tshognam, there has been a slight disagreement. The details are as follows. In a previous year, when Khamsum, the sku zhabs of Kag, was building his palace, he informed that people of Tshug that, in keeping with the pledge (dad dam) between the lord and the community, they would have to haul beams and suchlike and give them to him. They readily acquiesced to whatever he said. when people were being appointed to fetch the beams on the basis of one person per estate, Kunga, the daughter of the priestly estate in Tshognam, was also selected. however, on the strength of the resolution that, from past times until now, it was not required that [the priests] should perform any public labour for the community, Kunga did not join the rest of the village. As a result, the lord and the community then apprehended her, but when sku zhabs Khamsum was told truthfully, with no falsehood, what the past custom was, he considered the explanation convincing. And now you lamas and patrons have [again] had a slight disagreement. henceforth, [we should act] in accordance with his declaration that past custom should be preserved without there being any attempt to disturb the pledge (dad dam) between priest and patron that is founded in tradition. But from the time of Chönyi Rangdrol in the past, down to the present, the patrons have acted as benefactors and the priests have protected them in turn in the most appropriate ways. The patrons, for their part, regarded their lamas as actual Buddhas, accepting whatever they said, and marvelling at their deeds. And in this state of beatitude, the harvests were abundant, there was plenty to eat, and they lived in wonderful happiness. And now, with the resolution to act in accordance with past custom, as in the past so now, too, however much summer wood the priests receive from the community of Tshug, whether fifteen, twenty, forty or fifty loads, so they should be given a corresponding number in winter. furthermore, their customary exemption both from taxes and from the obligation to perform communal labour for the community shall be maintained, and this shall not be changed as long as the world-age and the sun endure.The community as a whole, represented by the headman Dorje Tshering and the headman Kunga Rabten, sets its seal (seal). The witnesses are Khyenzhen (?) Sonam Paljor, the anchorite Tenzin of Chongkhor, Kami and Zhabdre hrithar of Te, and yeshe gyaltsen of Tsele. The scribe and mediator was subba Bhagat Bahadur.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 18

Date: Iron Dog year, 7th month, 1st day, Saturday (1910)
Lines: 7
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: signatures in the left margin; one seal in left margin; two seals on line 7



A Tepa and a Tshugpa agree to exchange two fields for a period of ten years, presumably for the convenience of their location.

1. lcag khyi zla pa bdun pa’i tshes 1 re za 0 nyin | tshug oyan (o rgyan) bsaṃ grub dang rted
2. tshe ring bkris (bkra shis) gnyis phyogs ha dgos nas | tshogs rnams gzhing dang gzhing dar sa ’di
3. gnyis lcags phags lo nas bzung nas lo ’dus lo bcu byas nas lcags phags lo nas
4. bzung nas lcags spre lo’i dkar nag gnyis ’dus nas phar tshur gnyis ha dgos
5. nas phar tshur gzhing rnaṃs phyir log byed phyogs {nas b}zer ba tshug oyan (o rgyan) bsaṃ grub
6. gi rtags (seal) rted btshe ring bkris (bkra shis) gi rtags (seal) yige (yi ge) gnyis phyogs la ree (re re) dang tshogs
7. rnaṃs blab ’drang du yang cigs yod
left margin
1. thong thos gi phya spang la |
2. sted gnyer dgelong (dge slong) |
3. tshugs rgan rdoe (rdo rje) tshe ring | 4. yig bris tshogs rnaṃs blaṃ (bla ma) | 5. oyan (o rgyan) rang grol yin —



1. lcags khyi; re gza’ 2. ha go; zhing dang zhing 3. lcags phag 4. ha go 5. zhing rnams; byed chog 7. bla brang left margin 1. mthong thos kyi cha dpang

Saturday, the 1st day of the 7th month in an Iron Dog year. Ogyen Samdrub of Tshug and Tshering Trashi of Te have both reached and understanding: after harvesting both the barleyand the buckwheat crops of the Tshognam field and the field named Darsa for a period of ten years from the Iron Pig year (1911) to the Iron Monkey year (1920), both parties have under- stood that they may give the fields back to each other. Ogyen Samdrub of Tshug sets his seal; Tshering Trashi of Te sets his seal. Each party possesses a copy of this document, and there is also one in the priestly estate of Tshognam. The witnesses, who have seen and heard, are: the steward gelong of Te and the headman Dorje Tshering of Tshug. The scribe was Lama Ogyen Rangdrol of Tshognam.



Although the purpose of this document is not entirely clear, it seems to imply that the two parties to the agreement, Ogyen Samdrub and Tsering Trashi, are exchanging usufruct of two fields for a period of ten years, presumably because of the convenience of their location.



Line 4, dkar nag, lit. “white/black”, are respectively commonly-used epithets for barley, the first crop, and buckwheat, the second crop.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 20

Date: fire Serpent year, (illegible) month, (illegible) day (1917)

Lines: 12

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: 2 seals, on of which, on line 11, is of sKu zhabs Khro rgyal


An agreement according to which an aristocratic debtor agrees to repay the sum he owes by allows his creditor, a lama of Tshognam, to collect a rotating fund in his place. The lama had rescued the nobleman when he had previously been detained for failing to repay an overdue debt to a third party.


1. me ’brul zla 11 nyin | sgan chod yi ge bri don | ngon mar spag phur pa mda’o’i sbun dngul 130 sku zhabs dge’ chen
2. [1S?] phog bi | sa’u nas ’dzin chang snang skab | byang med ’byung ste smi rtang pa’i nya ba tshog rnaṃ bka’ bcu pa
3. nas mdzad ste | slar bzhag dus nang | a sa mi spon dga’ chenas (chen nas) byang min byad ste | dngul gang phog
4. tshog snaṃ bka’ bcu pa nas byang ste | sa’u nas ’ang len ste | da rta nya pa bka’ bcu ba nas a sa mi sku
5. dga’ ’dzin chang snang kab | sku dga’ nas zhu nan gi slar ka bcu la zhu nan dzad ste | rtig rnan
6. su | dzar phur pa dbang mo ’zha’u nas slang pas sgrus khor gcigs dang | rtam kring nas slang bas
7. sgrus khor gcig bcas yod ba sde thad ’rgyan thob bdus sgrub byas nyin sngon la gang thob
8. ka bcu ba nas zhes dzod zhus pa yin | lhags na tshur glog bya brgyu | sma tshang na
9. kang nas krod gos zer pa | bsde don la mgal song med pa sku zhabs dga’ chen phyags
10. phyags rtags | cha dbang | shaṃ gsal —
11. sku zhabs phro rgyal phyags stags (seal) | tshug sgan phros sman stags (thumbprint and cross) | zhabs bras sridr (srid thar) rtags (thumbprint and cross)

12. bri mi dga’ rgyal spon rang sal sāhi (Devanāgari)

