Above all I would like to thank the community of Te for permitting Nyima Drandul and me to photograph the archive that constitutes the content of this work. The research leading to this book was carried out within the framework of the Nepal-German Project on High Mountain Archaeology (1992–1997), with funding from the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). I am grateful to the director of the project, Dieter Schuh, for inviting me to join the team of researchers. My sincere thanks are also due to: Angya Gurung, Christoph Cueppers, Niels Gutschow, Jens-Uwe Hartmann and Christian Seeber. Permission to live in Nepal for the duration of the research was granted thanks to a research association with the Centre of Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) of Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur. For their help with the task of preparing the syllable index, I would like to thank Kami Gurung, Dorota Kaniewzka, Charlotte Ramble, Olivia Ramble, and Caroline Topouzoglou. Many of the photographs of documents were edited and substantially improved by Allen Miles. For supporting the production of this volume I am indebted to the Faculty of Oriental Studies of Oxford University and to the Kalpa Group.

Click on the links below the images for a transliteration and transcription.

HMA / Te / Tib / 01

Date: Female Wood Pig year (1815?)

Lines: 40

Script: ’bru tsha


1. oṃ swa ti | ku gsum yong ’dus rtsa brgyud bla ma la | mgo gsum dgus pas
2. phyag ’tshal (skyabs su) ’chis | rgya pa’i ’dus su zas tsang sras su khrung | sde gnod gsum
3. gyi brten pa’i (rgyal mtshen) rtsugs | ’gro kun ma rigs mun pa gsal mdzad pa’i | mnyams
4. med shakya’i rgyal por phyags ’tshal lo | rgya rgar chos kyis chu gter chen po las
5. dam pa’i bcud ’dus kun gyis snying chud nas | brgyad khri bzhi stong nyam su lan mkhas pa |
6. sprul pa’i lo paṇ rnams la phyags ’tshal stod | zhes chod par byed pa sngon du rdzod nas |
7. chags rab dor ’dus su rjod na | kog bya pa’i yul ’dir | khyung po (brgyud dang) | yang ba (brgyud dang) |
8. spar brten brgyud pa bcas brgyud pa gsum du dus skyang | lce stong dgon pa dbon po bla ma bhi byu
9. yab sras bcas kog du (sbyon nas) dbon po brgyud bcas brgyud pa bzhi rdzoms du gnas bzhing |
10. sachariphu|phuserbogs|gserla|lagsummtshundang|tasolamtshungyisrirgya dang |
11. rlung rgya spyod bzhin lha bde mi bde ’di skyid phun gsum tshogs par lo mang song dug byes |
12. (bla ma) (mkhyen no) | bla ma mkhyen no | nor sags pa’i mtha’ ma mdzad pa mthong | bu skyes mtha’
13. ma ’chi ba mthong | mkhar tsig pa’i mtha’ ma gyel pa mthong |’dus byas rmi tag
14. mthong nas bsam glo kyo | bde yang gro zhon zla pa’i tshe bcu dgu’i nyin | blo bur du
15. char rgod drag po zhig tsan (thabs su) ’byung nas | yur mgor sho rag chen po ’byung nas |
16. lo shas bar du bka’ las byas kyang yur mgo mtshugs par thar | mtha’ khyar gro gos ’byung bzhing |
17. yul phyed rnar phyogs song zhing | yul phyed ted phyogs la yong pa yin | ted gyi yul du | na ’u
18. mrdzong nas gon drug lcang gi gtsos cim ldan brgyud pa chags dug | dar rgyas tshe ring gis gtsos
19. khyung po brgyud pa dang zla ba chos ’phel bcas dbon po brgyud pa rnams chags dug | yang ba brgyud pa
20. dang spar brten brgyud pa gnyis | ’a ga rgyud lo shas sdad nas slad du gter yul du chags dug | smu ga
21. yul phyogs nas skyang bu spra brgyud pa btshur yong gter du chags dug | na’u mrdzong dang khyung po brgyud gnyis
22. sngon la chags pas | gter yul khyung mrdzong dkar po yul ming su grags so | yul ’di yi ri
23. tsham ni | dbro ya la | gang zhur po | rta phag la | mu ya’i la | phung tshang gang mtshun gter
24. pa’i ri tsham yin | ’di yang shar ri (glang chen) tshogs bdag thur du chang pa | lho ri gya stags nub du mchong
25. dra | nub ri ’dod yon mchod pa’i lha mo zhugs dra | sbyangs ri brag dmar me ris ’bar ba | dmar
26. nag drag po’i gdon bgegs dzoms pa | phu na gu ru bsangs pa’i phug pa | tsha yi gter kha brgyun
27. chad med pa | zhabs nas dal ’gro glu’i dbyangs snyen | rgyun chad med pa stags du grogs pa | dpa’o
28. (mkha’ ’gro) rnams skyis byin gyi slobs pa’i gnas bder | phu ru pho lha shar rtsen snyen po | ’bar du
29. yul lha (yon ten) dkar po | rdo ru mo lha chu rgyal snyen po | yul phur bla mtsho yul
30. rdor bla shing phun gsum tshogs pa’i yul bder | sku brten chos lung sprul gsum | gsung brten
31. yum gyi glegs bam | thugs brten mchod brten rnams gnyis | dbon po’i (bla ma) (ldon grub) (rgya mtsho) |
32. yab sras rnams kyi gong pa (cig gis) bka’i snang pi | yul ’dir bla ma gu ru zhes pa’i dga’ bston
33. chen po lo rim ’zhin bya gos bka’i snang pa yin | ’di zhin chags rab bcung zhigs bya gos
34. gter yul thun mong nas skul bzhing | dbon po ngag dbang chos ’phel kyis skyid sdug ’byung
35. mtshul sogs sdo tsam mdzod pa dge | (bkra shis) | yul phyogs ’du ru bkra yang shis |
36. mi la tshe yi (bkra shis) shogs | nor la {dbyang}g.yang gi (bkra shis) shog | zas la bcud kyis
37. (bkra shis) shogs | mi nor zas gsum sdzom pa’i (bkra shis) shogs | char chu ’dus su ’beb par
38. shogs | lo phyug stegs du leg par shogs | nad mun mtshon ’khrugs bzhi par shogs |
39. yon bdag bla mchod dpon slobs rnams | (bsod nams) ri bo zhin du brten | (brgyud ’dzin) (nyi zla) bzhin
40. du gsal | snyen sgrags (nam mkha’) zhin du khyabs | (bkra shis) bde kyang dang ’dir bde legs shogs |


1. swa sti; sku gsum yongs; sgo gsum; 2. skyabs su mchis; brgya pa’i dus su; ’khrungs; sde snod 3. bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan btsugs; ma rig 4. phyag ’tshal; chos kyi 5. snying bcus; nyams su len 6. phyag ’tshal; zhes mchod par; mdzod nas; 7. mdor bsdus su brjod; 8. gsum du ’dus/bsdus kyang 9. gnas zhing 10. la gsum tshun; ta so la tshun gyi 11. song ’dug rjes 12. nor bsags pas mtha’ ma zad pa 13. mkhar btsigs pas; ’gyel ba; dus byas mi rtag; 14. bsam blo skyo; de yang gro bzhin; glo bur 15. btsan thabs su byung; shorag < shwa ’od?; byung nas 16. dka’ las; btsugs pa mthar; mtha’’khyar ’gro dgos byung zhing 18. mrdzong 20. lo shas bsdad; chags ’dug; nas kyang 21. rdzong dang 22. khyung rdzong; ming du 23. mtshams ni; tshun gter 24. ri’i mtshams; thur du ’phyang pa; rgya stag 25. ’dra | nub; bzhugs ’dra; byang ri; me ri 26. ’dzoms pa or ’jom pa; gsang ba’i; gter kha rgyun 27. dbyangs snyan; rtag tu sgrogs pa 28. kyis byin gyis rlobs; gnas der; shar btsan gnyan po; bar du 29. yon tan; mdo ru; chu rgyal gnyan po 30. mdor bla; yul der; sku rten chos longs; gsung rten 31. thugs rten; mchod rten rnam; don grub rgya mtsho? 32. rnams kyis dgongs pa gcig gis bka’ gnang pas; dga’ ston 33. rim bzhin bya dgos bka’ gnang pa yin; ’di bzhin; cung zhig bya dgos 34. bskul zhing 35. tshul sogs; mdo tsam; ’di ru 36. bcud kyi 37. ’dzoms pa’i bkra shis shog; ’babs par 38. shog | lo phyugs rtag tu legs par shog | 38. zhi bar shog 39. dpon slob; bzhin du brtan 40. snyan grags; bzhin du ’khyab; legs sho


1–6 (Homage to the lamas of the lineage, to the Buddha Shkyamni and to the translators and scholars.) (7) A brief account of the origins [of Te]. In the (lit. this) community called Kog there were three clans together: the Khyung po clan, the Yang ba clan and the sPar brten clan. The dBon po lama Bhi byu of lCe stong temple came to Kog with his son(s), so that, with the dBon po clan, there were altogether four clans living there. (10) They made their territory the extensive hills and valleys on the near side of Ri phu, Phu ser bogs and the gSer la Pass—those three passes—and on the near side of the Ta so la Pass. The gods and the people were glad. But after many year of blessed happiness had gone by—the lama knows, the lama knows!— they accumulated wealth, but at last they saw it disappear; sons were born to them, but in the end they saw them die; they built a castle, but eventually saw it fall. And seeing the impermanence that marks the passage of time they grieved. For on the nineteenth day of a midsummer month, there suddenly (15) came a violent torrential rainstorm, causing severe damage to the head of the irrigation canal. In spite of their efforts over the course of several years they were unable to restore the head of the canal, and in the end they had to leave. Half the community went to Nar, and half came to Te. In the community of Te there settled the Cim ldan clan, led by Gon drug lcang, from Na’u rdzong; the Khyung po clan led by Dar rgyas tshe ring, and the dBon po clan represented by Zla ba chos ’phel. (20) After spending a few years in ’A ga, the Yang ba and sPar brten clans subsequently settled in Te. The Bu spra clan came here from the sMu ga area and settled in Te. Because Na’u rdzong and the Khyung po clan had been there first, the village was named ‘the Treasure Community, the White Garuda-Fortress’ (gTer yul khyung rdzong dkar po).
    The territorial boundaries of this community are as follows: the dBro ya la Pass; Gang (probably Gangs) Zhur po; the rTa phag la Pass; the Mu ya’i la Pass; and Phung tshang Gang (for sGang or Gangs?)—the land that lies within these boundaries belongs to Te.
    In the Eastern Pasturelands there is [a rock resembling] the elephant [god] Gaea, facing downhill; in the Southern Pasturelands is a [rock] resembling an Indian tiger leaping towards the west; (25) in the Western Pasturelands [there are rocks] that look like the seated forms of the goddesses of offerings that please the senses. In the Northern Pasturelands is a red cliff having the appearance of a blazing fire mountain, with an assembly of crimson harmful and obstructive sprites. (Or, taking dzoms for ’jom pa, “...a blazing fire mountain that subjugates the crimson harmful and obstructive sprites”.) In the upper part of the valley is a secret cave of the Guru (i.e. Padmasambhava), and an inexhaustible salt mine, and at its foot runs the gentle stream from which the sweet music of the serpent-spirits plays without pause. In the upper part of this valley, that is blessed by heroes and kins, stands Pho lha Shar btsan gnyan po; in the middle is Yul lha Yon tan dkar po, and in the valley floor is Mo lha Chu rgyal gnyan po. Above the settlement is a soul-lake, (30) while below it is a soul tree. In that excellent settlement are [representations of] the dharmakya, the sabhogakya and the nirmakya as supports of the body; volumes of the Prajñpramit as supports of speech and, as supports of the mind, two sets of stpas.

    The dBon po lama Don grub rgya mtsho and his son(s), acting unanimously, gave instructions that, every year, the community should hold a major ceremony called the ‘Bla ma gu ru’. At the insistence of the ordinary people of Te that I, dBon po Ngag dbang chos ’phel, should write a short account of Te’s origins, (35) I have set down here in brief the vicissitudes of the community and other such things. May good fortune befall the community; may its people be blessed with long life; may their livestock be blessed with the propensity to good fortune; may our food be blessed with wholesomeness; may people, livestock and food be blessed with abundance; may the timely rain fall; may we have fine harvests and cattle; may illness and armed conflict be dispelled; may patrons, chaplains and teachers be as firm in their merit as mountains; may the lineage holders (of the dBon po clan?) shine as brightly as the sun and moon, and may their fame be as pervasive as the sky; may all be auspicious.

Although this account was clearly written long after the events it claims to describe, there is little reason to doubt its general historical reliability. Of the six clans that are named here, five are still flourishing in Te. The sixth, the dBon po, died out several generations ago. The author of this account is himself a dBon po, and another document in this collection, HMA/Te/Tib/25, does refer to other members of the clan. The term dbon po is currently used in Baragaon to denote a category of married Buddhist householder-priests, notably those of the settlement of Chongkhor in the Muktinath Valley, but in the present case it is clearly also a proper name.

7. Kog: with the exception of lCe stong, from where the lama is said to have come to Kog, all the places named in this document are identifiable. The most remote of the sites, and historically the most important, is Kog, which is located several hours’ walk to the north-east of Te (see fig. 4). The main settled area of Kog is built at the southern end of a plateau, on the top of the cliff that plunges into the gorge of a tributary that joins the southward-flowing Yaktsang River from the east. The earliest available date for Kog, based on C-14 dating of wood recov- ered from the walls, is the tenth century (Christian Seeber, personal communication). On the very edge of the cliff, a short way to the west of the cluster of houses, are the ruins of what appear to be a small fortress with a northern wall just 32m long. The western wall, which runs to the very edge of the cliff, measures 18.70 m. To judge from what is left of the remaining walls the ground plan of the building was not a regular shape, but since the part of the clifftop on which most of the construction stood has fallen into the gorge, we can have no idea of the original size or form. It is possible that, as the documents suggests, the fort collapsed before the settlement itself was completely abandoned.
    The plateau on which Kog stands is formed of conglomerates with a high proportion of fine sediments—an ideal land for grain production. There are two tiers of shallow field terraces, covering an area of some 500,000 square metres, exposed to the south, east and west, and therefore the whole arc of the day’s sunshine, while remaining protected from the wind by the high ridges encircling it at a distance.
    The irrigation tunnel that fed the fields ran for perhaps a kilometre inside and parallel to the cliff face until it emerged onto the plateau just east of the village and shed its waters into the reservoir by the nucleus of houses. Several other settlements in the area had tunnel irrigation systems, but the only surviving example is in Taye, the settlement immediately to the south of Te. The document’s assertion that the main reason for the abandonment of Kog was the collapse of its irrigation system is substantiated by visible evidence: standing on the cliff edge near the settlement, it is possible to see the tunnel opening into a void where the cliff has slid away, disastrously interrupting its passage to the fields. Two juniper beams in front of the tunnel suggest a valiant, but presumably futile, attempt to throw an aqueduct across the gap left by the landslide. There is an area of fields east, and therefore uphill, of the point at which the tunnel meets the plateau, suggesting that there must have been another, probably smaller, canal. The document does say that the inhabitants struggled on for a few years after the irrigation system failed, implying that some limited cultivation must have been possible.

8. Bla ma bhi byu: Lama Bhi byu features in the local folklore as the founder of both Tshug and Te. The name is variously pronounced ‘Biju’ and ‘Bijuwa’, and probably represents the Nepali term bijuw, meaning a sorcerer (< Ssk. vaidya).