Left margin
1. (seal) spos rte^n (rte ’mgrin) nas slang bas sgrus ’khor tshog snaṃ sla krang du (seal)

2. [1S] ga nas [1S] rded tshog rnaṃ nas zhas pa yin | rtsi zhu nyi ba yin
3. [1S] sta dun nas byad rgyu chos |


1. me sbrul; gan chod; sngon mar; bun dngul 2. phog pas; sāu nas; gnang skabs; sbyangs med byung; mi gtang bas gnya’ 3. zhag dus; asāmi dpon; sbyangs (or sbyang) min 4. nas sbyangs; sāu nas kyang; da lta gnya’; asāmi sku 5. zhu nan mdzad; tig nan; bslang ba’i ’bru ’khor gcig 7. ’bru ’khor; de thad; rgyan thob; 8. bzhes mdzod zhus; lhag na; tshur slog bya rgyu; ma tshang 9. bskangs nas sprod dgos; de don la ’gal; phyag 10. {phyags} rtags; cha dpang; zhabs bgres

A day in the 11th month of a fire Serpent year. The purpose of writing this document of agreement is as follows: in the past, the Kushog gachen took a loan of 130 rupees from Phurba Dawo of Marpha. when the lender apprehended him, because he did not pay it the lender would not release him, and Kacuwa of Tshognam therefore acted as his guarantor. But because the debtor, Nobleman gachen, did not repay the loan within the appointed time, Kacuwa of Tshognam paid the outstanding sum, and the lender took it. And now, when the guarantor Kacuwa apprehended the debtor Nobleman ga[chen], the Nobleman ga[chen] begged Kacuwa insistently, and [it was decided] that they would do exactly [as follows]: there were two rotating funds, the one that had been initiated by Phurba Angmo the Lame, of Dzar, and the one initiated by Tamdrin; [gachen] should inform Kacuwa the day before the recipient of these funds was to be decided by lottery, and he [Kacuwa] should take howevermuch he [gachen] would get. If the amount was in excess [of the sum owed] then [Kacuwa] would return [the additional amount to gachen], whereas if it was insufficient, he [gachen] should give it to him [Kacuwa] after adding a supplement. In confirmation that he will not transgress this agreement, Kushog gachen sets his seal (seal). The witnesses, presented clearly below, are: Kushog Trogyal (seal); Trömen, the headman of Tshug (thumbprint and cross); hrithar, the venerable henchman [of gachen?] (thumbprint and cross). The scribe was gagyal. The nobleman himself (?) signs.

Left margin
The rotating fund that was initiated by Tamdrin has been the priestly estate of Tshognam.... (Meaning of remainder unclear due to illegibility of text.)

Line 2, bka’ bcu ba: although the Tshognam lamas were a lineage of Nyingmapa tantric priests, there is evidence to suggest that some of them may have spent some time as monks in the Sakyapa school. This is probably the case with the bearer of this Sakyapa clerical title, which he may have retained as a sort of nickname even though he was likely by this time to have abandoned his monastic career.

Line 2, nya ba: this word is almost certainly cognate with Tib. gnya’ bo, which is generally translated as “witness”. In this case it refers to the guarantor of a loan. In most documents from South Mustang the term for guarantor is usually a Tibetanised version of the Nepali word jamāni. The terms for “creditor” and “debtor” here are, however, derived from the Nepali terms, respectively sāhu and asāmi.

Line 6, phur pa dbang mo ’zha’u, “Phurba Angmo the Lame”: in Mustang, at least, the collo- quial term for “lame”, zha kyog, systematically becomes a sobriquet of anyone with a perma- nent limp.

Lines 6, 7, sbrus khor (< ’bru ’khor), rotating fund: see notes to LT/05. The confirmation of the payment of the debt—at some later, unspecified, date—is recorded in the left margin. The text is partly illegible, but it seems to indicate that the amount that the debtor collected from one of the funds, that of Tamdrin, was enough to clear his debt to the guarantor.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 21

Date: wood hare year, 9th month, 7th day, friday (1915)

Lines: 10

Script: ’khyug

Provision of a field as lifelong maintenance by two priests of Tshognam for a woman, probably their sister, who has left her husband and returned to her natal village.

1. shing yos zla 9 tshes 7 re za 6 nyin | [gan] rgya yi ge bri don la don tsa tshog rnam slab rang nas
2. bu mo skun dga’ bde thad | sngon bag mar song brte | byes su rang nang brong ba la rog raṃ byed dgos Zzhes saṃ |
3. blo thong pa dang gcigs | gnyis ba tshe sngon las rgyi dkab gcigs ma rtog za tshogs med rten rangng (rang rang) kha go song bar
4. brten | bye su {1S} pha ma tshe la rdas {1S} nas | blaṃ (bla ma) ka co’ gnyi nas byaṃ snying gi bzhing rig gsum mgon snang pa yin bas
5. bye su | gzhanng (gzhan dang) bdrog su dro pa shar tshes da rta snang pas Zzhing chir rlog phul brgyu chod pa yin | de la rgal song
6. rtil sbru tsam med pa dkun dga’ rtags | cha dbang —
7. brtab shil — —
8. tshaṃ pa spen pa phyags rtag | rter rabs ’byung dpal bzang rtags | mgon blaṃ (bla ma) khaṃ suṃ phyags rtags |
9. ha ri ba dpal bzang rtags | zim dpon sridr (srid thar) rtags | sde pa phrin las rtags | bri mi sma krag bhā dur phyags rtags | tshugs brte^n (brten ’dzin) rtags | rgya ’a dbang rgyal rtags |

’bri don; bla brang nas 2. de thad; song ste; rjes su; grong pa; rogs ram; zhes bsam 3. blo gtong ba dang gcig; las kyis skabs gcig ma gtogs bza’ tshogs; kha bgo (?) 4. rjes su; tshe las ’das; bka’ bcu gnyis; byams snying gis; zhing rigs gsum mgon gnang 5. rjes su; grogs su ’gro ba shar tshe da lta gnang ba’i zhing phyir slog ’bul rgyu 6. til ’bru tsam; cha dpang 7. tapsil 8. phyag rtags; dgon bla 9. gzim dpon; ’bri mi

Saturday, the 7th day of the 9th month in a wood hare year. The purpose of writing this agreement is as follows: in the past, the woman Kunga from the priestly estate in Tshognam went as a bride, but later ran away back to her home estate, thinking that she should help out. This was one thought in her mind, and the other was that, because of the karma of previous lives,she would remain married for only a certain period, and her marriage consequently broke up. Accordingly, when her parents later died, the lama and the Kacu kindly provided her with the field [from the area] called Rigsum gönpo [as a means of livelihood]. If she should, in the future, form a partnership with anyone else, she should return the field that has now been given to her. In confirmation that there will be no transgression of this agreement so much as a grain of sesame, Kunga sets her mark. The witnesses are [named in the following] list: Anchorite Pemba; Rabjung Palsang of Te; Lama Khamsum of the monastery; hariba Palsang; Zimpön hirthar; Depa Trinle; the scribe Bahadur of Marpha; Tenzin of Tshug; Angyal of gyaga.