20–25. Na’u rdzong, ’A ga, Bu spra, sMu ga: Na’u rdzong is situated directly to the east of Te, on the high trail that runs north-south between Tangkya and the Muktinath Valley. A ga (pronounced ‘A’) is located several kilometres to the north of Na’u rdzong, on the way to Kog, also on this thoroughfare. Ruins of buildings and evidence of settlement are still to be seen at both sites, which are now the location of corrals for Tepa herders and their animals. sMu ga denotes the Muktinath Valley, and more precisely the settlement of Dzong and its environs. A well- known story in Baragaon has it that a settlement called Butra was located on a hillside just to the west of present-day Putra, a short distance to the west of Dzong, but that it was destroyed when the entire promontory on which it was built broke off and slid to the bottom of the val- ley in the course of a catastrophic landslide. Whatever the truth of this account may be, it is possible that “Putra” is simply a recent pronunciation of Butra: an undated, but apparently early, document in the present collection (HMA/Te/Tib/55) does in fact refer to the settlement of Putra as Bu ’bra.

26–27. “An inexhaustible salt mine”: this mine, known as Tshaurong (Tsha’u rong/ Tsha bo rong) in Baragaon and as Chaparu in Nepali documents, is situated about half an hour’s walk upstream from Te in the gorge of the Narshing River. A local story has it that the salt was originally deposited there by Padmasambhava in the course of a visit he made to convert the area to Buddhism. A number of distinctive features in the rocks are revered as prints of various parts of the saint’s body. People of Te and Tshug make free use of the highly concentrated saline exudations from the cliffs, but the right to make and sell crystal salt is held by the Thakali Serchan family. In a collection of private papers in Nepali shown to me by the late Sankarman Serchan, a number of documents, dated 1928, state that the exclusive right to exploit the salt was granted to his father and uncle, the subbas Mohanman and Hitman. The arrangement was that they could develop the salina and sell the salt free of tax for a period of ten years, and thereafter pay 75 paise per maund (37 kg) of salt produced. It is not clear whether the arrangement began in 1928 or earlier. Note that the Serchan family’s monopoly on the salt trade ended in 1927. A later document, dated 1936, states that Mohanman had secured the contract following a payment of 10,000 rupees. The agreement may therefore have begun in 1926. Some of the documents in Sankarman’s papers also reveal that the family were under investigation in 1928 for trying to pass off taxable Tibetan salt as duty-free Chaparu salt.

28–29. Pho lha...: the three named divinities, Pho lha Shar btsan gnyan po, Yul lha Yon tan dkar po, and Mo lha Chu rgyal gnyan po form a triad of territorial gods who are worshipped with animal sacrifices in the course of several annual ceremonies.

32. Bla ma gu ru: the Lama Guru, the main annual ceremony in Te, is a week-long event that is held in the Te first month (usually December: the Te calendar begins a month earlier than the Agrarian [so nam] calendar that is followed by most of the communities in Mustang.) The core of this festival is apparently a set of sixteen devotional songs that may have been com- posed by the dBon po lama to whom the creation of the event is attributed in this document. A detailed description of the Lama Guru, as well as the ceremonies that precede and follow it, is given in Chapter 8 of the Navel of the Demoness.

HMA / TE / TIB / 02

Date: Female Wood Pig year (1815?)

Stitched booklet of 36 pages

Script: tshugs; some ’khyug


Transliteration (first and last line of each plate)

p. 3.              shing mo phag lo la yin
p. 4, l.1.        shing mo phag lo la ster yul pa ka kros

p. 5, l. 6.       kas yin | kyi mo khrang kra yan | kod
p. 6, l.1.        yan | ring lag yi’i kas yin | sten dru man

p.7,l.6.          mdzeb dbug han bal lag yi kas yin
p. 8, l. 1.       rtsang spo ya ri han|kra dum han bal po yi

p. 9. l. 7.       krang ka ma thob na dru klog kyu yin
p.10,l.1.        ring lag yi ka yin|zhag mo nyi shu

p.11,l.6.        gyang pa cu bu zo ba cu sum cu sum rol po yi
p.12,l.1.        sham pa yi rus dbu snyung pa’i gyang pa cig

p.13,l.6.        yong {S}dzo bo ri ka la gyab du ba glang
p.14,l.1.        mi khyer pa’i ang med | rol po ’khor pa’i

p.15,l.6.        bi’u lag[1]ul gyu mi yong|rol po gyan
p.16.l.1.        rgyab dus chang gyang pa snyis zhim po yi ma

p.17,l.6.        pho mo (thams cad) snga’ bcu lngas ngas snga la thar kyu
p.18,l.1.        yin thar cang rgyang pa zhi ston kyu yin

p.19,l.6.        spa rgyang pa cig dgan rol zhes kyu yi[n]
p. 20, l. 1      dgan rol ’khor pa’i dus a las do bras

p. 21, l. 6      dbang med | dgad po ko na yang mi gro ba’i
p.22,l.1.        sted pa yul pa ka’ bdros lcam snas

p.23,l.6.        yin | gro ma gos |na| tshab nas [1S]
p.24,l.1.        spang tsa lo khor ma na khur bung bu

p. 25, l. 4–5.  na chad pa tsam gyab na ang | (bkra shis)
p.26,l.1.         ang med|mi gro na a las zho med yin 

p. 27, l. 4       ma byed na | (bkra shis)
p.28,l.1          kyu yin | sngan ma sngan ma sham ma sham

p.29,l.6          na yang na zho gang yul spa [1][oms]
p.30,l.1          kyu yin|su yi ngo la tsar cod mi byed ang me

p. 31, l. 6       grong ba ’tshang ma ma khyer pa’i dbang med
p.32,l.1          [m]i mang chos dus drug cu res snga mar

p.33,l.5          za kyu yin zhu ba med | (bkra shis)
p.34,l.1          chu pho lo’i bzla tshes la lted g.yul

p.35,l.5          nas yi gi ’di bsar ba bris pa yin


p. 3. Title: “This is in the female Wood Pig year”.

pp. 4–10. The geographical ranges of responsibility for different categories of messengers and remuneration—in cash or grain—allocated to them are specified. The titles of the messengers, who are appointed to run errands on behalf of the community, are contractions based on the term ’u lag. The messenger with the longest range is the bal lag, who must travel as far south as Kathmandu (Bal po) and as far north as sPra dum, a trade-mart on the north side of the gTsang po river in Tibet. The ring lag’s range extends north as far as the Kore La, which marks the border between Nepal and Tibet. In present-day Te there are also messengers with a more limited geographical range, notably the bar lag and the thung lag, respectively for ‘medium’ distances and for affairs in the near vicinity of the settlement.

pp. 11–13. Beer allocations for the ceremony to mark the end of office for the constables, and additional beer allocations to accompany the swearing of oaths (dbu snyung).

pp. 13–15. Keeping certain types of livestock within the settlement area is prohibited at specified times of year; villagers who fail to attend the ceremony for the selection of the consta- bles are to be fined; anyone who has been assigned a special task by the headmen is exempt- ed from normal duties.

p. 16. People who brew beer for ceremonial occasions must swear an oath about the quality of beer they have made; the quantity of beer to be allocated to the community is specified; fines are to be levied on those who make sub-standard beer; the presence of the three constables on these occasions is obligatory.

p. 17. Monks and nuns are partially exempt from tax.

p. 17–19. Tax exemption for people over the age of 55, and rules regarding retirement ceremonies (thar chang); restrictions on collection of firewood and dung by households other than full estates (grong pa).

p. 20–21. Allocations of food and money to the headmen and constables at the respective ceremonies for their appointment and on other occasions; the headmen must link hands when they swear their oath of office; villagers must perform any task assigned them by the headmen, even if they are elderly.

p. 26. (Continued from p. 21.) It is forbidden to appoint under-age substitutes to represent one in community meetings.

p. 22. Specification of a payment of 8 rupees (zho gang), by young and old alike, for a purpose of which the meaning is not clear.

p. 23. The duties of certain categories of messengers.

p. 24–25. The headmen are to be allocated three donkey-loads of meadow grass (each? From each household?); cattle, donkeys and goats may graze on the stubble of the harvested fields only at specified periods; once the fields have been planted, anyone who allows animals to stray into fields will be fined.

p. 28–30. Continued from p. 26: further regulations for the messengers; dice (or another form of lottery) should be used on certain occasions to establish order; fines are to be imposed for certain violations.

p. 27. Continuation from a page that is apparently missing: concerning the duties of messengers.

p. 31. Monkey year: conditions for the inheritance of estates by sons whose fathers have died.

p. 32–33. Restriction on people over the age of 65 from participating in certain events. (It appears that the retirement age at this period is ten years older than the 55 years specified above. The retirement age at the present time is also 55 years.)

p. 34. Water monkey year: property rights for the wife of a polyandrous marriage when one husband dies and his widow becomes divorced from his brother (she keeps half and the surviving husband the other half); property rights of widows (they keep the entire estate); “because the headmen and stewards lost the documents, this document has been newly written”.

This document is a booklet of 36 pages in a cloth cover. (The inner back cover is written on, and the covers are therefore included in the pagination above.)
    The archives of Te contain a number of documents in which odd regulations have been written down. The earliest evidence that such regulations were assembled and codified is contained in this small booklet of seventeen pages, bearing no title other than the date, the Female Wood Pig year (probably 1815). Page 4 seems to say that the document lists forty points and that the arbiter in any disputes will be the lord. The exact number of points is far from clear. The concluding line of the document offers a clue about the circumstances under which these regulations might have come to be between the covers of a single booklet. The last two items, concerning widows’ property-rights, appear in an addendum dated Male Water Monkey year (1872?). The entry is followed by the statement that “As a consequence of the headmen and stewards having lost the documents, this has been written down anew”.
    The remark may refer only to the last entry, but it is clear from the variety of hands in which many other passages are written that the booklet was not compiled all at one time. It is a compendium of regulations that were set down as the subjects with which it deals arose as contentious issues and were resolved. Some of the pages—notably 22–23, 24–25 and 27—are out of sequence and belong to incomplete passages. The fact that they appear to be older that the remainder of the text (this is especially apparent for pp. 22–23) suggests that the document is ‘recycling’ paper from an earlier compilation.

HMA / TE / TIB / 03

Date: Water Monkey year, 6th month, 3rd day, Saturday (1992)

Stitched booklet of 24 pages, six lines per page; p. 1: 2

Lines; p. 24: 3 lines 

Script: ’bru tsha; some ’khyug

Every twelve years, in a Monkey year, the Tepas hold a meeting to examine their existing written constitution. The meeting is called the Gö Sogwa. Gö, which in Tibetan means ‘necessity’ or ‘use’ (dgos), is the usual term in Te (through only rarely in written documents) for ‘law’, and as such corresponds to the Tibetan word khrims. Sogwa is a Seke verb meaning to ‘invert’ or ‘turn upside down’ (probably < Tib. zlog pa). The Gö Sogwa, then, is literally ‘The Turning Upside-down of the Law’. The meeting continues for about two weeks, and during this peri- od the assembly decides what is to be set down in the new lawbook. The assembly in question is the yupa (< yul pa) gathering, that is, the senior male member of each of the forty-six active estates. Each of the issues is raised in turn, and after a period of discussion the matter is put to a vote. Under the supervision of the headmen and constables (who, as estate-holders, also vote), each person places a stone in the pile that signifies either support or opposition. The stones are counted and if the majority votes against the prospective rule the matter is closed; if a majority is in favour the rule is written into the new constitution by whichever priest of Tshognam or Baza happens to be acting as scribe.
    Once the constitution has been compiled the old one is destroyed (unfortunately for the social historian) and the new document is placed in the care of the steward. The last Monkey year fell in 1992, and a new set of laws was duly drawn up. The lack of any real distinction, mentioned above, between the concepts of ‘law’ and ‘custom’ is revealed on the title page of the booklet, which advertises its contents as ‘the new customs of the community of Te’. Many of the thirty-five clauses in the document are elliptical to the extent that they refer to institutions with which the Tepas are very familiar. While their significance may be obvious to the villagers themselves, a certain amount of explanation is in order here. In the following treatment, the roman numerals correspond to the numbers of the clauses given in the text, while sub-clauses are identified by lower-case letters that have been added for the sake of convenience. Emendations are provided at the end of each page; the translation and commentary are organised according to clauses rather than by pages.


p. 1.
gter yul gyis dpes srol gsar ’du zos pis | chod tshig yig ges bzhug yod pa legs so |
             dpe srol gsar du bzos pas; yi ge bzhugs 

p. 2
1.bod bsod nams chu sprel zla 6 tshes 3 res gza’ span pa’i pa’i nyin |
2.ster yul rgan mi grags lung pa dpe bskal bka’ gros gcig mthun gyi
3.mthun gyi thog dpe srol gsar du bzos nas chod tshig yi ge bris don la |
4.don mtshan dang po | mchod pa zhing sngar so so la yod pa bzhin rang rang byed rgyu ’gyur bcos med | II shing ’thu rgyu’i bskor la tshogs rnams dgon dang’u dgon pa gnyis la ster yul shing ’thus nas zhag gsum rjes su

       1. chu spre; re gza’ spen 2. mi drag; dpe skal 3. {mthun gyi}; ’bri don 4. don tshan 5. skor la


1.shing mi khur lnga dang | dug shing ’thus nas zhag gsum rjes su
2.shing mi khur lnga ’thus rgyu yin | III bla mi mgur la lo bco brgyad nas
3.nyi shu rtsa lnga ’bar la na gzhon glu bgar byed rgyu dang | nyi shu rtsa drug nas
4.gsum bcu ’bar la khyim bdag glu gar byed rgyu yin | gsum bcu so cig
5.nas gsum bcu so lnga ’bar la zhag gcig nyin mo bgar rtse rgyu yin |
6.’gal srid gar rtse la su rigs nas ma yong na nyin re sgor brgya re zha
7.zhu med pa chad pa sbyangs rgyu yin | IV yul nas ’phral mthon nas

      1. dug: see commentary 2. ’thu rgyu; bla ma gu ru la 3. bar la; glu gar 4. bar la 5. bar la; gar rtse 6. gal srid; 6–7. zhazhu (SMT < zhu ba) med; sbyong rgyu; khral thon


1.phyis mi nang mi su mthon kyang zla gcig ma tog yul du ’dod sa med |
2.zla gcig song nas zhag gcig thos pa dad na sgor stong gcig su yi
3.nang du dad kyang khang bdag rang nas sbyangs rgyu yin | slar yang yul du yong rgyu byung|zlabagcigmiyuldu’dadnasmatogyulduyongsamed|
5.rjes su bsam btang ’dren skyes kyi yul rang du ’phral sbyangs nas ’dad rgyu yin
6.bcas yul la bskyid bsdugs zhus na | sgor nyi khri (20000) tham pa ster yul

      1. phyi; ’thon kyang; ma gtogs; sdod sa 2. thol pa bsdad na 3. bsdad kyang; sbyong rgyu 4. bsdad nas ma gtogs 5. ’dran skyes; khral sbyang nas sdod 6. skyid sdug

p.5 ’bul nas ma tog dad mi mchog|V grwa pa jo mo
2.grwa sa grim nas bod chos rong chos sogs chos chos bzhin du byed ma togs|grwa pa jo mo yin bcas mthar sa med|grwa pa jo mar log ’byung na mi mang nang bzhin las don gang ci’i thogs
5.las ka byed rgyu yin | VI yul ’dzom rgyu’i thad lo che rim ma togs ’dad nas bu ’dzom mi mchog | gcen po ’dad nas gcung po

      1. phul nas ma gtogs sdod mi chog; 2. ’grims nas 3. ma gtogs; thar sa 4. byung na mi dmangs; ci’i thog 5. ma gtogs


1.’dzom rgyu {nang} nam yang byed mi mchog | VII ri klung gang la’ang tshe ston
2.mi mchog | ’gal srid su rigs nas tshe gal pa gcig khyer ba mthong tshe
3.sgor brgya re chad pa zha zhu med | zhing gi rtsig pa ldib nas de la tshe yod | yul gyi rgan rol la zhus nas ma tog nang du khyer mi mchog | VIII
5.zhing snga rgyu’i thad | zhag du{s} ma sleb par zhing snga rgyu byung {cha}na | yul la sgor brgyad
6.dang kha thag gtsug nas zhus na sngon la zhing snga mchog | IX nang du pha

      1. mi chog; ri klungs; mtshe ston 2. mi chog; gal srid; mtshe mgal pa 3. zhazhu (SMT < zhu ba); brdibs nas 4. ma gtogs; ’khyer mi chog 5. rnga rgyu’i; rnga rgyu 6. kha btags; btsugs; zhing rnga chog

p.7 bza’ tshang sogs mi rtags ’chi bas rkyen pas ya ’bral sogs
2.byung na | zhag bzhi bcu zhe dgu ma tog bsdugs khur mi mchog | zhing btab
3.nas zhag drug bcu nas zhing rgya ram pa zhag gsum lag pa’i spi rgyu ma tog
4.zor rgyab mi mchog | X gnas tshang ka gnyen ’gru pa yar ’gro mar ’gro yul rang ’dad na ma tog | gtsang po ’das nas rtsa sprad mi mchog |
6.gnas tshang yin bcas su rig nas rtsa sprad na | ka li rer sgor lnga re chad pa sbyang

      1. mi rtag ’chi ba’i rkyen; ya bral 2. ma gtogs sdug ’khur mi chog 3. phyud (?) rgyu ma gtogs 4. ’grul ba yar 5. bsdad na ma gtogs; sprod mi chog 6. su rigs; khili (Nep. packet, roll); chad pa sby- ong


1.rgyu chod | XI lcang ma shol bu sogs gtsug shing gtsug na | rang gi gdong

2.po nas ma tog gzhan nas gced mi mchog | ’gal te gtsug shing gced
3.dgos na rgan rol la spyan ’bul zhus nas ma togs gced mi mchog |
4.XII yur chu yi yur sgo chu yi khyer na chu thag gi rka mtsham ’bar | mi mang lo bcu gsum yar dang drug bcu re lnga mar tab nas zo rgyu chod yin | chu thag rka nas sten rtsa rka bar zo rgyu byung na chu re dgu

      1. lcang ma gshol po; btsug (?) shing btsugs; gi sdong 2. ma gtogs; bcad mi chog; gal te btsug shing bcad 3. ma gtogs gcod mi chog 4. chu yis; rka mtshams bar 5. mi dmangs; mar stabs; bzo rgyu 6. sten rtsa (?); bzo rgyu; ’chu res dgu


1.bcu go lnga nas bzo rgyu yin | yur chu rtsa ba nas chu yi khyer na
2.ko ra la man chad grong go spyad yan chod | snye shang la tshur stabs bang mi
3.btang nas ma yong na | sgor lnga brgya chad pa sbyangs rgyu mchod pa yin | XIII
4.sngar srol ltar bco brgyad drug bcu na ri la ’gro dus | ’gro ba’i dgong mo ma
5.tog snga gro rtse mo rtse mi chog | de’i phyi nyin g.ya’ rdzogs sgang la bco brgyad
6.d rug bcu tshang ma ’gro rgyu dang | de’i phyi nyin sman la tshang ma ’gro rgyu yin |

      1. chu yis 2. yan chad; ’bangs mi 3. sbyong rgyu chod 4. snga srol 5. gtogs snga dro


1.yul nas mi ’dzam gling phyi rgyal gang du phyin kyang | yu ra la cha la ma
2.non tshe ’bru zo ba gnyis dang sgor lnga bcu tham pa zha zhu med pa sbyang rgyu
3.yin| zla 3 tshe 12 nyin bco brgyad drug bcu na ri la zhag cig ’gro du de yulnangnasmisuma’gronasgorlngabcurechadpayod|XIV
5.yul rgan pa bkos rgyu’i thog | yul ’tsho che chung gsum du bgos nas
6.’tsho re re nas rgan pa re re rgyan rgyab rgyu chod | rgan pa khur rgyu’i skar mi nyin

      5. sko rgyu’i; yul tsho 6. tsho re; ’khur rgyu’i

p11 ma yong tshe nye chad sgor stong gsum re zha zhu med pa sbyangs rgyu dang tsha sogs nas yong ma thub na rgan tshab khang pa’i ka la kha
3.thag bkon rgyu yin | rol po yang ’bar tshogs bzhi nas re re rgyan rgyab
4.rgyu chod | mda’ btang rgyu ni rol po bzhi nas so so’i srang nas mda’ btang
5.rgyu yin | rgan rol gyi tshab los sa med | rgan rol khur du ma yong na

      1. zhazhu (< zhu ba); sbyong rgyu; 3. btags skon rgyu 4. brda gtong 5. klod sa; ’khur du


1.chad pa sgor stong gsum dang | ’khor dus ma yong na chad pa sgor stong gsum
2.byangs rgyu chod | yang rgan pa gcig dang rol po gnyis yul btang nas
3.zhag gcig yang phar tshur ’gro mi chog | ’gal srid phar tshur ’gro nyin rer sgor brgya re nye chad yod | yul bsrung rgyu’i tshab dang chu re
5.bskor rgyu sogs la | rang lo bcu gsum yan chod kyi los yul
6.du rgan rol ga tshod yod kyang snga ’gro (chu tshod) bcu dang dgong mo (chu tshod)

      2. sbyong rgyu 3. gal srid 4. yul srung 5. skor rgyu 6. snga dro


1.bzhi la klu la blta’ bskor theng gnyis res bskor rgyu chod | ’gal
2.srid klu la blta’ skor ma theb na nyin rer sgor lnga bcu re nye chad yod | chang
3.tsos rgyu’i lta ka che chung gcig ma tog med | XV ri yi skor la kha chu
4.byung tshe | bdud ’gro la bag gsum dang mi la bag gcig ’gro song btang rgyu yin |
5.XVI tshe thang | kyu ldan | dangs ra nyi rim pa gsum la bdud ’gro ’dad rgyu’i lhe
6.dang khang pa yul nas zos rgyu chod pa yin | lus dang ril ma tshang ma khyim

      1. klungs la lta skor thengs gnyis re skor rgyu chod | gal 2. klungs lta skor 3. btsos rgyu’i; ma gtogs 4. bg gsum; bg gcig; gtong rgyu 5. mtshe thang; sdod rgyu’i lhas 6. bzo rgyu


1.grangs la bgos rgyu chod | XVII rgan rol rnams kyi thog tu drangs bden gyi skor
2.blta’ rtogs byed pa’i mi bzhi bskos nas mi bzhi nas kyang | zla re bzhin yul
3.’dzom nas rtsis byed rgyu chod pa yin | rgan rol rnams nas phyogs re then khyer
4.sogs byed nas drangs bden ma byed na | rgan rol rnams nas chad pa ’dab ’phar
5.grub rgyu chod | mi bzhi la skol chang zla re la shag zo bzhi re yul nas sprad rgyu
6.yin | mi bzhi la mthar chang dge ba sogs chang ga tshod ’thung rgyu yod na yang thob |
      1. drang bden 2. lta rtogs 3. ’dzoms nas; ’then ’khyer 4. drang bden; ldab ’phar 5. ’grub rgyu; bkol chang 6. thar chang;


1.mi bzha’i tshab kyi los sa med | mi mang nam rgyas ’bar la
2.mi bzhi dad rgyu yin | chang ’thung nas rtsod gleng byed nas skad ston pa sogs

3.byung na | las ’dzin nas slob bso theng gcig rgyab nas ma nyen na | sgor
4.lnga bcu chad pa zha zhu med | XVIII shing gi thad | rge rgon rgan tshang la

5.’gro na ma tog rgan shing thob sa med | XIX mthar chang zla ba bdun pa’i

6.sgo nas zla brgyad pa’i ’jug ’bar la mthar chang ston thub pa dgos rgyu dang
      1. mi bzhi’i; klod sa; mi dmangs; ’gas bar la 2. sdod rgyu; btungs nas; byas nas; bton pa 3. slob gso thengs gcig brgyab; nyan na 4. zhazhu (< zhu ba); rgad rgon 5. ma gtogs; thar chang 6. mgo nas; bar la; thar chang


1.zla brgyad pa nas ’phar ’gyang tshe ’bru zo ba lnga re chad pa yod | mthar chang

2.yang nyin mo ston rgyu yin | mthar chang ston mi la brten ’brel la sgor
3.brgyad re nas mar ma chag pa kha thag kha tshang gsar pa ’dri ma med pa me

4.btang tshad na rgyus rgyu yin | mthar chang mal ldag bza’ rgyu la | me btang
5.tshad nas bud med re re mda’ btang rgyu dang | phe phed ’chang la me btang tshad

6.nas bu re re shog bcas mda’ btang rgyud chod | XX yul du mi grags
      1. thar chang 2. thar chang 3. kha btags 4. brgyud rgyu; thar chang; maldag 5. brda gtong; phe-phe chang (see commentary) 6. gzhogs bcas brda gtong rgyu; mi drag

p.17 yong kyang | bca’ dngos bza’ mthung ji ltar dgos rung
2.rgan rol bdun nas rgan khur byed rgyu yin | ’gro song ga tshod ’gro
3.kyang mi bzhi rtsis byed sar ’dad dgos | rgan rol bdun dang mi
4.bzhi bcas khyon sdom mi bcu gcig la bza’ rgyu ’thung rgyu tshang yul nas thob|XXI yur chu la las byed skab|las mgo la ma non
6.sgor bco lnga dang | las bzhugs bar du ma yong na sgor lnga bcu chad pa yod |

      1. bza’ btung 2. rgan ’khur 3. sdod dgos 4. khyon bsdoms 5. byed skabs; las zhug (SMT < mjug)


1.XXII khyim grangs yul pa mda’ btong ma thag ma yong na sgor lnga chad pa dang | yul nam
2.rgyas ’bar ma yong na sgor nyi shu chad pa yod | XXIII klung gi nag bskor la rgan rol zhus nas ma tog nag gcad mi mchog | XXIV ’dzing bu’i las don bskor la
4.rang lo bcu gsum yar | rang lo drug bcu re lnga man ’dzing bu’i las ka la ma yong na

5.zhag gnyis la sgor nyi shu chad pa yod | yang ’dzing bu ston dus sgar rtse sar ma yong na

6.sgor nyi shu chad pa yod | bla mi gur la rang lo bcu gsum yan dang drug bcu re lnga man gzigs

      1. brda btang ma thag 2. ’gas bar; klungs kyi; don skor 5. ’don dus gar rtse 6. bla ma gu ru las

p.19 la tshes bcu nyin tshang ma yong dgos rgyus | ma yong na sgor nyi shu chad pa yod |

2.dgon pa gnyis kyang yul nang bzhin ma tog zhing la bdu ’gro btang mi mchog | btang

3.nas rgan rol lag tu theb na yul ltar chad yod | XXVI yur ra dang zhing sogs nas ston pa rgan rol lag tu theb na|’bru zo ba lnga chad pa yod|g.ya’ thang la
5.rtse yan chod dang | ’or rdo thang yan chod ma togs shing ’thus mi mchog | ’gal
6.srid man chod shing ’thus na shing khur re la ’bru zo ba lnga re chad pa yod | XXVII
      1. dgos rgyu 2. ma gtogs; bdud ’gro gtong mi chog 3. yur ba 5. ma gtogs; ’thu mi chog | gal


1.rang lo bcu bdun song na nang bag chud bzhin rang don ma tog gzhan gyi mi lag mi los |

2.yul pa tshogs ’dus chung ba yang rang lo bco brgyad ’bar la rang skal ma togs gzhan go

3.mi chod | XXVIII ’dzo bkug rgyu dang ra ’tsho rgyu thad rang lo bco brgyad yan dang drug bcu re
4.lnga man ma togs ’gro mi chog | lo tshad ma slebs bar ’gro na sgor nyi shu rtsa lnga zhag bzhin chad pa yod|grongs pa rang gal ra cang na ’dzi bu re re mthar|XXIX bla ma gur
6.gyi chang tshos theb ma theb chang tshos mi rang mna’ dags spud rgyu chod | XXX yur chu nas
      1. ma gtogs; mi glod 2. tshogs dus; bar la; ma gtogs 3. mdzo bkug 4. ma gtogs; 5. grong pa rang skal ra bcangs; rdzi’u re re thar; bla ma gu ru’i 6. {gyi} chang; mna’ dags spud


1.shag thang zhing la chu nam yang khyer mi chog | ’gal srid khyer pa byung na zhing

2.snang ma re re la sgor brgya re chad pa zha zhu med | XXXI dmang rtse chu re grigs nas

3.zhing che chung la ’phral khur rgyu yin | XXXII bza’ ston bzas la yul nang du
4.yod pa’i tshogs ’dus gar rtse sar ma yong sgor nyi shu rtsa lnga chad pa zha zhu|XXXIII gsum mdo yi ’khor du|lpag pa bang ba dang|dmar tsha dung ba|

6.ral bsad pa|sa ston pa|lpag pa brnyed pa|lud ston pa sogs nam yang
      1. ’khyer mi 2. zhazhu (< zhu ba) 3. khral ’khur 4. zhazhu (< zhu ba) 5. sbong ba; dmar tshwa brdung 6. ral gsed; sa ’don; lpags pa mnyed pa; lud ’don


1.byed mi mchog | ’gal srid ’gal ba shar tshes sgor lnga bcu re chad pa zha zhu | bskor bu gcig bu mkhal mchog | XXXIV ’dzing bu khang nas smug
3.kyu mthon na | chu ri re re nas mi gnyis re mthar rgyu dang | smug dkyu ma thon mi re re mthar rgyu chod pa yin | khru gu rang lo bcu gnyis mar btab shis na khang

5.nang gi mi zhag gsum ma tog bsdugs khur mi mchog | dgong gsal don
6.mtshan | XXXIV de la na tsha sogs ’byung nas yong ma thub pa sogs byung na
      1. gal srid; shar tshe; zhazhu (< zhu ba) 2. ’khal chog; 2–3. gang nas mugkyu (see commentary) 3. ’thon na; ’chu re re re; thar rgyu; mugkyu ma ’thon 4. thar rgyu; phru gu; shi na 5. ma gtogs sdug ’khur mi chog; gong gsal 6. byung nas


1.mna’ dags pa spud thub na mthar rgyu dang | na tsha sogs ha cang bsdug po

2.byung nas rdzong sar sman khang sogs la ’gros dgos nas nad pa kyal sar mi

3.bzhi lnga ’gro na yang | nad g.yog mi gcig ma togs mthar sa med |
4.gzhan rnams yar phyir log ’phral du dgos rgyus dang | yul du nad pa phyi la

5.mthon thub na | nad g.yog yin bcas mthar sa med | don de la
6.nam yang mi ’gyur ste {-u} lung pa khu shi dbra rtags res ’bul ’phral |
      1. mna’ dags pa spud; thar rgyu; sdug po 2. ’gro dgos; skyal sar 3. ma gtogs thar 4. dgos rgyu 5.
’thon thub; thar sa 6. khusi r[ji] (see commentary);


1.dgong du ma mthus pa | sku tsog gangs gi g.yas g.yon
2.nas sa nag ston pa su rig nas mthong tshe sgor brgya re chad pa zha

3.zhu med |
      1. gong du ma ’thus pa | sgang gi 2. ’don pa su rigs


p. 1. Contained herein is a document containing the revised version of the customs of the community of Te

p. 2. Saturday, the third day in the sixth month of the Tibetan Agrarian Water Monkey year (1992). This document has been written after revising the customs of the community of Te following an agreement on the basis of a vote by the headmen, officials and the [rest of] the community.The first point: the communal fields: these shall be kept as they are, according to their previous distribution without there being any changes.