Line 4, ka co’: this is surely the same individual who features in LT/20. The fact that he is teamed with the “lama” suggests that he is probably the younger brother of the main heir (the lama in question) to the priestly estate. As stated in the commentary to LT/20, it is possible that “ka co’” (< bka’ bcu ba) is a nickname recollecting the Sakyapa monastic category from which he has probably lapsed.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 23

Date: (no element) Rat year, 10th month, 6th day

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug


A settlement over a disputed inheritance. with the help of external mediation, the family concerned have decided which of two contending parties should inherit a property.

1. byi lo zla ba bcu ba’i tshes 6 la | rgar skyab tshe ring | pad ma mkha ’gro | yees (ye shes) dbang mos ka spyi’i bskor du
2. don ched sa bzhing | § bka’ cha byas mi | dpon skun dga’ gyal tshan | gsod naṃ phun ’tshogs | dar po ’tshi
3. ring | brtsun pa ’chos skyabs bcas mi bzhis byas ba yin | de ’dus rgar brgyab tshe ring za mi gnyis ma nyen {±1–2S}
4. yar bcod thu lu | mar gcod lo ma rgang byas | mtho dar chog | dmar ’gram bzhing gnas ched yees (yes shes) dbang mo
5. mas mad nas dbang rgyu mthags chod pa yin | bde la rnaṃs la bsprin med | sa la bud med yin pa’i chod ’tshigs
6. byas pa yin | gter pa zla ba srid mthar nas dngul brgya dang nyiu (nyi shu) rtsa bcig kyis ba’i brtem ba zhing ra khog che ba bten
7. la bzhag pa yin | byes sor blu nyus na yees (ye shes) dbang mo nas slus | ’chod ’tshig ’di la ban tsha pha tshan ma tshan [su]
8. thad nas gnyad tsher byas ba byung na | rgyal po bha dngul gsum rgya zhag yod | cha dpang bzhis brtags (seal) | bga’ skyab tshe ring stag (seal)

2. sa zhing; kacha (SMT < skad cha) byed 3. btsun pa; de dus; bza’ mi; ma nyan 4. gcod thulu; gang byas; dar lcog; mar ’gram gzhi nas chad 5. mämä nas thag bcad pa; de la nam la sprin; chod tshig 6. rtsa gcig; bskyis pa’i gta’ ma 7. rjes sor blu nyos; nas blu; chod tshig ’di la bentsha (see note) 8. brnyas gtser; ’ba’ dngul gsum brgya bzhag

6th day of the tenth month in a Rat year. Concerning the discussions between gargyab Tshering and [his wife] Pema Khandro [on the one hand] and yeshe Angmo [on the other] over the matter of the property, those who engaged in the discussions were these four people: the nobleman Kunga gyaltsen, Sonam Phuntshog, Daro Tshering and the monk Chökyab. At that time gargyab Tshering and his wife would not listen, but whether one cuts away the top and has the turnip, or one cuts away the turnip at the bottom and has the leaves, yeshe Angmo’s relatives have decided that she should have (lit. have power over) the house from the prayer flag on top down and from the foundations up. On that matter, there shall be no clouds in the sky or dust on the earth.

    Against a loan of 121 rupees from Dawa hrithar of Te the large Rakhog field (in Tshug) was put up as a security. If it can be bought back in the future, yeshe Angmo may redeem it. If any member of the family either from the father’s side (pha tshan) or the mother’s side (ma tshan) should say anything contentious about this document, the king has set a fine of 300 rupees.

Line 4, yar bcod thu lu | mar gcod lo ma rgang byas..., “whether one cuts away the top and has the turnip, or one cuts away the turnip at the bottom and has the leaves (SMT thulu)...”: the sense of this formula seems to be “whether they like it or not”, or “whichever way you look at it”, etc.)

Line 7, ban tsha: bentsha is an SMT term signifying cognates or family members of the household in which one was born. The etymology is uncertain.

Line 8, rgyal po bha dngul gsum rgya...: the significance of this passage is not clear. It may mean that the king of Lo has specified that anyone who disregards this document should pay a fine (bha dngul < ’ba’ dngul) of 300 rupees. The involvement of the king would be explained by the claim, made in LT/10, that the priestly estate of Lower Tshognam is actually the prop- erty of the royal family.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 24

Date: wood Dragon year, 9th month, 13th day (1964)

Lines: 4

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Incomplete document prepared to record wedding gifts made at the marriage of Anchorite Tamdrin, the last lama of the Clan of the Kings of Sikkim, and his bride Chorten of Lo Monthang.

1. mkha’ la glog sprin rgyu shing dbyar rnga sgrogs | sa la rma bya dga’ ba’i gar mdzes rtse | srin bu dal gyi ’babs pa’i char rgyun gyis | ’gro rnams dga’ bde rgyas pa’i bde legs stsol |
2. de yang shing ’brug hor zla 9 ba’i tshes 13 res gza’ zla ba’i nyin sras mtshams pa rta mgrin dang sras mo mchod rten gnyis kyi bkra shis pa’i bag ston nyin ’khor bka’ gnyan rnams nas mgul dar rten ’brel
3. ji ltar byas pa’i mtho bkod pa la thog mar |
4. zar    rdzong    stod    pa    tshugs    pa    rgya    gar    rtse    le    sa    dmar

2. nyen ’khor bka’ gnyen

Up in the sky the thunderclouds sail and the summer drum rumbles,

Down on the earth the peacock steps its lovely dance of joy;
The gentle rain that falls steadily
Bestows joy and peace on living creatures.

Monday, the 13th day of the 9th month in a wood Dragon year (1964). The following is a list of the auspicious presentations of ceremonial scarves [and accompanying gifts of money] offered by relatives and disciples on the occasion of the wedding of the Noble Anchorite Tamdrin and the Noble Lady Chorten.

(Names of seven settlements follow as column headings.)

It is customary at weddings to list the amounts of money given as presents by the invited guests. These documents have an important social function: in the course of time, when the host household is invited to attend a wedding at the house of one of the guests, the former willconsult the document to check the sum that was presented by the representative of the household that has issued the new invitation; conventionally, the reciprocal gift should be slightly larger than the amount that was received. we do not know why this list was not filled out. The marriage certainly took place, but it may be quite simply that another scribe had also prepared a document that was used, or else that this one was temporarily misplaced before the wedding. The document does at least inform us of the date of the marriage and the communities that were in the wedding-ceremony network of Lower Tshognam. The bride, Chorten, was from a noble family in Lo Monthang. The communities in the network of her natal home are not rep- resented here, since they would have given their wedding presents at a previous event held in Lo Monthang itself.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 25

Date: None given. References to events in 1869, 1884, 1885

Lines: 9

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs


List (probably partial) of fields in Tshug for which the priestly estate bears fiscal responsibility.