II. Concerning the collection of firewood. The monasteries of Tshognam and Ga’u may collect five man-loads each of firewood three days after the community of Te has collected its wood, and they may collect five man-loads [of wood and dung] three days after [the community] has collected its wood and dung.

III. At the Lama Guru festival, those aged between 18 and 25 should perform the Young Peoples’ singing and dancing; those between the ages of 26 and 30 should perform the Householders’ singing and dancing; and those bet ween the ages of 31 and 35 should dance on one day in the daytime. If anyone does not come for the dancing and singing he or she shall be fined one hundred rupees per day, and no excuses.

IV. Those who, whether outsiders or members of the community, relinquish their tax liabilities, may remain in the village for no more than one month. If they stay one day more than one month,1000 rupees must be paid by the owner of whichever house they have lodged in. Should they later revisit the village, they may come to the village only after staying somewhereelse for one month .
    If, later on, they should miss [their homes] and would like to live in the village [again] as taxpayers, and request the community for full membership, they will be permitted to remain only if they pays 20,000 rupees to the community of Te.

V. Only if the monk and nuns fre quent their monasteries and are properly literate in both Nepali and Tibetan and act like religious people will they be exempted from duties as monks and nuns. If monks or nuns should turn apostate th ey must perform any kind of ta s k, like ordinary people.

VI. Concerning village meetings, only people of the highest rank should join the assembly: a son should never come while the father remains [at home], nor a younger brother while the elder brother remains at home.

VII. Ephedra may not be upro oted anywhere on uncultivated or on cultivated ground. Anyone seen carrying [even] one Ephedra plant will be fined 100 rupees, and no excuses will be accepted. If th e re is any Ephedra [exposed by] a field wall that has collapsed, it may be taken home only after requesting the permission of the headmen and constables.

VIII. Concerning the harvest: if someone must harvest his fields before the appointed day (zhag dus) has arrived, if he presents the community with 8 rupees and a white scarf, and asks permission, he may harve st his fields in advance.

VIII. Unlike other villages, which decide the date of their harvest on the basis of the weather, Te’s harve st begins a fixed number of days from the date of planting. In the case of buckwheat, this is exactly 100 days. Now not all fields receive the same amount of sunshine, but even though the crops in certain patches would have ripened befo re the official opening of the harvest had arrived, the owners were, until this constitutional change, obliged to watchthem wither in the fields.

IX. a. (p. 6, l. 6–p. 7, l. 1) If a household has any bereaved people as a consequence of the death of a father, mother spouse or whoever, in the nature of impermanence, its members may not remain in mourning for more than 49 days.

IX. b. (p. 7, l. 2) Sixty days after planting the fields [with buckwheat], for a period of three days the quitch grass in the fields may be [collected], but only by pulling with bare hands, not by cutting with sickles.

X. Animal fodder may be given to trading partners, friends and relatives, and travellers on their way up or down only if they stay in the village itself, but not once they have crossed the river. If anyone gives fodder to his guest, he shall pay a fine of 5 rupees per bundle of fodder.

XI. If someone makes a cutting from a willow or poplar or whatever, he may cut it from no tree other than his own. If someone needs to take a cutting, he may not do so except in the presence of the headmen and constables.

XII. If the Yurchu should carry away the [gabions by the] tunnel through which it passes, it has been decided that the whole populace over the age of 13 and below the age of 65 should repair it up to the beginning of the sluices at the water mill. If it is necessary to carry out repairs between the water mill sluices and the Tentsa[zur] sluices, the work shall be done by the 95 members of the irrigation roster.
    If the river carries away the Yurchu canal from its foundations, it has been decided that those who do not come after the messengers have been sent [to summon everyone] below the Kore Pass and above Drong-goce, and on this side of the pass into Nyeshang, shall pay a fine of 500 rupees.

XIII. When, according to past custom, people aged between 18 and 60 go to Nari, they may play [cards] only on the evening they go there, not on the following day. The day after [they arrive], everyone between 18 and 60 must go to Yadzog Gang, and the day after that everyone must go to Yemen.
Even if people from the village has gone to another country of the world, if they are not on time to go to the irrigation canals with everyone, they shall pay 2 zo ba of grain and 50 rupees without making excuses.
If, in the daytime of the twelfth day of the third month, the day on which those aged between 18 and 60 should go to Nari, anyone from the village does not go he or she shall be fined 50 rupees.

XIV. a. (p. 10, l. 4) Concerning the appointment of the village headmen: the community shall be divided into three groups according to age (che chung gsum), and each group shall cast lots to decide one of the headmen. If, on the astrologically appropriate day for choosing the headmen, someone does not come, he shall be fined 3000 rupees, and no excuses. If [one of the new incumbents] is seized by illness or whatever [away from Te] and is unable to attend, the pillar of his house shall be dressed with a white scarf in place of the headman himself.

XIV. b. (p. 11, l. 3) The constables too shall be chosen by lot, one by each of the four sectors.

XIV. c. (p. 11, l. 4) For calling meetings the four constables shall summon people from within their respective streets. No one shall be accepted as substitutes for the headmen and constables. Anyone who does not come for the selection of the headmen shall pay a fine of 3000 rupees, and if anyone has not arrived by the time the changeover is taking place (? ’khor dus) there will be a [further] fine of 3000 rupees.

XIV. d. (p. 12, l. 2) Moreover, one of the headmen and two of the constables may not leave the village and go anywhere for even one day; if they do go away they shall pay a fine of 100 rupees each.

XIV. e. (p. 12, l. 4) Substitutes [for the constables] over the age of thirteen shall be acceptable for watching the village [fields] and managing the irrigation circuit and so on. However many headmen and constables are in the village should walk around the fields twice a day to check them, once at ten in the morning and once at four in the evening. If someone does not fully accomplish his patrol of the fields he will be fined 50 rupees per day.

XIV. f. (p. 13, l. 2) There shall be only two Taka fields for making beer, one big and one small.

XV. If a dispute [with a neighbouring community] should arise over pastureland (lit. hillsides), the expenses shall be covered by payments of a ratio of 3:1, animals to people.

XVI. The pens where livestock stay shall be repaired and houses shall be built in Tshethang, Kyuden and Dangda. Manure and goat dung shall be divided up among all the houses.

XVII. Concerning the headmen and constables: four men shall be appointed to supervise their honesty and truthfulness. Furthermore, these four men shall check the accounts during a monthly meeting of the community. If the headmen and constables have been biased or deceit- ful and so forth, and have not been honest and truthful, they should repay in double whatever fines they have levied.
    Every month the four men shall be given beer by the community: four zo ba of warm beer each. At retirement celebrations, merit-making memorial rites and so on, the four men should be given as much beer as they would drink. No substitutes will be accepted for the four men. The four men must be present until meetings of the people are over. If, after people have been drinking beer, an argument should break out and there are people shouting loudly (skad bstan pa), if they do not obey the constables after one warning (slob gso), they shall pay a fine of 50 rupees without excuses.

XVIII. With regard to firewood: elderly men and women shall receive ‘elders’ wood’ only after they have entered their retirement quarters.

XIX. People must be able to hold their retirement ceremonies between the beginning of the seventh month [of the Te calendar] and the end of the eighth month. If one is held later than the eighth month there shall be a fine of 5 zo ba of grain. Moreover, the retirement ceremonies shall be held in the daytime.
     As an auspicious gesture, every hearth shall present the host of the retirement ceremony with no less than 8 rupees and a clean, new, stainless white scarf.

    For eating oil porridge at retirement ceremonies one woman from each hearth shall be invited, and one man invited from each hearth to the men’s beer-drinking.

XX. If any important people come to the community, the headmen and constables, those seven, should take the responsibility for [providing] whatever materials, drink and food are required. If any expenses are incurred, the four men must do the accounts. The headmen and constables, those seven and the four men, eleven altogether, shall be provided with all their food and drink by the community [until the business is concluded].
XXI. Whoever is late for the beginning of work on the Yur chu [canal] will be fined 15 rupees, and anyone who has not arrived by the time the work is over will be fined 50 rupees.

XXII. If people do not come as soon as they have been called for meetings of hearths or households they will be fined 5 rupees. If they have not arrived by the time the villagers have dispersed they will be fined 20 rupees.

XXIII. Concerning the field forest, the forest may be cut only after asking permission of the headmen and constables.

XXIV. a. (p. 18, l. 3) Concerning the work on the reservoir: if anyone above the age of thirteen and below the age of 65 does not come for the work he or she will be fined 20 rupees for the two days.
    Moreover, anyone who fails to come to the dancing ground when the reservoir is being cleared will be fined 20 rupees.

XXIV. b. (p. 18, l. 6) During the Lama Guru, everyone over thirteen and under 65 must come to the spectacle on the tenth day. Anyone who does not come will be fined 20 rupees.

XXIV. c. (p. 19, l. 2) Moreover, the two monasteries, like the community, may not let their livestock into the fields. If they are let into the fields and the headmen or constables seize them, the fine will be the same as for the community.

XXVI. (sic; there is no XXV: that number should probably have been inserted before XXIVc). Anyone caught by the headmen or constables taking earth from irrigation ditches, fields or suchlike shall be fined 5 zo ba of grain.
    Wood may be collected only above the cairn of Yathang and above Ordothang. If someone collects wood below these points there will be a fine of 5 zo ba of grain per bundle of firewood.

XXVII. Until a [young man] is over seventeen years old, he may act only on his own behalf as he would within his family, and may not be accepted as a hired worker.
    Furthermore, until the junior member of the assembly is 18 years old, he may deal only with his own affairs, and may not substitute for others.

XXVIII. Concerning the retrieval of dzos and goat-herding: only those who are above eighteen and below sixty-five may go. If someone who has not reached the proper age should go, he will be fined 25 rupees per day. If a household has its own goats, one herder shall be exempted from village duties.

XXIX. The people who make the beer for the Lama Guru must swear an oath about whether the [grain for the] beer has been thoroughly boiled or not.

XXX. Water may never be channelled to the Shagthang fields from the Yurchu. Anyone who does channel the water will be fined 100 rupees for every subsection, and no excuses.

XXXI. After the irrigation roster for the Mangtse area has been established, taxes will be levied according to the size of fields.

XXXII. If someone from the community belonging to the group [that does the dancing] at Zatönse does not come to the dancing area, he or she will be fined 25 rupees, and no excuses.

XXXIII. In the area of gSum mdo people should never tan (lit. soak) hides, pound chillis, whip goat-wool, remove earth, work a hide, or carry out manure. Anyone who violates this rule shall be fined 50 rupees, and no excuses. Only spinning is permitted.

XXXIV. a. (p. 23, l. 2) If the reservoir fills up and overflows, two people from each [household in each] unit on the irrigation roster will be excused from civic duties, but if it does not overflow, one person from each shall be exempted.

XXXIV. b. (p. 23, l. 4) If a child under the age of twelve dies the people in the house may mourn for no more than three days.

XXXIV. c. (p. 22, l. 6) Further to point XXXIV, if there is someone who cannot come because he is ill or whatever, he may be excused if he can swear an oath to this effect. If someone falls seriously ill and has to go to Jomsom hospital or wherever, even if four or five people go to carry the patient, only one person may be exempted from village duties as a helper to the patient. The others must come back up immediately. If a sick person in the village is capable of walking out of his house, there shall be no assistant who is exempted from village duties.

XXXIV. d. (p. 23, l. 5) The [people of the] community of Te gladly and willingly set their thumbprints [to affirm that] they will never deviate from these rules.

p. 24. Omitted above: if anyone sees a person taking black earth around (lit. to right and left of) Kutsog ridge, [the offender] will be fined 100 rupees.


p. 2, l. 4, mchod pa zhing: ‘offering fields’. A better reading, which is in fact more commonly encountered in documents from neighbouring settlements, would probably be chos pa zhing, ‘fields of the religious community’. In the case of Te, the term denotes the fields attached to the dBon po grong pa, one of the community’s two ‘dormant’ estates. Their char- acterisation as ‘religious’ derives from the fact that the now-extinct dBon po clan were the hereditary Nyingmapa lamas of Te (see HMA/Te/Tib/01). At the time of the cadastral survey these fields were registered as dharma guhi, ‘religious collective’ land, a category for which land taxes need not be paid to the government.
    In the late 1980s a huge retaining wall carrying an aqueduct to an area of fields on Thangka collapsed, and the fields became unusable. The worst affected was a large religious field that was being leased by a certain rGyal mtshan. Wi thout water the field produces nothing, but since the lease fee in Te is based on seed capacity, not yield, rGyal mtshan is still obliged to pay the fee. Since he is the only one who is losing out under the terms of the arrangement, it is in his interest that the retaining wall be repaired. The purpose of the clause then is to ensure that rGyal mtshan lessee should not return the field to the community but must keep paying the lease fee. It is entirely for him to choose between the two evils of leaving the field unproductive or incurring the considerable expense of engaging labourers to help him repair the collapsed wall. Either way, the community will receive its annual fee.

II. Fuel in Te is scarce. It consists for the most part of thorn bushes gathered at some distance from the settlement. Wood is supplemented by dung. The term for dung used in the clause is dug shing (p. 3, l. 1), a neologism apparently coined by the scribe by combining the Seke word for dung (dug) with the Tibetan (or Seke) term for wood (shing). Other rules concerning the collection of dung are given below. The intention behind allowing the two temples to collect their fuel three days after the period allotted the community itself is simply that villagers should be available to gather wood and dung on behalf of the priests in return for the usual payment of beer and food.

III. p. 3, l. 2, bla mi mgur, for bla ma’i mgur: this is the same ceremony that is referred to in the much older document HMA/Te/Tib/01 as “the great festival known as the Lama Guru” (bla ma gu ru zhes pa’i dga’ bston chen po, ll. 32–33). When I first visited Te in 1986 I had a discussion with some members of the priestly family about the possible etymology of the name, and suggested that, because of the central importance of a particular cycle of devotional songs, the name might have been a popular derivation of bla ma’i mgur or bla ma’i mgur glu, “The Songs of the Lama”. Although I no longer think this is the case, I wonder if the scribe of this document, who was a child at the time of my visit, might not have chosen this rendering based on his recollection of that conversation. (A description of the Lama Guru is given in The Navel of the Demoness, Chapter 8.)

p. 3, l. 3, na gzhon (< na so gzhon pa): ‘Young People’, a Tibetan translation of the Tepa category bön-tshame, ‘young men-young women’. The implication of this entry is that all those between 18 and 25 should participate whether married or not. Previously, only unmarried bön- tshame were obliged to take part in this episode of the Lama Guru. In the second group (26–30), nothing seems to have changed. The inclusion of the th i rd group (31–35) is an innovation—this age group was notrequired to dance in the past. Under the terms of the new constitution, they are obliged to join the category of the estate-holders for one day.

IV. When this document was written, Te had been far less severely affected than the rest of Bara gaon by the haemorrhage of its citizenry, but the trend in these surrounding communities was a cause for some concern. Nothing can be done to prevent people from leaving the village. They can, however, be made to think twice about doing so, and the present clause is, among other things, a means of imp ressing on would-be emigrants that the decision is not one to be taken lightly.
    The inclusion of the term ‘outsider’ in the first line is a pure ly rh etorical formula, since outsiders do not pay taxes to Te.

V. “Properly literate... like religious people”: literally “only if they do Tibetan religion and lowland religion and so forth, religion as religion [should be done]...”. The Tibetan word chos, ‘religion’, is far more commonly used to signify ‘book’ or ‘literacy’ in Mustang. The formulation rong chos...byed(p.5,l.2)has therefore been translated here as“to be literate in Nepali” rather than “to follow the Hindu religion”. In either case it is entirely decorative, since literacy in Nepali or adherence to Hinduism are both irrelevant as criteria of qualification as a proper monk or nun.
    Monks and nuns are exempt from the performance of communal tasks and from holding civil office. The clause is a sharp redefinition of who may legitimately avoid village duties on grounds of religious status.

VII. Ephedra (Tib. mtshe), a type of gymnosperm that grows fairly abundantly in Mustang, is used to feed goats that are penned at home. The roots can be dried for firewood. Ephedra grows thickly on the faces of field terrace walls, and helps to stabilise them. It would be very easy to tug a plant out of someone else’s wall and later claim, when challenged,that it had been collected on the high pastures. The rule is, therefore, designed to protect the field walls.

VIII. Unlike other villages, which decide the date of their harvest on the basis of the weather, Te’s harvest begins a fixed number of days from the date of planting. In the case of buckwheat, this is exactly 100 days. Now not all fields receive the same amount of sunshine, but even though the crops in certain patches would have ripened befo re the official opening of the harvest had arrived, the owners were, until this constitutional change, obliged to watchthem wither in the fields.

IX. a. Following a death in the household, people would go into mourning for months on end, even for as long as a year. Bereavement constitutes legitimate grounds for exemption from village labour, and it was felt that protracted periods of mourning were being used by the bereaved as an excuse to devote time and energy to their own households at the expense of public works.

IX. b. This sub-clause was probably omitted by oversight from no. VII I . That the planting refers to buckwheat (the second crop) rather than barley can be inferred from two facts: first that quitch-grass on field borders is still too short when the first crop is growing; and second- ly, the period when the buckwheat is ripening is also the time when thunderstorms are most frequent. The use of sickles is believed to attract hailstorms (as well as plagues of caterpillars). The restriction of grass collection to three days is aimed at preventing theft of grass from the margins of fields other than one’s own, as the activity is overseen by the officialdom as well as the collectors themselves.

X. The river in this case is the Narshing Chu, not the Kali Gandaki. The reason given by Tepas for this rule is to ensure that the dung of animals fed free of charge on hay produced in the village should not leave the village. The clause also means that, among other things, the Tshognam lamas—with whom the Tepas were having a dispute at the time this document was written—lost their traditional entitlement to free animal fodder.

XI. Willow and poplar trees in Te are privately owned. The requirement that branches be taken only under official supervision is intended simply to prevent villagers from stealing wood.

XII. Yur chu: a compound name combining the Tibetan words yur ba (irrigation canal), and chu, ‘water’. The Narshing River is trained along two routes for the purposes of irrigation. One of these routes branches off towards the lowest fields from a point in the riverbed itself, and the cultivated area is accordingly known as the Gravel-bar fields (Shagtang Zhing). The other branch leaves the river further upstream and runs along a canal to a higher area of fields, called Mangtse. This canal is the Yurchu. The junction between the river and the canal is possible only thanks to a huge dyke at the point where the river emerges from the long, narrow gorge that leads to the salina of Tshaurong. Rocks borne by the current cause this dam to collapse several times in a season. Because the cultivation of a large area of land depends on its existence it must be repaired as soon as possible. The community is responsible only for the section of the canal from the mole “up to the watermill sluices”. The stretch from this point up to the place called Tenzazur covers the entire area of Tongtse, the section of agricultural land that is irrigated by the Yurchu canal.

p. 9, l. 2: “Below the Kore La Pass ... the pass into Nyeshang”: variants of this formula turn up quite frequently in local documents and territorial rituals. The area so defined corresponds roughly to Mustang District, and probably to the original dimensions of the kingdom of Lo. (The Kore La Pass lies on the northern boundary between Lo and Tibet. Drong-goce is the Tibetan name of Narjang, a big Magar settlement just to the north of Tatopani.) The ‘messengers’ are the official couriers of Te. There are four categories of these, each concerned with carrying messages within a designated radius of the village. Those who deal with the longest ranges are called ring lag, while shorter distances are the responsibility of three sub-categories of thung lag. Ring and thung mean respectively ‘long’ and ‘short’, while lag is an abbreviation of ’u lag, ‘transportation duty’. (Although the term bang mi of the document has been amended to the more probable ’bangs mi, lit. ‘subject’, I have nevertheless translated it as ‘messenger’, since the original spelling has the fortuitous meaning of ‘galloping man’.)

XIII. This rule is a response to the drastic water shortage in Te, and aims to ensure that the digging of the irrigation canals is properly carried out. Nari is the site of a kind of base camp from which the Tepas go out on successive days to repair the high canals. Yadzog, the source of the canal called Yeren is located near Yagawa mountain at around 5500 m. Yemen and Mushag are high-altitude springs. The last sentence presumably belongs nearer the beginning of the entry.

p. 9, l. 5, snga 'gro [snga dro] (locally pronounced ngedro): in the dialect of Lo (but not that of Baragaon) ngedro does not have it meaning of ‘morning’ but rather ‘tomorrow’, or ‘the following day’.

p. 9, ll. 5–6, bco brgyad drug bcu: the lower age range required for this task than that specified for the repair of the Yurchu dyke—18–60 as opposed to 13–65— is due to the greater difficulty of this work.

XIV. All the subsections of this clause are concerned, more or less directly, with the recruitment and duties of the headmen and constables of Te. The extraordinarily complicated system of recruitment, and the significance of the changes prescribed by this clause, are discussed at length in Chapter 10 of The Navel of the Demoness. For the present, it will be enough to make a few brief explanatory remarks on each of the points.

XIV. a. Until this constitution came into effect the three headmen were recruited by means of a strategy involving the chance coincidence of nominations. Henceforth they are to be selected in the same way as the constables, by a lottery involving specially notched sticks.

XIV. b. A reaffirmation of a system that has already been in force for some time.

XIV. c. Until now, the method for summoning the village to a gathering involved the headmen and constables standing at the place called Puyungzur and calling out loudly in a stylised way. According to this new rule, the general summons must be preceded by a local one; the constables walk through the streets and alleys of their respective sector (each of the constables is recruited from one of the four sectors) and announces the imminent meeting.

XIV. d. Headmen and constables may leave Te for a few days at a time—lengthy trading trips are forbidden—but a minimum ‘skeleton staff’ of at least two constables and one headman must always be on hand in case of emergencies.

XIV. e. This rule is in the same spirit as clause XIV, which emphasises the importance of competence in the performance of duties. Until now, it has been possible for constables to engage substitutes to represent them at village meetings; even if the representative in question might be too young to contribute usefully to discussions he was, at least, a token physical presence to stand in for the constable. Henceforth, adolescent substitutes are acceptable only for menial tasks such as the two that are specified, viz., periodically checking the head of the irrigation canals in the autumn to ensure that they are not iced up, and making the daily tour of the fields to check that no animals have entered or terrace walls collapsed.

XV. The expenses in question are legal costs. Even people without livestock must pay something towards this, because it is for the common good, but livestock owners must pay proportionately more because they have a greater vested interest. The strategy of raising funds for legal costs based on ownership of livestock features in document HMA/Te/Tib/48.

XVI. Tshethang is situated a short distance from the Muya La Pass that leads to the Muktinath Valley. Kyuden lies between Te and the ruins of Naudzong (this is not the abandoned settlement of the same name, situated between Tsele and Samar, that features in HMA/Te/Tib/36). Dangda is the gorge between the Yul and the Dzong in the village itself. (In fact dangda— written dang ra in the text—is the Tk word for corral; Tib. ra: ‘enclosure’.) In view of the proximity of Dangda, it is not intended—in spite of the phrasing of the clause—that lodges for herders be built here, but only in Kyuden and Tshethang. There are livestock pens (in various states of repair) in all three locations, but no houses for the herders.

p. 13, l. 6, lus dang ril ma tshang ma: dung is measured out periodically in baskets in situ, so that each house gets an exactly equal amount irrespective of whether it has animals or not. The phrase ‘[cattle] manure and goat dung’ is not strictly accurate, since there is only goat dung there anyway. Collection of dung on these three pastures is regulated because they lie so close to the village; on all other pastures people may help themselves freely.

XVII. This law was implemented in response to the change in procedure for selecting headmen. Until this document was drawn up, the annual term of office of the headmen and constables would end with a public trial at which their performance was assessed. Now, however, a new category of official has been created—the ‘Four Men’—whose task it is to supervise the headmen and constables and submit them to a kind of continual assessment.

p. 15, l. 3: las ’dzin has been translated here as ‘constables’, since it refers in this case only to the rol po rather than other officials.

XVIII. This is apparently an appendix to no. II. Once members of the older generation have ceased to live with their children and have moved into a separate apartment (rgan tshang) with its own hearth, they are entitled to a quantity of firewood in addition to the entitlement of the main household. If they are still sharing the main hearth, they are not entitled to the firewood.

XIX. Until this document was ratified, to the best of my knowledge Te was the only village in Mustang to hold its thar chang ceremonies at night, and in mid-winter. The decision to hold the celebrations during the seventh and eighth month—late summer—and during the daytime, is consistent with a conscious effort, evident in other clauses, to make community events more spectacular and agreeable.
    Retirement ceremonies are held by men or women who have reached the age of fifty-five, and the ceremony may be held no earlier or later than at this age. The strictness of the rule is atypical of Baragaon, where people organise their retirement feasts at any time between about fifty and sixty-five.
    The third part of this clause is an explicit part of the policy to dissolve the corporate existence of clans.

p. 16, l. 5: phe phed chang in the text. The Tk term phepa corresponds to SMT phephe. Both terms designate any group of agnatically related men spanning two or more generations. In the dialects of Panchgaon, the term appears as phabe/ phobe, and has a more formal meaning than in Baragaon as ‘patrilineal clan’.

XX. p. 17, l. 1, bca’ dngos: cups, plates, pans, carpets, horsefeed and suchlike. The officials should provided it themselves and not borrow from other villagers.

XXI. The reasons for the urgency of repairing the dyke of the Yur chu when it collapses periodically have been explained in the commentary to rule XII above.

XXII. p. 18, l.1, khyim grangs yul pa: translated here as ‘hearths or households’, i.e. the two main categories of village assemblies, entailing either all the hearths (Tk memang < Tib. mi dmangs) or just the estates (Tk yupa < Tib. yul pa).

XXIII. p. 18, l. 2, klung gi nag (< klungs nags): translated here as ‘field forests’, this denotes the thorn bushes (Hippophae, Caragana etc.) growing on the margins of the cultivated area. This supply of fuel is supplementary to the five bundles that may be taken from the commu- nal forests. Here, however, the bushes may be cut only on one’s own land: the headmen must be asked to supervise in order to ensure that gatherers do not steal from neighbours’ field borders.

XXIV.a.Clearing the reservoir is a major two-day event, called Cingza (Tk cing < Tib. rdzing + gza’) involving dancing and singing that leads directly into the Lama Guru festival. The dancers are the bön-tshame, the young men and women. Until now, the fine for non-attendance had been only 1.5 rupees.

XXIV. b. Like clause III above, this is a further indication of a conscious policy to ensure the community’s full participation in the Lama Guru.

XXIV. c. In most villages, animals are allowed into fields to graze the stubble after the harvest. This practice is called nor (SMT), nol (Panchgaon, where it usually appears as rnol in documents), and no (Tk). Traditionally it is not permitted in Te, perhaps because the terraces are steep and the cattle break the walls. However, the priestly families of Baza and Tshognam did enjoy the special privilege of allowing their animals to graze on stubble. The withdrawal of this privilege is one of several gestures whereby the community has expressed its disfavour towards the chaplains.

XXVI. Yathang and Ordothang are situated a short distance south of the settlement area. The aim of the restriction is to prevent fuel from being exhausted in the proximity of the village.

XXVII. There are certain community tasks for which each household must provide one man over the age of eighteen. If a householder happens not to be free at the time, it is permissible for him to appoint a substitute from any other house. The term used in the document for substitute is mi lag, which normally has the connotation of ‘hired worker’. In Te, in fact (unlike most other villages) there is no tradition of hiring another villager for payment in cash or kind, nor is there any policy of direct reciprocity for such favours. Any man may be asked to substitute for another, and if he has no other pressing engagement, he will generally agree. Until now, it has been possible for someone over the age of eighteen to be substituted by an adolescent as young as thirteen.

XXVIII. The dzos of Te are pastured on the hills around the village. On the tenth day of every month according to the Tepa calendar they are rounded up and brought down to the settlement, where their owners examine them, give them salt and oil their horns to prevent them from cracking. There is a roster of dzo-owning households who take it in turn to bring the animals down each month. The aim of this clause is to ensure that the duty household provides some- one who is capable of performing the task properly. Young boys are too easily discouraged in their search for missing animals, and often return to the village without a full complement.

    The rule concerning the age of the goatherds refers to goats that are kept in the village. Each hearth is allowed to keep ten goats within the village, mainly for the sake of collecting their dung. These goats are split into two herds and are grazed in the vicinity of the village every day.
    Goatherds who are too young tend to be more concerned with playing games than finding good browsing, and also they may let them into the fields.
    Each household has its own major herds up on the high pastures. These herds are economically important for the whole village, and herders are exempted from other village duties. There is usually an adult in charge of each herd; sometimes households combine their herds and the owners take it in turns.

XXIX. The grain for making the beer for the Lama Guru festival is accumulated in the form of revenue from a group of communal fields that are dedicated to this purpose. The duty of brewing the beer rotates around the estates. As a fee for performing this task, the responsible households are permitted to keep the lees for cattle feed. Unboiled grain is much more nutritious for livestock than beer-lees, and it often happens that the household charged with this resonsibility will not convert all the grain into beer.

XXX. Fields are divided into a number of subsections (called nangma), separated from one another by earth walls a few inches high. Each section has a small sluice gate that links it to the nearest canal, and may therefore be irrigated independently of its neighbours.
    The Shagtang fields are located close to the gravel bed (SMT shagtang) opposite Tshognam on the south side of the Narshing River. They used to be irrigated with the water from the river (see above), but the connecting canal was washed away some years ago. The owners of the affected fields are at liberty to restore the canal, but seem to consider the expense and effort involved not worthwhile. It would be far easier for them to irrigate these from the Yurchu, a canal that is connected to the Narshing River further upstream (see clause XII). However, the water of the Yurchu is reseved for the Mangtse area of cultivated land, and may not be used on the Shagtang fields.