1. zhing nyos pa’i yi ge yin

1. shing spres zla tshe ngos {2S} | bcu dong gyab gyi bzhing phur dbang mo dang | nyag do gnyis bzhing khral zo ba do sa blaṃa’i (bla ma’i) khur ba yin |
2. § tshogs rnaṃs pad ma rig ’dzin zhing zo ba gsuṃ sa khur pa yin |
3. § dmo byi lo la jo mo spre tsho mo’i bzhing zo ba gang sa’i ’khral khur pa yin | {1S} sa sbrul lo la ’chi skyab rdo rje bzhing | jo mo tshi
4. ring grol ma’i chos bzhing zo ba snga pa’i ’phral {2S} khur pa yin | rgan pa rdoe (rdo rje) ngo la yino (yin no) | tshe ring bzang po spun 2 gyis zhing phral zo gang pa khur |
5. § shing spre lo la | steng ma ’chi skyab rdo rje bzhing zo ba lnga pa nyos pa’i ’khral ’khur | oyn (o rgyan) ’grol ma nas zo ba sdo sa’i ’khral
6. ’khur pa yin | steng ma nang ga nas zo ba phyedng (phyed dang) sdo sa’i ’khral khur ba pa yin | rgan spa span pa sridr (srid dar) ngo la yin | shing bya zla ba 2 pa’i
7. tshe 22 la steng ma rdoe (rdo rje) bzhing khral khur pa yin | {5S} rgan pa tshe ri brgyal^n (brgyal mtshan) yin | § brags dkar a jigs jo
8. bnyi bzhing tshogs rnaṃs bzhing zo ba do sa’i khral khur pa yin | ’chi skyab rdoe (rdo rje) bzhing da sa zo ba bzhi pa’i phral ’khur pa yin | rgan pa tshe ring rgyal^n (rgyal mtshan)
9. dang nyi ma phun^gs (phun tshogs) ngo yin | ra gogs | steng ma rdoe (rdo rje) ra gogs zo pa gsuṃ sa khur sa yin |

1. spre zla; zhing khral; ’khur ba 2. ’khur ba 3. mo byi; khral ’khur 4. lnga pa’i khral ’khur; zhing khral 5. zo ba do 6. do sa’i khral ’khur 7. zhing khral 8. gnyis zhing; zhing zo ba


Document concerning the purchase of a field.

In the wood Monkey year (1884), on behalf of Phurpa Angmo and [her son] Nyagdo, the lama took responsibility for the land tax on the Rear Chudong field that has a capacity of 2 zo ba of seed. he took responsibility for the 3-zo ba [seed capacity] field of Padma Rigdzin of Tshognam.

In the female (element omitted) Rat year. Tre Tshomo’s 1 zo ba field.

In the Earth Snake year (1869): he took responsibility for Chikyab Dorje’s field, and the nun Tshering Drolma’s religious field with a seed capacity of 5 zo ba. That was in the time of the headman Dorje. he also paid the taxes on the 1-zo ba seed capacity field of Tsering Zangpo and his sibling.

In the wood Monkey year (1884) he covered the taxes on the field of Chikyab Dorje of Tengma with a capacity of 5 zo ba that he had bought; the tax on the field of Ogyen Drolma’s 2-zo ba field; and the tax on the 1.5 zo ba field of Nanga of Tangma. This was during the incumbency of the headman Sridar

On the 22nd day of the 2nd month of a wood Bird year, he took responsibility for the field taxes of Dorje of Tengma. This was when the headman Tsering gyaltsen was in office.

He paid the taxes for the 2-zo ba Tshognam field of Ajig Jonyi (or possibly: the two elder sisters, nuns) of Braga, and the taxes on the 4-zo ba Dasa field of Chikyab Dorje. That was during the incumbency of the headmen Tshering gyaltsen and Nyima Phuntshog. he also paid the taxes on the 3-zo ba Ragog fields of Dorje of Tengma.

This document may have been drawn up by Lama Tshewang Bumpa as part of the case he built against his cousin Namkha. Namkha had won a court case entitling him to inherit a house that ought properly to have reverted to the main estate following the death of his great-aunt, who had been allowed by her brother—his grandfather—to occupy it during her lifetime. In LT/27 Tshewang Bumpa maintains that the disputed house is part of the main estate which is legally a religious cooperative (guṭhi), and that the taxes and other costs of the house have always been paid by the main priestly family. Most of the fields in this list appear to have been bought by the priestly family. They are—as is customary—identified by the name of the former owner and also in some cases by the name of the field itself, the year in which each was purchased is also specified. for the purposes of the inheritance dispute, the most important entry is the first, which states that the main family has been responsible for the taxes on the bCu dong gyab (< Chu dong rgyab) field used by Phurba Angmo and her son Nyagdo. The implication is of course that the field is a dependency of the main estate, and could not be inherited separately as Namkha claims it was.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 26

Date: water Dragon year, 9th month, 22nd day, friday (1892)

Lines: 14

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Record of a meeting of the five Shöyul, held in Tshognam, at which one or two officials called centsug are appointed from each of the communities.

dar kha gsuṃ yod |

1. § chu ’brug zla ba dgu pa’i tshe 22 tshe re za dpal bzang nyin |
2. yul ga lnga po’i mchod tshigs yig gi ’dri don la | sngon srol pha med
3. nang rtar gyis yul ka lnga po tshogs rnaṃs du ’dzoṃ nas | sngon srol rtar
4. gyis bcan tsugs | mi dus bsu la bkos kyang | man bzer ba med
5. pa | sted yul pa spyi lags kor rtags XX tshugs yul pa spyi lags skor rtags XX
6. stang yad yul pa spyi lags skor rtags XX | btsang le yul pa spyi lags skor XX
7. gya ga yul pa spyi lags skor brtags X § | dgongs gsal nang rtar
8. bsu la bkos nas man bzer ba sha^r (shar tshe) dngul 2 bzha’ za zhu za med
9. spa yul ga lnga po’i mi mang lags rtags X
10. § stang yed nas {gnyar} spyan gtsugs tshe sri nyi ma yin pa’i ’dzin |
11. § tshugs yul nas spyan brtsugs steng ma gu ru dang | tshe skyab zla ba yin pa’i ’dzin |
12. § sgya ga yul pa nas | spyan tsugs nyi ma rdoe (rdo rje) yin pa’i ’dzin |
13. § btsang les nas | spyan tsugs dpal bzang yin pa’i ’dzin |
14. § sted yul nas | spyan tshugs ga drug ti^n (tan ’dzin) dang | bkun’ (bkun dga’) bsaṃ drugs yin pa’i ’dzin |

1. re gza’ pa sangs 2. yul kha; chod tshig yi ge ’bri 3. nang ltar; su ’dzoms nas; su {la} bskos kyang; man zer 5. spyi lag skor 7. gong gsal nang ltar 8. su {la} bskos nas man zer; zhaza zhuza (< zhu ba) 9. pa yul kha; mi dmangs


Friday, the 22nd day of the 9th month in a water Dragon year. The purpose of writing this document of agreement among the five communities is as follows: according to the past custom of our ancestors, the five communities assembled in Tshognam, and according to tradition, whoever was appointed as centsug or midü was not allowed to refuse the appointment. (Crosses are placed to signify that the document has been approved by being circulated from hand to hand among the representatives of the five communities in turn: Te, Tshug, Taye, Tsele and Gyaga.) If, as stated above, it should happen that someone who is appointed refuses to accept, he shall pay 2 rupees with no excuses. The assembly of the five communities agree to this by placing a mark (cross).