XXXI. Mangtse denotes the area of fields that is irrigated by the Yurchu. It has been badly eroded by the river, and people are still paying taxes on fields that no longer exist. Until now, contrary to the case of the Tongtse cultivated area (which is irrigated with water from the reservoir) the Mangtse fields are not differentiated in terms of their seed capacity for the purpose of irrigation. Each of the three estates that have rights to water on a given day simply takes it in turn to irrigate one entire field at a time. As we have seen in the Introduction, the system for the irrigation for Mangtse involves the allocation of quantities of water commensurate with field area, computed in terms of seed capacity. This point is effectively a tax reassessment of the area. Henceforth, as a result of the annually diminishing quantity of available water, the irrigation of the Mangtse fields will be reckoned with greater precision on the basis of the seed capacities that are recorded in the new assessment.

XXXII. This clause offers another example of the effort to ensure that the main community ceremonies are a ‘good show’. The Zatönse ceremony, which is closely associated with the Lama Guru, is described in Chapter 8 of The Navel of the Demoness. The etymology of the name is uncertain.

XXXIII. gSum mdo [sde yangs] is the name of an open area where people gather informally to talk and spin. The activities listed here are proscribed as being antisocial. Tanning hides smells bad; pounding chillis makes everyone sneeze, goat hair fills the air. Removing earth here refers to the practice of digging sand from an irrigation ditch that passes underneath a neighbouring house. Apart from the fact that the area in which people sit becomes muddy, the removal of silt from irrigation canals is now generally prohibited according to clause XXX. ‘Working leather’ is the process of wringing hides that follows the stage of soaking. Hides being worked in this way are evil-smelling (since the process involves the use of putrid yak- brains as an emollient) and shed hanks of hair. Householders who live in the immediate vicinity of gSum mdo sde yangs customarily pile their domestic manure in the square before transporting it to their fields. It is this practice of heaping the manure outside, rather than carrying it from the house to the fields, that is being proscribed.

XXXIV. a. The complicated business of irrigation management is dealt with in the Introduction, but this subclause can be explained briefly as follows. Four households each day are entitled to use the water that has collected in the reservoir the previous night. If there happens to be some communal task in progress at the time, only one person from each of the estates concerned may be exempted from public labour. If, however, because of warm sun- shine on the snowpeaks, or heavy rainfall, the reservoir accumulates so much water overnight that it overflows (the expression used in the document is smug kyu, a Tk term meaning ‘over- flow water’), two people from each of the four estates are liberated in order to ensure that none of the precious water is lost while managing the channels.

XXXIV. b. and c. Both of these paragraphs are intended to define a reasonable degree of com- passionate leave in the event of private bereavement and illness. These paragraphs—the first, at least—appear to be an afterthought to clause IX.

XXXIV. d. khu shi dbra: this represents the Nepali formula khusi rji. The similar expression rji-khusi is defined by Turner as “not only willingly but gladly”.

XXXIV. e. The black earth in question, a variety of clay, is used for washing hair, limning walls and floors, mixing with manure and so forth. Kutso Gang, situated just to the west of the settlement area, is a ridge on which there stands a stupa. The ban on taking clay from the site is intended to prevent the stupa and adjacent fields from collapsing as a result of being undermined.


HMA / TE / TIB / 04

Date: Dog year (no further details provided)
Lines: 9
Script: ’khyug ma tshugs
Remarks: document partly illegible owing to poor handwriting, deletions and damage.


Short transliteration
1. lo ta khyi lo la | ste pa yul ska bros {tsha} cham nas | che bdon dzed pa la khyim dbang mo ga la bro na yang ang rtsa shing ’u lag gang
9. skang skyu yin | de la de dog kag kag cis yang med | shing gal pa khyer skyu mi yong shing khyer ba byung che sa rgyab yin | bkra shis |

Wherever housemistresses may go, [for example] to the pasturelands for the collection of fodder or wood, they are nevertheless eligible for village duties. Monks and nuns may not travel via Kope (sko dpe) or Yathang pass (ya’ thang). Other rules listed include: a monk may visit his parents but may not spend the night in their house.

The restrictions specified here are intended to ensure that villagers contribute their labour to the community, and not only to their private estates. Ko(pe) and Yathang are areas of pastureland situated to the south of Te, on the way to the Muktinath Valley. The document was apparently written at a time when there were still Tepa monks and nuns who resided in one or other of the nearby monasteries—Kag, Dzong and Dzar. (The matter of which monasteries the monks attended is said to have been determined by their clan membership.) Monks and nuns are exempt from communal duties, such as working on the irrigation canals, repairing trails and field walls and holding public office. Approaching the village via the southern pasturelands, as opposed to the more circuitous route via the floor of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki, would enable them to collect fuel for their parental homes. The principle appears to be that the exemption of these people from communal duties should be matched by a corre- sponding prohibition on their benefiting the economy of their family estates—hence also the injunction against them visiting their homes for more than one night.

HMA / TE / TIB / 05

Date: Earth Pig year (1839? 1899?)

Lines: 9

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Short transliteration
1. sa pho phag lo la ter yul spa dka’ gros cham nas | chad ton dzad spa la gan spa bkra shis tshis ri | phur spa chos kyab | dka’ mi bkra shis
9. dganspalachangkoryin|delazhuzameddelazhuzamed|bde’ayigibriskan|(o rgyan) chos krug yin | bkra shis

Regulations concerning the collection of goat- and cattle-dung. Dung may be collected only from certain areas at certain times of year, and wood and thorn litter may not be collected at all from these places. The constables must check, at a particular threshing yard, the contents of sacks carried down by people in order to ensure that no one has violated the rule.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 06

Date: none given

Lines: 24

Script: ’khyug



1. lug gnyis dgong ma ’khrim bdag

2. rin po che sku ’drung du | rdzum langs | cim
3. ldan gyud pa gis zhing res res sted yul
4. la byar rgyu chod pa res | zhing ni che chung
5. ga dgra bcig yin na rang rang dbang tshod byi
6. nas byar rgyu chod pa dang | byar ba’i zhing la
7. chu thob gyad pa’i gyad cha cig lung pa la
8. bcug yod | cim ldan gyud pa gis chu
9. lhagmacugrgyumedpadang|yulbagi
10. chu thob bcug mi mchog zer gyu med
11. pa dang | zhing che chung la sta gnas thog
12. mang nyung ga dgra zhig ’dab na yang rang rang
13. gis dbang yin | nyung dug zer mi chog
14. pa dang | gal ’dir zer na zhing log gyu
15. chod pa yin | lcim ldan rgyud pa stong na |
16. byar pa’i zhing ’di yul ba la thob rgyu chod
17. pa dang | thob mi yong zer nas cim ldan
18. rgyud pa gis zer mi mchog pa dang | ’di la mi
19. rgyur pa lcim ldan rgyud pa gis phyag ci gor gyi rtag
20. mgen (bsod nams) tshe ring bzhugs yod pa’i rtags
21. mgen (bkra shis) dbang dus yod pa’i rtags | mgen ur
22. sto tshe ring bzhug yod pa’i rtag | sted mi mang
23. tshang mi phyag spyi sgor gi rtag XXXXXXXX
24. (yi ge) skag ’dra ba dbang dus SA HI
      1. lugs gnyis gong ma khrims 2. drung du 3. brgyud pas zhing re res 4. sbyar; pa red 5. ga ’dra zhig; tshod byas 6. sbyar rgyu; sbyar ba’i 7. brgyad pa’i brgyad cha gcig 8. brgyud pas chu 9. ’jug rgyu; yul pas 10. ’jug mi chog zer rgyu 11. la bltas nas 12. ga ’dra; ’debs na 13. gi dbang; nyung ’dug 14. gal srid; zhing slog rgyu 16. sbyar pa’i 18. rgyud pas; mi chog 19. ’gyur ba; rgyud pas; spyi skor gyi rtags 20. rgan bsod 21. rgan bkra 22. bzhugs yod pa’i rtags; mi dmangs 23. tshang ma’i; spyi skor gyi rtags 24. grwa pa dbang ’dus sahi


Addressed to “the precious law-lord, the supreme one of the two [sacred and secular] traditions”. Each [household of] the Cimden (cim ldan) clan of Jumla (rdzum langs) shall give one field to the community of Te. The size of the field is to be decided by the donors themselves. The water allocation (chu thob) for the fields that are given shall be one-eighth of an irrigation unit, and the fields are to be placed in the category of community fields (lung pa’i zhing). The Cimden clan may not use (the?) extra water. The community of Te may not object to the Cimden clan using communal water. The people of the Cimden clan shall pay the community whatever rent (thog) they think appropriate on these fields, based on their size. The Tepas in turn may not object to the quantity of rent that is paid, even if they think it is too little. If the Cimden clan should become extinct, these fields shall remain with the community of Te, and none of the Cimden people may object to this. The representatives of the Cimden clan express their agreement by placing their thumbprints (six prints seem to be distinguishable) on the same spot. The document is also signed by the three headmen of Te, and the community expresses its consent by having passed the document from hand to hand (spyi skor rtags). The scribe is the Kag monk dBang ’dus.

The Cimden clan now accounts for ... households in Te. For further information concerning the complex subject of irrigation, the reader is referred to the appropriate section of the Introduction.
    There are a number of intriguing implications contained in this document. First, that the Cimden clan may have migrated to Te from Jumla, a suggestion that appears not to have sur- vived into contemporary local tradition. It is true that the story is not mentioned in the usual accounts of the origin of the Te clans (see, for example, HMA/Te/Tib/01). Secondly, the con- text suggests that the ownership of agricultural land may—at least in the case of the Cimden— have been clan-based at a certain period. The document seems to provide evidence of the development of communal land, that is, land belonging neither to individual estates nor to clans, but to the community of Te as a whole.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 07

Date: Two dates given; first: Female Fire ... (illegible); second: Female Fire Serpent year (1857 ±60)
Lines: 6
Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. me mo [1S] [gis] n[±2] | me mo ’brul lo yis la
6. gi phyags du dngul {88} brgyad brgya brgya bcu song ’dzin

Apparently concerning payments of grain. Document provides only limited information concerning context.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 08

Date: Fire Rat year, 10th month, 1st day (1936)

Lines: 28

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. mes byis zla ba 10 pa’i tshes 1 la | sted yul yi sa phral mi phral gyis rtsis
27–28. sar kyis sris thar nas dngul 4 ’byung | zla ba chos phel nas dngul 4 dang zhi cha ’byung

Entitled “An accounting-list of the land-tax and poll tax of the people of Te”. There are fifty-one names, each followed by a figure ranging from 2 rupees to 7 rupees. The register probably consists of the forty-eight households and three satellite households (pho rang mo rang).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 09

Date: not legible; penultimate line states “Earth Tiger” (1938)

Script: ’khyug

Lines: 35

Remarks: partly illegible due to damage and pale handwriting

Short transliteration
3. ma [2S] ste | thog mar (bkra shis) tshes dbang la se khal 1 dang zo ba 16 yis sa | ’phyis

35–36. ’dzad lug yod pa (mkhyen mkhyen) | (yi ges) sa stags zla tshes la sted nas tshes 3 par ’phul

List of seed-capacities of certain areas of land in Te.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 10

Date: none given

Lines: 7

Script: tshugs

Short transliteration
1. kon chog srid star yi ses khal sum dang zo ba bdun yin | stam brim tsha dbang {1S} yi nas se khal ko dang lnga yin | tha kyed tshi ri yi se khal zhi dang zo ba bcu cig yin | ka mi phun tsho yi nas [±3S]
7. nyi ma (phun tshogs) se khal 4 la gang cag | srid tar (mgon po) se khal gog dang 3 dang phyed |

List of names and quantities of grain. There are no clues as to the nature of the list, but it is probably a land-tax register for one or more groups of fields.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 11

Date: none (top of document damaged)

Lines: 66

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
2. bo mo 1 mdom par—5 | tsha tshong steng ken (bhi sa) 1—bo mo 1 | bhi tsha 1—zhing las byed ken mdom par—5 ra’u 44 /—
66. bhi tsha—2—15 men—bhi tsha—2—50 yen bhi tsha—1—bo mo—1 mdom par—7— ra’u 54—

Census, providing information concerning number and status of inhabitants and livestock in Te by household. The following extract provides an example of the form:
       Gar ka dzogs (‘household head’? < Nep?) Ga ra [mGar ba] don grub: males (bhi tsha [bu tsha])— 1; females—2; bondservants (? bhang sdo)—1; total number of relatives (mdom par med ma [bsdoms pa mes mes]—servants apparently included as ‘relatives’)—5; individuals below the age of fifty years and above sixteen years—two males (bhi tsha, i.e. mGar ba don grub and his son); females: 2; individuals below the age of fifteen—1 female; total—5; salt traders—1 male; farm- ers—1 female, 2 males; 1 female below the age of 15; total—5. Buck goats—80; doe goats— [2SS]; dzo bulls—4.

Some household also have donkeys in their census.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 12

Date: (damaged, but apparently recent)...Wednesday

Lines: 5 columns, unequal number of lines

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Short transliteration
1. [S—] pa’i tshes res za 4 nyin ster lung pa’i jas dzin skod spa la mthogs dmar column 1, 17. lhag spa la ra 4



Document described as a ‘memorandum’ (? ’dza ’dzin skod pa). List of numbers of livestock in Te.

The numbers of goats are given by household in the following order:

600         402         502
606         307         402
617         701         88
409         800         603
401         8             506
305         25           ?04
8             404         ?03
605         608         7
50           504         60
506         30           304
805         260         406
807         606         803
404         5             403 (?)
4             604         507
403         503         208
70           503         6
301         403

Dzos and donkeys are given in their total only.

Dzos: 100

Donkeys: 503

HMA/ TE / TIB / 13

Date: Fire Bird year, 6th month, 1st day, Sunday (1897)

Lines: 19

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

1. me bya zla 6 tshes 1 re gza’ 1 nyin gter yul gyi ’dzin

19. gang zhi brag gang [1]

The document specifies the allocation of water from rDzing chu canal (i.e. water from the reservoir, which involves 15 estates) and the Yur chu canal (4 estates) (bag til/ bag stol—meaning not clear). This seems to be an inhabitual record (since water allocations are not usually committed to writing) of the quantity of water used in a single round of irrigation.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 14

Date: Earth Hare year, 10th month, 21st day (1939?)

Lines: 32

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. sa yos zla ba 10 pa’i tshes 21 la | stes lung pa’i sa phral mi phral ra phral ’dom 32. nas dngul phyed 5 ’byung | dkun ga tshes dbang nas dngul phyed 6 ’byung

A list of the land tax, poll tax and goat tax combined for the community of Te. The document takes the form of a list of names, with each name being followed by a sum of rupees, e.g. Phun tshogs rig ’dzin—3 rupees, etc.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 15

Date: Fire Bull year, 10th month, 8th day (1937?)

Lines: 46

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. me glang lo yis zla 10 pa’i tshes 8 la | bsted lung pa’i phral mo ches yis rtsis tho skod pa [la]
46. snyis nas mi phral am 1 ’byung | dpal tsang phur pa’i mi phral am phyed 2 ’byung | rda ba tshes ring dngul phyed dang 3 zhi cha byung |

A register of Te’s taxes (phral mo ches [khral mo che]). Each name is followed by three categories: house tax (grong khral), poll tax (mi khral) and land tax (sa khral). The figures are in paise, and payments are of the order of 25 paise per entry. (Note: kog—variously spelt—signifies three quarters. Thus kog dang lnga = 4.75.)

HMA/ TE / TIB / 16

Date: Iron Tiger year, 11th month, 29th day (1950)

Lines: 5

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. lcags stags zla ba 11 pa’i tshes 9 re 2 la khral gyi ’byung dzin sted yul nas — 5. bha khral dngul — 8 (Nepali numeral) — ’byung

Apparently an itemised receipt for taxes paid by the community of Te. The list of four items reads: ma khral—110 rupees (in which the first two numerals appear to be written in Nepali and Tibetan respectively); sdos sla—21 rupees; rtsa shing—12 rupees; bha khral—8 rupees.

The nature of these taxes remains conjectural. Ma khral may signify the tax that was ultimately paid to the government in Kathmandu (ma: ‘down’). sDos sla may be a rendering of mDos gla, ‘fees for the mDos’. The mDos was an annual ceremony in which all the villages of Baragaon used to participate and to which they were required to make certain material contributions. rTsa shing, meaning ‘hay and wood’, probably represents the collective contribution of the households for the purchase of these items, which the community would have been required to provide to visiting dignitaries as part of its corvée obligations. Bha khral: possibly a tax on cattle (ba) or a supplementary fee (’ba’) for late payment of taxes.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 17

Date: Earth Snake year, 1st month, 5th day, Sunday (1929)

Lines: 31

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. sa ’brul zla 1 pa’i tshes 5 res za (nyi ma) nyin | chos tshigs yig gis ’bris don la | ster yul kha thun ’tshi ’brub glo
31. ’thes ba{1}cang the bu spyi lags khor bskyi bstags the’u | nang ga’ yis [±3S] bzhing sha [1S] — 1 — yin

Text partly damaged, and meaning not clear. Apparently Te has collectively borrowed money from somewhere—perhaps from the wealthy estates of the community called the sa’u grong pa. (As a matter of policy the Tepas never borrow money from outside, an assertion supported by the absence of any documentary evidence of debt.)
    The second, rather important, line is not clear, but the following is legible: ste [2S] drong (?) pa re re nas zhing che ba re re...: “A large field from each of Te’s estates...”.
    The concluding lines read: “Until the debts (bho len) of the people of Te village are repaid (nam khor bar la), as a security (’brig bhang sdos la), each of the forty-nine estates (’brong bzhi bcu bzh- gu) [has put up] a field belonging to it; until this debt has been repaid the owner (sa’u, Nep. su, in this case apparently not a reference to the sa’u grong pa) may not reclaim it”. (Remainder not clear.) The reference to “forty-nine estates” is bewildering: the Tepas maintain, and the documents bear out, that Te has never had more than 48 estates (see Introduction, section on households); the term ’brong (< grong pa) is probably being used in a broader sense here to include one of the more prominent subsidiary households.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 18

Date: Iron Pig year (1911)

Lines: 12

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: written in various hands; document damage and writing indistinct; 3 lines of Devanagari text in lower right-hand corner.

Short transliteration
2. lcags ’phags lo la sa nyo la ’byor ’phyags [snga] sang ’brol [±8S]
5. lhags spa chos ’brol a ma ’don ’du ’byor ’phyags dngul — 1 — ’byung
(With the exception of one entry on line 7, most of the remaining lines are illegible because of the paleness of the ink)

List of offerings contributed by various people for the performance of an unspecified yearly ceremony. The term ’byor ’phyags (< ’byor chags?), which may be translated as ‘endowment’, denotes a contribution to a fund that is generally divided up and invested in trading ventures. The capital is usually not repaid, and the annual payments of interest—ten per cent is the standard sum—by the borrowers are used to subsidise the ceremony.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 19

Date: none

Lines: 5

Script: ’khyug


Short transliteration
2. rma ra kan spyi yugs 1dar ras yugs1 spa sa dbrang yugs1 kha’ sri 8 spang ga1 thol cags 5 cags gyed 1 slang
5. gya dang 11 bdzin |

A list of equipment, with prices for each item (including buckets, shovels and baskets) for the construction of one or more buildings. The total cost is 111 rupees. The nature of the building or buildings is obscured by damage to the first line, but the surviving syllables suggest that it concerns several customs posts: mda’ i (< Nep. dai)rnams.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 20

Date: Iron Dragon year (1880? 1940?)

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

1.cag pho grug lo la|ster spa{1S} yul spa dang gan spa la go la zhus nas|chod nas yi zhus nas | chod yi gam ca phul spa la | ’de nas ha la chang ses skyur ses

2. byed pa’i sa med pa’i gam ca phul spa yin | chang myon nas thung sa med | chang tsos nas thung sa med | ster spa yul spa yi ska sku rim gang byed gos byung na yang khra
3. to ko long byed sa med | rol spo khor ’dus yul spa tsho sum gos pa’i ’dus so ’ong sa med | chod nas yi thug byi phyin spo yi {phu} pho gan pa’i ’dus nas rtar skyu med |
4. chos nas yi gos spa byung na gan spa la zhus nas ma na tsos sa med|’de la gal spa byung na ba snga cu khrim bdag la phul skyu yi | yul spa sri kyab tshi ri 
5. yi rtag|dang|gan spa ga drug tshi ri yi rtag|{chod2S} chod nas nga|’ang khrisl yi rtag | bkra shis |
6. sted spa yul spa yi brong rang bdag yi khyim ’du | chod nas la phyab ka zhus skyu med
| rang la gos spa byung na spar | zhan zhus skyu med | ’de la gal spa byung na
7. chod tshig ’de la gal spa byung na | ba zho gang spo la zhus skyu med | bkra shis |
8. {±11S}
Note: a systematic emendation of the orthography in this document would be largely pointless owing to the intractability of the grammar. The selective emendations that follow are intend- ed to help the reader to see how the translation might be justified.
      1. lcags pho ’brug lo; yul pa dang rgan pas sgo lha la zhus nas (?) | mchod gnas kyis; “chod yi gam ca” is apparently a conflation of chod tshig and Nep. gaca; chang bzi skyur bzi 2. chang nyos nas; yul pas {ska}/bka’ sku rim 2–3. phrag dog 3. ko long; yul pa tsho gsum bgod pa’i dus su; for remainder of line see translation below 4. ’ba’ lnga bcu khrims 6. mchod gnas la chab ka

Iron Dragon year. The chaplain spoke to the sgo lha at the request of the people and headmen of Te, and this written agreement was accordingly drawn up: this is an agreement to the effect that, henceforth, there should be no drunkenness [on the part of the chaplain]. He may not buy beer to drink, nor may he make beer to drink. If the community of Te needs to perform a [Buddhist] ceremony he should not become jealous and envious [at the sight of people drinking beer]. During the [annual] changeover of the constables, when the villages are divided into three sectors, he may not come. The income (pho < phog) from the [temple] of the Great Compassion (thug byi phyin po < thugs rje chen po) should be collected by the headmen (gan pa’i ’dus nas < rgan pas bsdus nas) but should not be given to the chaplain (chod nas yi...rtar skyu med < mchod gnas la...ster rgyu med). (Translation of last sentence tentative.) If the chaplain needs [beer] he may brew it only after asking the headmen. If he should violate this,he shall pay a fine of 50 [rupees] to [whoever is the relevant] legal authority. The villager Srid skyabs tshe ring, the headman dGa’ drug tshe ring, and the chaplain Ngag dbang ’phrin las (?) sign.

    The people of Te may not, in their own private houses, serve beer to the chaplain. [It is all right for them to drink] if they so wish, but they may not offer him any. If this is violated... (sentence incomplete). If this agreement is violated a fine of one zho (i.e. 8 rupees) must be paid (lit. must not be paid).


This document seems at first sight to represent an attempt to restore discipline among Te’s monks, since there is nothing to indicate that the mchod gnas is a single individual. Important clues that this is not the case lie in the mention of the sgo lha and the fact that the offending mchod gnas has invoked this divinity. Until recent times there was always one oracle (lha pa or lha ’bab) in Te whom the territorial divinities of the community would periodically possess. These episodes are reported to have been sudden, unforeseen and dramatic. The first in the series of gods to ‘enter’ the medium was the sgo lha, who is believed to reside above the door of Te’s temple, the Thugs rje chen po (so called because it houses an image of Avalokitevara. The orthographic form sgo lha is conjectural: on this class of divinity, and the related ’go lha, see Nebesky-Wojkowitz 1959). The attendant of the oracle would immediately light a fire of juniper branches in front of the possessed medium, and put questions to the sgo lha. The first of these questions invariably concerned the identity of the other gods whom the sgo lha, who played something of a gatekeeping role, would summon from the surround- ing hills and mountains. The most important divinity is Jo bo Shar btsan gnyan po (also known as Shar btsan pa and Shar btsan rgyal po), whose shrine stands on a ridge to the east of the settlement, and whose utterances often concerned matters of ritual purity: through the medi- um he would warn women to keep their distance, and on one occasion physically chastised the attendant for not having washed his hands before performing the daily offering to the gods in the temple. Tepas who worship Shar btsan pa as their principal household god (Tk dimilha) are not permitted to eat beef or even yak meat. It seems likely that the mchod gnas referred to in this document denotes the oracle’s attendant, a layman who also functions as the sacristan of the temple. The only other reference to this community official in the Te archives is in document HMA/Te/Tib/27, l. 11, which mentions that the doors of the temple were locked by the mchod gnas (chos nas). An injunction against his consuming alcohol would be consistent with the seemingly Hindu criteria of purity demanded by Shar btsan pa.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 21

Date: Wood Dog year, 6th month, 1st day (1934)

Lines: Main text 16

         Left column 12
         Right column 6

Script: ’khyug
Remarks: drawing at foot of page; Nepali writing—apparently signatures of witnesses— between columns. Fingerprint and seal between columns.

Short transliteration
1. me bkhyis
2. shing bkhyis zla ba 6 pa’i tshes 1 nyin gyi yi ge bris don la | don tsa ster sod rnams
Left column, 15. ster skyis skyab rtsis ring stags
Left column, 16. ’dzor po (? indecipherable contraction) [bskyang na] — 1

Settlement of dispute over ownership between individuals and the village of Te concerning overlapping property, access ways etc. Dispute mediated by the Subba Hitman Serchan. Details of the dispute difficult to unravel from the document.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 22

Date: illegible because of damage to first line; second line bears the date “6th month, 4th day”

Lines: 16

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
2. ma ska rin ni ’byung sde | zla ba 6 pas tshe 4 nyin bsted lung pa’i rgan mi drag gi 16. sted byo mo bu ’brig blo sems rang thad kyid lag stag

An elliptical document, referring to a dispute of which the context is unclear. Person A told person B that if B did not go somewhere, B must give A a mouthful of chewing tobacco (sur sti < Nep. surti). B made only a token gesture of going, and gave A the chewing tobacco, and there were witnesses to this, but now two of the witnesses deny having seen the chewing- tobacco changing hands.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 23

.Date: Iron Pig year, 2nd month, 18th day (1911)

Lines: 7

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: seal at l. 6; second line damaged.

Short transliteration
1. lcag phag zla 2 tshe 18 re gza’ 1 nyin | gter rgan srid thar spa sangs rgan (dngos grub) rgan (nyi ma) bsam ’grub sum gtsos yul rgyis rgan rol rnams las ’dzin thog
7. kyis rtags | don ’di ’bar dum mdzad mi ’dzar dpon sku Zzhabs bzang po (rdo rje) {mdang}bzhugs | yig ’bris tshogs dgongs (bla ma) bstan pa’i (brgyal mtshan) bzhugs yod |

During the office of the headmen, constables and other officials of the village led by the (three headmen) of Te; while bKa’ mi gser kyis (< Nep. Kmi Sarki) was irrigating his fields, the water ran into the community house, and [an unspecified number of] his female goats were seized as a punishment. In violation of his fine and customary village law he [went to Kag, where he] received a [favourable] judgment from the government office (a rmal < Nep. aml). However, when the issue was later debated as a matter of internal rules (nang grigs), because he did not know that he had violated village law in going [to Kag], the fine of 100 am (50 rupees) [that had been imposed on him by Te] was reduced to 50 am, and he offered this to the village with his excuses, and the village accepted his apologies. This issue shall not be raised again in the future. The main headman of Te, Tshe dbang don grub, sets his seal on behalf of the whole community; the offender bKa’ mi gser kyi sets his thumbprint; the lord of Dzar, sKu zhabs bZang po rdo rje, is present as a mediator. The scribe is Lama bsTan pa’i rgyal mtshan of Upper Tshognam.

This document reveals three interesting features of local law in Te that, as far as I am aware, are still relevant. First, the seizure of the offender’s goats: it is standard practice in Te, when someone has committed a punishable offence, that the headmen confiscate a number of the offender’s goats corresponding to the value of the fine that has been imposed. Pending the payment of the fine, the animals are locked in a shed without food or water and, if the sum remains unpaid, left to die. The bodies are then placed in the branches of a tree to rot and be picked apart by the birds. Second, in common with many communities in the region, Te has a policy whereby internal disputes may not be referred to external authorities for resolution. And finally—since the accused successfully claimed ignorance of this unwritten rule—ignorance of local law can be considered to be an acceptable mitigating factor.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 24

Date: Earth Tiger year, 2nd month, 23rd day (1878 or 1938)

Lines: 20

Script: ’khyug

1. sa pho stags lo’i zla ba 2 pa’i tshes 23 la | sted lung
2. pa’i gan mi bdus rnams gyis mkhrim (bzhabs su) ngos rab
3. ’byung ’phun tshog (rdo rje) nas bzhus ba | kha sngon ngos grong
4. pa’i ra ma gnyis sad pa kyang ngos ma yin | byas sor
5. ’phris las nyi ma yis khyims bdu phyin nas | a snyis
6. jo mo yis ra ma lan bdus ’gro’ bdus | phris
7. las nyi ma’i zer pa la|ra ma gnyis ra ga ru
8. ’bor yod | khyod rang 1 khyer zer par rten | ngos nas
9. kyang ra ma gyag gud bstas nas|gyag pa 1 a nis
10. yis a ga ru {’tshor} mkhyer nas ra ma ngos nas
11. sad nas steng la mkhur nas ’gro bdus | byas sor
12. a ma yis tshogs rnams gon pa’i tshes bcu mi rnams
13. dkun song khyed rang song zer par (rten nas) | sha shus long ma byung
14. ba | sri thar dbang bdus la spyol rogs byed zer nas bor nas
15. song pa yin | byas sor gan mi bdus rnams kyis mkhrim kyis sdags
16. shar mdzad nas | srid thar ang bdus kyis bzhus pa | kho
17. pho (phun tshogs) (rdo rje) yi ra ma sad nas steng la mkhur nas kho
18. la bcol pa ngos ma yin|byas sor jo mo yis ngos
19. la shus nas ster rogs byas zer nas shu nas ster pa yin |
20. sdon bya sde la mi gyur pa rab byung (’phun tshogs) (rdo rje) yis rtags ||
      1. stag lo’i 2. rgan mi ’dus rnams kyis khrims zhabs su 3. phun tshogs; zhus pa 4. bsad kyang dngos ma; rjes sor 5. ’phrin las; ma’i khyim du; a ni 6. yi ra ma len du ’gro dus | ’phrin 7. ra {ga} ru 9. ra ma rgyags gud bltas; rgyags pa; a ni 10. ra {ga} ’khyer; ngos nas 11. bsad nas; ’khur nas ’gro dus | rjes su 12. dgon pa’i 13. kun | sha bshus longs 14. srid thar dbang ’dus; bcol rogs; bor nas 15 rjes sor rgan mi ’dus; khrims kyis 15–16. gdar sha; dbang ’dus kyis zhus pa 17. bo phun tshogs rdo rje yis; bsad nas; ’khur nas 18. rjes su 19. bshus nas; rogs byed; bshus nas 20. don {bya} de; mi ’gyur ba; phun tshogs rdo rje yi

Male Earth Tiger year, second month, 23rd day. I, the novice monk Phun tshogs rdo rje, have submitted this petition to the judicial assembly of Te, comprising the headmen and community. It is also true that I have, in the past, butchered two goats belonging to my household. I later went to the house of ’Phrin las nyi ma, and when I went to take a doe from the goat pen of A ni jo mo, ’Phrin las nyi ma said to me, “Two [of her] does have been put in [my] pen. Take one of them”. I therefore looked to see which were fat and which thin; I took a fat one to A ni jo mo’s goat-pen and butchered it, and then carried it to the roof of her house. But while I was on my way, my mother told me that everyone involved in the Tenth-Day ceremony of Tshognam temple had already departed. “You should go,” she said. And so I asked Srid thar dbang ’dus to take care of [the carcass] for me, and after leaving it with him I set off. Later, during the investigation of the case by the headmen and community, Srid thar dbang ’dus said that I, Phun tshogs rdo rje had indeed slaughtered the goat, taken it to the roof and entrusted it to him. Later, A ni jo mo told me to skin it and give it to her, and I therefore skinned it and gave it to her. The novice monk Phun tshogs rdo rje sets his thumbprint to confirm that he will not deviate from this account.