The centsug of Taye is Tshering Nyima;

The centsug of Tshug are guru of Tengma and Dawa of Tsekyab;

From among the people of gyaga, the centsug is Nyima Dorje;

From Tsele, the centsug is Palzang;

From Te, the centsug are gadrug Tenzin and Kunga Samdruk.

Regarding the term centsug, see LT/01, note to line 8. Variously spelt, the term appears in numerous documents of Baragaon to signify a category of official. In the case of the five Shöyul the role of the centsug is nowhere specified. Around the middle of the twentieth century the warden (spyi khyab) of Baragaon had a team of eight centsug. The term midü (again, variously spelt) occurs in documents from the Panchgaon communities to denote an official similar to a headman (usually rgan pa). Since no midü are named in this document, it is likely that the term is being used here as a synonym for centsug. Note that Tshug and Te, the largest of the five Shöyul, provide not one but two centsug each.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 27

Date: No date, probably 1912

Lines: 11

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs


Account of the history and fiscal status of the priestly estate of Lower Tshognam; probably the draft of a petition prepared by Lama Tshewang Angyal in a legal battle with his cousin Namkha over inheritance of a dependent property.

1. § bhin stis pa star phul sdon | blaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan dang phur pa dbang mo gnyis spun ’byung nas | don tshogs rnaṃs mgon pa mgon rnying rgo bkri mgon ba
2. ’byung pa la brten nas | ngos mee (me me) rig ldan nas mgon pa’i sti ro byes bzhing dad
pa yin pa la | bla ṃa rigs ldan tshe la zlas nas | i pa’i phur pa dbang mo zhus lam | i pa’i phur pa dbang mo mo rang naṃ shi rgo bkris
3. gi thogs nas mo rang naṃ shi gzhing cigs sa bon ma ṇa blcngo (bco lnga) ’gro pa’i gzhing cigs dang khang pa cigs skrad nas zur shags bzhags pa yin | slar byes su sgo
4. kris gi rgyu i pa’i tshe ’das phyin sgo kris gi mgon pa la phyir logs byed rgyu’i yige (yi ge) zos nas bskrod dugs pa bzhing dang khang pa mi rnaṃs kyi si ri
5. gyal Zzhabs rinoe’i (rin po che’i) rti ro dang sgo krid la phogs pa’i gha sti rtsu rman sgang po ngos nas ’byang pa yin | i pa’i la nya lu spun gnyis ’byung
6. zhing nya lu nyag rdo dang ’od gsal rdoe (rdo rje) spun gnyis nas skyangs | sgo kris gi zhing khang pa kho rang spun gnyis nas rtsal pa med | byesu (byes su)
7. ’od sal rdoe (rdo rje) bu naṃkha’ (nam mkha’) mi khyaṃs mi i pa’i rgyu ngos la ’byor dgos zer nas | bha ra rga’u ra nyaṃ sma bu ston mi dgra coṃ gyaltod (gyal stod?) gnyis dang |
8. kho ba rang ’chaṃ zhing ngos la sgo kris rgyu i pa’i kho la skrad dgos zer nas rtson la rgyags ’khrims stang nas ha ma dgos par ’di ru yong
9. pa yin | sngon {2S} zla thub mi thogs bdrug bdun gi bar sgo kris sti ro si ri Zrgyal Zzhabs la ’phul dgos dang yul {yul} la sti ro
10. ngos nas byed pa yin | i pa’i naṃ shi khang pa sdad sa dbyar po dang pho sga za rgyu’i zhing i pa’i shi brten sgo kris la phyir logs byed rgyu’i
11. sgaṃ rgya yod pa la | kho rang nas phi rin haṃ songs gi ngos la ’dugs po stang ’byung pas | ’di rgyu kho bo sgugs ’byang gnang nas bka’ ’khrim



1. binti patra ’bul don; spun byung; dgon pa dgon rnying guṭhi dgon pa 2. byung ba la rten nas; dgon pa’i tiro byas zhing bsdad; tshe la ’das; ibi phur pa; zhu lam; shi guṭhi 3. thog nas; zhing gcig sa bon mana (SMT ma gtogs);zhing gcig; khang pa gcig sprad nas zur shag bzhag; slar rjes su 3.–4. guṭhi’i rgyu; guṭhi’i dgon pa la phyir log; bzos nas sprad ’dug pa zhing dang 4.–5. śrī rgyal zhabs; tiro dang guṭhi la ’phog pa’i gaddi cuman?) gang po; nyal bu spun gnyis byung 6. zhing nyal bu; nas kyang; rjes su 7. bāhragāũ 8. btson la rgyag khrim btang nas ha ma go bar 9. da thug mi thog drug bdun gyi bar guṭhi tiro śrī; ’bul dgos dang yul la tiro 10. sdod sa g.yar po dang pho ba; guṭhi la phyir log 11. gan rgya yod; pharep hang song gis; sdug po btang byung; gugs ’chang gnang


The purpose of submitting this petition: Lama Rigden and Phurpa wangmo were siblings, and because the old temple of Tshognam was a religious cooperative (guṭhi), my grandfather Rigden lived there as a tenant. After Lama Rigden’s death, in accordance with my great-aunt Phurba Angmo’s wish, she was given a dependent building and a field with a capacity of 15 mana for use until her death according to the terms of a guṭhi. Later a document was drawn up and given to her, to the effect that after her death the guṭhi’s property should revert to the guṭhi temple; we [the main family] paid all the tenancy costs to his Majesty’s government relating to the field, the house and the occupants as well as the gaddi cuman liability for guṭhi.
    My great-aunt had two natural children. These two illegitimate brothers, Nyagdo and Ösal Dorje did not seek [to acquire] the guṭhi field and house. Later on, however, Ösal Dorje’s son Namkha, that vagrant, claimed that he should receive all the property of his grandmother. he befriended Dracom and gyaltö, two (meaning uncertain) of Baragaon, who told me that all my great-aunt’s property should be given to him. They made a legal case for my imprisonment without knowing [the details of the case], and that is why I have come here [to court].
    For the past six or seven generations we have had to pay guṭhi rent to his Majesty’s government, and I have been paying rent to the village [of Tshug]. There is a contract stating that the house that was lent to my great-aunt to live in and the field for her sustenance should revert to the guṭhi once she had passed away. Since [Namkha] has been causing me hardship with his outrageous falsehoods, [kindly pass] a judgement whereby he should be arrested for these reasons.



This document is one of a number, including UT/31, UT/32 and UT/33, that relate to a dispute over the inheritance of a house in Lower Tshognam. This house had been given to Phurba Angmo by her elder brother Rigden on the condition that it revert to the main estate on her death. Phurba Angmo’s son Lama Ösal Dorje, and his son Namkha, made a successful legal claim that the house was theirs, and this document forms part of Tshewang Angyal’s counter- claim. The fact that it ends abruptly suggests that it is a preliminary draft. The basis of Tshewang Angyal’s argument is that the house is not privately owned but is classified as guṭhi land. The term guṭhi derives from the Sanskrit goṣṭhi, “an assembly, meeting, society, association, family connection, partnership” (Monier-williams). According to Regmi,
    In both India and Nepal, the term gosthi or guthi was originally used to denote an association of persons responsible for the management of religious and philanthropic land endowments. The use of the terms to denote the lands endowed, rather than the body formed to supervise the functions to be discharged with the income, probably started only after the gorkhali conquests. It was also after the conquests that religious and charitable land endowments in most parts of the country came to be known as guthi. (Regmi 1976: 47)

I have no information about the scale of the taxes paid on guṭhi land in Mustang, but it is likely that the amount was smaller than on government-owned raikar. For the category of tax payable on guṭhi property the document gives the term gha sti rtsu rman. Similar expressions are used in two documents from Tshug, dating from 1904, with reference to payments that had to be made in relation to the nunnery of gönpa gang. One refers to the collection of rtsu ma ṇi. The other contains the line: bhis thun tsu ma ṇi | gha sdi sogs gang byung skyang | ngos yul khags bzhi yis byo mo snyaṃ la ’khur dgos... : “we nuns of the four communities are collectively responsible for whatever [dues] there may be, such as bhis thun, tsu ma ṇi and gha sdi.” The Nepali term to which bhis thun corresponds is not clear, but may be connected to beṭh, “Rent for land paid in kind” (Turner); tsu ma ṇi/rtsu rman probably stands for the word cuman(i), “kissing”, and gha sti/gha sdi for gaddi, “throne”. Until further information is available, we may conclude tentatively that these are all categories of taxes or other payments on religious estates that were considered at least partly to be symbolic gestures of loyalty or sub- servience to the Nepalese Crown.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 28

Date: fire Dragon year, 10th month, 24th day, Sunday (1916)

Lines: 12

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Agreement between Anchorite Namgyal of Baza (the priestly estate of Te) and several other parties that items belonging to his late wife that were sold following her death should be recovered and held in trust until her young son attains his majority.

1. § mes drugs zla pa 10 tshes 24 res sa 0 nyin bha sa tshaṃ pa rnaṃ rgyal nas chod rgya yies (yi ges) bris nas
2. ’bul sdon la | ngos kyis chung dmar kung ka tshes las des nas rgyan gos rtsong nas
3. chung dmar spun rnaṃ kun dzong dzad nas byes su kags a mal slebs nas kags gaga (ga ga) rtags
4. la dang | tshong pon cang drugs nyis nas smis la spa star dzad pa la | snyis chogs ha
5. gos nas | rgyu sogs phar slogs tshur blogs dzad rees (re res) snyis chogs ha gos
6. pa des sdon la su thad nas rgyur pa med pa dang blad nas bla brang nas snang
7. pa’i zhing dbul ma dza 1 dngul 10 | ser kyis kyis ghor g.yu byur cab sang (altogether) | ’tshes
8. dbang mes bhar kred gos dang | bu tshe dbang mes bhar la sma thigs na (inherit)
9. blar rlab rang rang la chir logs nas ’u tshes {1S} smos bhar la snang chogs pa
10. des sdon la rgyur pa smed pa tshaṃ pa snaṃ rgyal stags X | cha pang gaga (ga ga) rtags la chags rtags X |
11. tsang lis rten chos rgyab rtags X | tshugs stei^n (sten ’dzin) dzi rtags X | rgya ga khrol (khro rgyal?) rtogs
12. rtags X | bris mis su min bla chin par sa | bkris (bkra shis)

1. me drug; res gza’ 0; mtshams pa 2. ’bul don; ngos kyi chung ma; tshe las ’das; btsong nas 3. chung ma’i spun rnams rkun tshong mdzad nas rjes su kags amāl 4. tshong dpon; gnyis nas mili-patra mdzad; gnyis phyogs 5. phar log tshur log mdzad; gnyis phyogs ha go 6. de don la su ’thad; ’gyur ba med; slad nas; nas gnang 7. gser gyi ske ’khor g.yu byu ru cabsang 8. sprod dgos; ma thigs 9. slar bla brang rang la phyir log nas; gnang chog pa 10. de don la ’gyur ba med pa mtshams pa; cha dpang; phyag rtags 12. ’bri mi {su} min (SMT < ming) lacchin


Sunday, the 24th day of the 10th month in a fire Dragon year (1916). A written document of agreement issued by the Anchorite Namgyal. After the death of my wife Kunga, her siblings clandestinely sold her jewelry and clothing. I subsequently went to the government office in Kag, where the noble Tagla and the merchant Cangdrug drew up a document of reconcilia- tion. Both sides understood: both sides agreed that the property and so forth should be exchanged back again, and that no one should change this; and furthermore, that the field named Ulzama that had been given to her by the priestly estate and which has a value of 10 rupees, the golden necklace, the turquoises and corals should all be given to [our son] Tshewang Membar. If they are not directly inherited by Tshewang Membar, they should be returned to the priestly estate itself and [later] given to Tshewang Membar. In confirmation that they will not diverge from this agreement, the following set their marks: Anchorite Namgyal; the Noble Tagla, acting as witness; Ten Chögyab of Tsele; Tenzin of Tshug; Trogyal (?) of gyaga. The scribe was Lacchin Prasad. Blessings.

Kunga was born into the Lower Tshognam estate, possibly a daughter of Tshewang Angyal and Chökyi, who moved to the priestly estate of Baza, in Te, when she married the occupant, Anchorite Namgyal. following her death some of her jewelry and a field that she had owned were sold by her siblings. her husband Namgyal successfully contested the sale, and was able to persuade the local legal authorities to have the property returned to the estate, and the buyers reimbursed. The document raises interesting issues about inheritance rules. It must be assumed that the jewelry and the field had belonged to the estate into which the late Kunga was born, or else it would have automatically reverted to her husband’s family. Namgyal, her widower, is not claiming inheritance rights to his late wife’s property, but contends rather that it should pass to their son, after being held in trust by her family for an unspecified period (presumably until his majority). In present-day Baragaon, a woman’s jewelry is generally inherited by her daughters. The archive contains another document (LT/07), the will of a nun, in which the author apportions out various jewels and other domestic items to a number of younger women including her grand-daughters or great-nieces. In the event, Kunga had no daughters, which is almost certainly why her property passed to her son. Among the signatories to the document, it is likely that Tenzin of Tshug was the relative of the late Kunga who was responsible for selling his deceased kinswoman’s property, while Ten Chögyab of Tsele and Trogyal (?) of gyaga were the purchasers who agreed to return the items following the intervention of the dignitaries Tagla and Cangdrug.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 29

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 30

Date: wood Bird year, 6th month, 21st day (1885)

Lines: 20

Script: ’khyug and ’khyug ma tshugs


Agreement to combine the social activities surrounding two calendrical ceremonies into a single event.


1. bcngo mchod pa’i yig (bco lnga) mcho pa’i yig |
2. blaṃ (bla ma) nas sluṃ so bzhi thal pas de zla ba dang po’i tshe 15 la tsi rgyu mchod

3. pa yin | a khu rdoe (rdo rje) dang | karma phuo^gs (phun tshogs) 2 la gnyer kha las |

1. § shing mo bya lo hor zla drug pa’i tshe nyi shu gcig nyin | bcngo (bco lnga) mchod pa’i {pha mtshan nas}
2. blaṃ (bla ma) btsos mdzad pa’i | pha tshan dros tho[g nas] | bcngo (bco lnga) mchod pa’i | bzhing gi thogs dang | dngul gang
3. yod thaṃd (thams cad) | sngon srol nang bzhin | mchod pa ston nas | lhag lus nas ’bre bcngo (bco lnga) yod pa ’di bros
4. thogs nas | sda bsas zla ba’i tshe bcu’i nyin | sbyin dag gaga (ga ga) do yon nas | nas zo 13 rluṃ dang | nas bre sdo
5. yi phe | mchod sman mtshan thub 1 dang | g.yas g.yon mchod me re | {d}mar dkar rkyan mar cas ton
6. rgyu mchod pa dang | gaga (ga ga) do yon naṃ brong bar du ’o | nas bre phyed gyis chos bru dang | rluṃ kyang phog ’rgyab pa’i
7. mi dam rgyu yin | bco lnga mchod pa la sdo phor pa zad kyang dang | da zas cho ga la bco lnga chod pa’i mi ngo phor pa
8. zad kyang yin | nga khyod | khyod nga zer sa med pa mchod pa mi cu suṃ lags rtags X | do yon nas mi don mi byed
9. zer nas | ngo logs byed na chad pa rluṃ zo bcu gsuṃ ston rgyu yin | ’dzin mi gyur pa do lags rtags X |
10. mchod pa ’dzoṃ pa’i dus tshod | shar kyang sa bros thogs la | ma ’dzoṃ na ’chang skal chad rgyu dang | ma zad
11. ma rgyes ’tshaṃs du slebs pa ’byung | ’chang non ’tsham man tang rgyu ma tog sngon la ’di tsam la song zer

12. nas yang yang btang sa med | rgal srid ’chang ma nas ngos sos byas nas | ’chang lhag ma tang na | ’chang
13. gzhu pa’i mi dang | thung mi gnyis phyogs nyes chad rluṃ zo ree (re re) yin | pha tshan rnaṃs kyang thuegs (thugs rje) cheno (chen po) ree (re re)
14. rnaṃs nas | ma ṇi btong 1 ma btang bar du | lags las byas sa med | lags las byas pa thong tshe rluṃ so ree (re re) ’o |

(different hand)
15. § lcags spre zla 8 tshe 1 res za 2 nyin | bco lnga mchod pa’i chod tshigs yi ge bris don |
don rtsa | sbyin bdag nas
16. phogs sgyabs rgyu yang | dal gi zhugs la phogs sgyab rgyu dang | dal dus nas zhag bcu nas phogs ma gyobs phyin
17. nyes ched mi ras la rluṃ zo ree (re re) {1S} zhu za med pa ston kyang chod phan tshan lags bskor rtags X |
18. zla se mchod pa la rluṃ zo ba bcu ston rgyu yin lags | bkra shis |

(different hand)
19. § phogs rgyab dus chang rluṃ zo phyed bdun sbyin bdag rnaṃ nas rtsir rgyu yin legs |
bkra shis |
20. § sdoṃ zo ba gu bcu thaṃ pa dang zo pa phyed | chod pa’i chang rgyu shar nas | ma tshang na nyer kha gnyis gun khur gyu yin |

Emendations (selective)
2. gtso mdzad; gros thog; zhing gi thog 3. ’di bros 4. thog nas; dasāĩ zla; glum dang; nas ’bre do 5. phe (SMT < phye); mchod me; dkar rgyan dmar bcas ston 6. rgyu chod pa; nam grong; mchod ’bru dang; glum kyang phog brgyab 7. ’dom rgyu; dasāĩ cho ga; mchod pa’i mi 8. mi bcu gsum 9. ngo log; glum zo 10. sa ’gro thog; chang skal 11. gyes mtshams su; chang non mtshams; gtong rgyu ma gtogs 12. gtong sa med; gal srid chang; chang lhag ma btang 13. zhu pa’i mi; ‘thung mi 14. stong 1 ma; lag las; mthong tshe 15. ‘bri don 16. phog rgyab 17. nyes chad mi re la glum

Paraphrase and Commentary
The 21st day of the 6th month in a wood Bird year (1885). The document concerns the integration of the social activities surrounding two calendrical rituals, the “fifteenth-Day Ceremony” (bco lnga mchod pa) and the Dasain Ceremony. The former is financed by the yield from one or more dedicated fields, as well as contributions by a fraternity (pha tshan) responsible for its management. Although it is not specified, these contributions are likely to include the interest payments on an endowment that has been divided among the fraternity members. As in the past, there is a surplus in the funding for the fifteenth-Day Ceremony. (The Dasain ceremony continues to be celebrated in several communities in Mustang; its purpose is to offset the bad karma generated by the national Dasain festival, which entails the sacrifice of large numbers of animals.) In the present case, the ceremony is held on the tenth day of the same month as the fifteenth-Day Ceremony (corresponding to October). It is generously funded with barley, beer and butterlamps by the Noble Döyön, who is the brother of Tshewang Bumpa and therefore a cousin of Ösal Dorje. Döyön has undertaken to finance the ceremony every year until his death. The groups responsible for the organisation of the respec- tive ceremonies have agreed to combine their resources and to drink together on both occasions. If Döyön should ever withdraw his patronage he agrees to pay a fine of thirteen zo ba of fermented grain. People should gather immediately the ceremony begins. If they are late they will forfeit their share of the beer that has been served before their arrival. Those in charge of the beer should not show preferential treatment to anyone. If they do, both those who serve the beer and those who drink it shall pay a fine. Before completing a thousand revolutions of their prayer-wheels the participants may not engage in other manual tasks (such as carding wool or spinning).

Monday, the 1st day of the 8th month in an Iron Monkey year (1920). Procedures for appointing people who are to be responsible for the organisation of the ceremonies, and specification of fines in the event of delinquency.

Specification that the patrons should prepare beer by squeezing 6.5 zo ba of fermented grain. There are altogether 90.5 zo ba of fermented grain, and if there is any shortfall the two stew- ards should make it up at their own expense.

HMA/LTsh/Tib/ 31

Date: Iron hare year, 6th month, 25th day (1891)

Lines: 15

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs


Loan of 6 rupees by the Tshognam of lama (probably Ösal Dorje), against security of a field, to enable her to pay overdue land taxes to the Braga sector of Tshug.

§ jo mo yees (ye shes) mkhro’i (mkha’ ’gro’i) yieg (yi ge) lags |

1. § lcags yos zla ba 6 pa’i mtshe 25 res za migs dmar la | ngos mtshugs ’jo mo yees (ye shes) mkhro’ (mkha’ ’gro) la ’bragr (’brag dkar) yul pa’i thuegs (thugs rje)
2. mcheno’i (mchen po’i) zhing thogs las spa ’di mkhar la brag gar yul spa nas lde spyang byed nas zhing thog bhi khu zin ’dus | sdi nyin
3. mtshogs rnaṃ bsku zhabs blaṃ (bla ma) dang mtshugs sgen mtshe mchos 2 nas ’bragr (’brag dkar) yul spa dang jo mo yees (ye shes) mkhro’ (mkha’ ’gro) 2 skyis
4. bhar ’duṃ zhibs par skyis dngul ljag rtsis snang nas zhibs par rten rten mdzad nas | ’jo mo yees (ye shes)
5. mkhro’ (mkha’ ’gro) {nas} la zhing thogs gi bhi khu dngul 6 phogs nas | ’bragr (’brag dkar) yul spa la ’byang sgyu ’byung song | yang
6. ’bragr (’brag dkar) yul spa nas dgongs rtar dngul 6 spo ta spe rta spyug nas sgags speo zo ’dus || ’jo mo
7. yees (ye shes) mkhro’ (mkha’ ’gro) dang a pha oyn (o rgyan) nor ’bu pha bu snyis mtshogs snaṃ bla ’brang ’du yong nas sku zhabs blaṃ (bla ma)
8. la gong gi dngul 6 spo sku zhabs blaṃ (ba ma) nas dken skyang cigs snang rog mdzod zhu ba dang dngul 6 skyangs
9. blaṃ (bla ma) nas snang spa yin | gongs gi dngul 6 spo ’di bsang lo zla ba 6 pa’i mtshe 26 nyin ngos bhed spyabs
10. zang stogs ’byang byed sgyu mchod spa yin | ga si la ’byang ma nus she^r (shar tshe) | zhing sngon zo ba zhi sa yin pa ’di
11. ’di rto la phul spa ’jo mo yees (ye shes) mkhro’i (mkha’ ’gro’i) rtags X | pha bu snyis mkha’ ’brig gi thogs nas dbu sur
12. med rtod zhu spa dbu brgyan nor bu’i rtags X | dgong mtshigs ’di snaṃ thong thos skyis cha spang la |

13. mar spa’i ldan su snaṃ gi — se X | dgong rtar la mtshugs ’brag gar god mtshang gi — se X|
14.’bragr (’brag dkar) mags spa spel sbyor gi — se X | yigs ’bris sgen mtshed mchos rtsas pa’i ngo
15. zhi bzhugs yod la | bkris (bkra shis)

2. zhing thog las pa ’di khar {la}; ded ’chang; byas nas; thog bigu zin dus; ’di nyin 3. rgan tshe; yul pa; 2 kyis 4. bar ’dum zhib pas dngul ljags rtsis gnang nas zhib 5. zhing thog gi bigu; ’phog nas; sbyong rgyu byung son 6. gong ltar; {ta} peta (Seke < dpe; see note) bcug khag po bzo dus; jo mo; bu gnyis; bla brang du; 8. po sku; nas kenkyang (SMT); gnang rogs mdzod zhus pa; 6 kyang 9. gnang ba yin; gong gi dngul 6 po; sang lo; tshe 26; ngo ’bed 9–10. cabsang tog sbyong byed rgyud chod pa; gal srid {la} sbyong; bzhi sa 11. dhito la phul ba jo mo; bu gnyis kha ’grig gi thog; usur (SMT? see note) 12. med do; zhus pa; gong tshig ’di rnams mthong ’thos kyi cha dpang 13. den (Seke) bsod nams; sāhi; gong ltar la 14. mag pa; yig ’bri rgan; gtsos pa’i ngos 15. bzhi bzhugs

Document belonging to the nun yeshe Khandro.

Tuesday, the 25th day of the 6th month in an Iron hare year. Concerning the outstanding rent owed by the nun yeshe Khandro of Tshug on the field in Braga [dedicated to the ceremony] of the great Compassionate One, the people of Braga apprehended her and seized [some of her property] as restitution. On this day, the reverend lama of Tshognam and Tshechö, the headman of Tshug, mediated carefully between the villagers of Braga and the nun yeshe Khandro; the sum of money was calculated and the matter thoroughly investigated. The nun yeshe Khandro was liable for a sum of 6 rupees that she had to pay to the people of Braga. Then the people of Braga voted that this sum of 6 rupees should be paid, which made matters difficult. The nun yeshe Khandro and her father Ogyen Norbu came to the priestly estate of Tshognam and asked the reverend lama to lend them the abovementioned sum of 6 rupees for a short while, and the lama lent them the 6 rupees. It was decided that the principal and the interest on this sum of 6 rupees should be repaid in full the following year, on the 26th day of the 6th month. The nun yeshe Khandro confirms that, in case she is unable to repay it, she has offered her Ngön field with a capacity of 4 zo ba as security. She sets her mark (cross). following an agreement between father and child, there shall be no contestation, and to this the former, Ugyan Norbu, sets his mark (cross). The witnesses who saw and heard the above, Sonam from Marpha (cross) and, likewise, götsang of Braga (cross), and the son-in-law Paljor of Braga (cross) place their marks in confirmation. The four of us, including our leader the headman Tshechö who acted as the scribe, were present. Blessings.

Line 11, dbu sur: the etymology of this term, usur, is not clear. It is used in SMT to signify something like “contestation” or “opposition”.

Line 13, ldan: this syllable probably represents the Seke term ten or den, signifying “person of —”. Thus timiten denotes a person of Timi (the Seke name for Te), and dzongden someone from Dzong. The term would be appropriate for Marpha, which is a Seke-speaking community.