The subject of this document is confusing because it appears to concern a prosecution of the novice monk Phun tshogs rdo rje for slaughtering a goat. In this case the statement of Srid thar dbang ’dus must be understood as a testimony against him, and the document as a whole as a confession of his violation, now and in the past, of his monastic vows. A closer reading reveals that this is, in fact, the statement of a defendant in a case of theft: the novice has been accused by ’Phrin las nyi ma of stealing one of his goats. A ni jo mo—presumably a real or classificatory paternal aunt who happens to be a nun –asked the monk to butcher a goat for her. Two of her goats were being kept in the pen of a neighbour, ’Phrin las nyi ma, but when selecting an animal he accidentally—he claims— took the wrong one. In this case Srid thar dbang ’dus’ deposition should be seen as confirmation that the carcass was left in his house for safe keep- ing, and not for the purpose of concealing stolen property. The acknowledgement by Phun tshogs rdo rje that he has butchered animals in the past may be relevant as evidence that there is nothing unusual about him, even as a novice monk, being asked to carry out the task on behalf of a nun.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 25

Date: (no element) Bird year, 2nd month, 18th day (1849?)

Lines: 5

Script: ’khyug


1. khri thob rdo rje thogs rgyal sku Zzhabs nas |
2. sted yul pa la phyags tham gnang bdon la | sngon lor rted yul ba nas
3. shes men kyi bya ba byas nas | dbon bo bdon grub dang dar rgyas gnyis kyis | sku zung thugs gi rtan dang chos
4. tshang ma srag pa’i skor du | dngul 45 zhes nas thag rtsang chod pa yin pas | sdes la thos sman grags zhan su thad
5. nas skad dang rtser pa byis sme phyogs pa’i tham kha bya lo zla ba 2 tshes 18 la rted du gnang ba dges | (seal)
1. thog rgyal 2. phyag tham gnang don; shes med; don grub; sku gsung; rten dang 4. bsregs; bzhes nas; thag gtsang; de la mtho dman drag 5. (‘tsher ba)? byed mi chog; gnang ba dge

From the Khri thob rDo rje thog rgyal. Concerning the fact that the people of Te, acting out of ignorance, burned all the sacred objects (lit. supports of body, speech and mind) as well as the religious books of Don grub and Dar rgyas of the dBon po clan: [the compensation of] 45 rupees has been received and the matter is completely settled. This sealed document to the effect that no one, whether high or low, mighty or humble, may say anything or raise any complaint about this matter, has been issued on the 18th day of the second month in a Bird year.

Unfortunately no reason is given in this document as to why the Tepas should have destroyed the ritual accoutrements of their own priestly family. The only comparable case of which I am aware occurred in Dzar some two generations ago, when a household of Bonpo priests is reported to have been sacked by the community following accusations of harmful sorcery. For another case of sorcery in Te see document HMA/UTshognam/Tib/20 (Tibetan Sources, vol. 2), which contains a vigorous defence by one of the lamas of Tshognam against charges of practising black magic.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 26

Date: Iron Pig year, 4th month, 18th day (1851)

Lines: 10

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

Remarks: seal after last word bearing Devanagari script

1. mi rje khri thob rdo rje thog rgyal ka’i rtam |
2. nges ’char rted pa yul ba la phyags rtags gnang ba | sngon srol ltar la
3. rab ’byung dpal zang la phyag rtags gnang kyang | phyin chad la su thad nas sngon srol (ma gtogs) srol sar byas nas
4. dad mi phyogs pa’i nges ba dang | ma zad cu zad ma cham par rten nas | khrim (zhabs su) khri mi zhib dar byed dus | chos phur
5. pa’i bskor | lung pa tha’ gyar nas lo ngo 28 gsong par rten | (o rgyan) nga dbang nas | khrim zhabs dang rted pa yul bar
6. zhus bar rten nas mi zab phul nas dgong yang gnang ba yin | de la phyin chad nas ngan pa lang shor byas
7. nas srol snying (ma gtogs) | srol sar byed nas rgran rgyu mi yong pa’i nges ba dang | gal srid dran pa long shor sogs byed
8. pa shar tshe | bha dngul 50 khrim (zhabs su) phul rgyu yin pa’i nges ba gyi {gy}i | (khyad par) nya lu nyal mo skyes ba byung tshe lo 3 nas
9. a mi yang krad rkyu|a ba’i yang len rgyu|de la su thad nas al dra byed pa shar tshe| bha dngul 50 yin pas | nges
10. ba gyi gyi rgo byed phyags rtags lcags phag zla 4 tshe 18 la (pho brang) bde skyid (lhun grub) nas bris
      1. rgyal bka’i gtam 2. phyag rtags; ltar {la} 3. dpal bzang la phyag rtags; srol gsar 4. sdod mi chog; cung zad; khrims zhabs; khri mi?; zhib gdar 5. pa’i skor; mtha’ gyar; song bar; ngag dbang; khrims zhabs 6. mi tshab; dgongs yangs gnang 7. nas srol; srol gsar; dran (?) rgyu; lang shor sogs 8. ’ba’ dngul; khrims zhabs; ’bul rgyu; nyal bu nyal mo; 9. a mas yang sprad rgyu; a bas; al dra?; ’ba’ dngul 10. pa bgyid kyi go byed (?) phyag rtags

Declaration by the ruler, the Khri thob rDo rje thob rgyal. This document is issued to the people of Te. A document was issued to Rab ’byung dpal bzang in accordance with past custom. No one may continue to act according to new rules, but must adhere to the old traditions. There has been a slight dispute. In the course of a legal investigation [the following conclusion was reached]: concerning Chos phur pa, because he has been outside the community for 28 years [after killing someone], and because O rgyan ngag dbang made a request to the legal authority and the community of Te, and [on behalf of Chos phur pa] paid the blood debt [the killer] has been pardoned. But if these wicked impulses should recur [the Tepas] should act in accordance with tradition, not new procedures; it has been decided that the matter should be forgotten (?). If it should happen that someone stubbornly recalls [the past events], [the offend- er] shall pay a fine of 50 rupees to the legal authority.

    If a natural son or daughter is born, after three years the mother should give it and the father should receive it. If anyone should violate (? al dra < ?) this there shall be a fine of 50 rupees. This sealed document, which makes it understood that the matter has been settled (?), has been written at Pho brang bDe skyid lhun grub (name of a noble house in Baragaon?) on the 18th day of the 4th month in an Iron Pig year.

7. rgran rgyu mi yong...dran pa long shor: the emendations of these phrases are highly tentative. rGran might stand for ’gran, and therefore imply a contestation of the decision; dran pa could equally simply be an error for ngan pa, as in l. 6.

8. nya lu nyal mo: the addendum concerning the ruling on custody of illegitimate children appears to be unrelated to the main case with which this document is concerned: the amnesty that has been brokered for a fugitive homicide. According to current local law in Baragaon, it is only male children that are to be given to their fathers at the age of three; girls remain with their mothers.

9. The repeated insistence that “traditional procedures” (sngon srol) should be observed may provide a clue to the meaning of the second part of line 9: al dra may stand for Nep. aa, signifying a court of the national judicial system. The passage might therefore be translated as “whoever takes a case to a government court”.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 27

Date: Fire Pig year, 1st month, 18th day (1887?)

Lines: 44

Script: ’khyug

1. me mo ’phags lo’i zla ba dang po’i tshes 18 [nyin |] gan mi bdus bsnams gyis ’khrims bzhabs su bzhus ba
2. bsdag mi bstags khung bshams bsal nas | ngos snga mchog bu ’phrig nas | mug ga ’ja’ man ’phul pa’i bsnying
3. po la|mngon ngos mal(sa ru) kho pho ga ra yong bdus ngos nas zer ba ni yong mi cho zer kyang mi nyan |
4. kho pho nas bar mi khyer nas | ’u gnyis shis kral (ma gtogs) (son gral) med zer par (brten nas) | kho pho’i lags ba
5. bar mi la bster bar mi lags pa ngos la bster bar brten nas | mchod tshigs dngul bzhi bcu kho pho ga ra chos
6. bskyabs nas gal pa ’byung tshes bar mi yi[s] lags pa nas ngos lags du bster gyu mchod tshigs mchod pa’i gyu la
7. brten nas bsems phyal dang lus shor byung pa yin | byas sor khogs pa sha lhu gis mkhang pa dang | kho pho nas
8. bar mi btang bar (brten nas) | ngos gnyis shis ’bral (ma gtogs) son gral med pa’i bskor nas | (thugs rje) (chen po) ru ’phrad
9. nas bsdod pa yin | mngon kyang ’khras brten thub pa’i srol khyun ’dug pas | ngos gnyis kyang lung pa’i slo ba
10. bar dang srol khyun dang mthun pa’i las byed nas (thugs rje) (chen po) nang du ’phras nas ’dod pa ngos ma yin |
11. (thugs rje) (chen po) yis chos nas nas kyang nang go gyabs tshar | phyis go la gol blcags rgyabs mtshar nas | byas sor ga gris [u?] ’dzod nas
12. sha {1S} shu {1S} zer mi gcigs ’dug pas | ngos sems la kang khyam gyug mi gcigs yin nam bsam pa ’byung | des nas (sangs rgyas)
13. bu khrigs dang | dkun ka bu ’phrig | dpal bzang dang gsum mchogs | khong mi ngo zhis yong nas | phyis go yis
14. dgol lcags spe nas nang go ru slebs ’byung | sdes nas ngos gnyis kyis nang go la nang nas bkag kyang ma thub
15. par | go la bdung zhur byed nas kyang ste’u {go rtsa’i} sta ri bstogs rtsis khyer las zer ba gos ba ngos ma (ma gtogs) | go rtsa
16. ste’u bsto[gs] rtsis sta ris khyer mi khyer ba ma mthong | go la gang gis bdung zhur byed pa dang mi su yi gos zhur pa ma thong |

17. byas [s]or nang go lcags nas nang go yis nang du gsum chogs slebs yong nas ’dzar gyabs gyu zer nas dris lags du khur nas yong
18. nas bstags las brags gyu zer ’bar brten | kho gsum [1] chogs yis lags nas dri | ngos kyis ’phrogs nas bdung pa ngos ma
19. yin | kho mo gsum phyog nas ngos kyis dbol rtags gis zis gcigs dang byu ru drug ’phrogs nas khyer yod | byas sor
20. gol bcags spes mtshar go blcags tshar nas du li (bkra shis) dang (bkra shis) tshes dbang slebs nas | khong mi phyog pa’i
21. [1]ul byas nas kho pho ga ra chos bskyab ’khrid nas song nas [1] ngos kho rogs smug ’phrod dang | mon mthang khyel du
22. bzhags gnyis ’grim ’byung | (gzhag gsum) gyis ngo ma/la kho pho’i bar mi phur pa sris thar dang | du li (bkra shis)
23. khong gnyis ngo kyis a ba yis khang ba ru slebs bzhin | ngos nas khong gnyis la dris ba la | khyed gnyis
24. gan la ’phebs bzer bgris pas | khong gnyis nas zer ba la | khong mes smad ’grigs song a | bo mo
25. ga la song | bzhu ba phul du yong ba yin zer | bsdes bdus ngos nas zer pa | rtsa’u gnyis ngos pyi {1S}
26. bshes | bo mo grags la bcebs dang | chu la b[c]ebs dang | gyam mkhang la {mkhang la} mo mthon nas
27. song ba yin nam smi shes zer ba yin|gad po bde gra ma gsung zer|ngos zer ba bo mo sde ru med pa ngos ma
28. slo mi sde na ngos gol lcags spes nas ster ro | khyed rang bstas zer pas | gan pho’i dzun bra mi gsung zer
29. khong gnyis slo bskal nas logs song pas | sdes yis nyis ma shams ma bo mo snga chog a kyis nang
30. la byus ru slebs ’byung | khong yis bar mi gnyis kyang nyis ma shar nas slebs ’byung | de bdus bar mi gnyis
31. dang ngos gnyis mchogs bzhibs par phar tshur byung | bar mi gnyis nas zer ba la | ngos gnyis nas ga ra la
32. zhibs par byas kyang | g.yag chen gyis phar gnyog (ma gtogs) | bris mo’i tshur gnyog med zer | khyed kyis
33. bo mo bsden pa ’dug dngul bcu ster zer ’byung | des dus dngul bcu la bo mo hag ma dgos ba sdad
34. pa yin | yang tshes 11 gis nyin sris thar zla ba dang phur pa sris thar {lS} gnyis slebs nas bdab shog lan
35. gsum gis nang du bzhibs par phar tshur byas nas dang ma la dngul 13 bar ma{r} la dngul 16 gzhug ma la
36. dngul 25 dang | thar thug du dngul 30 la ngos bo mo hag dgos ba spes dang ma dgos spes yin | ngos bo
37. mo la khogs pa sha lhu gis khang ’dug pas | bu tsha dang bo mo {1S} gang kyes kyang tsha lugs byas gyu yin

38. nam|nya lu nyal mo byed gyu zer nas hag ma dgos pa sdad pa yin|byas sor ngos nas zer pa phyi ru
39. byed kyang nang du byed kyang ngos bo mo la bor phya thob phan bu tsha bo mo gang skyes kyang tshang lug du
40. yong mi yong zer pas | sde gra gsung na gr[i]gs min dug zer | khong logs song zhig/zhin | {±4}
41. dgong tshigs rnams bsden pa yin | dgong tshig rnams gyis an dang lung pa’i srol la mthun pa’i bka’
42. mkhrim byor gnang yod pa dang | ma zad gong ka sar nas ’khrim kyis sdag shar mdzad ’dus
43. ’dzun pa ’byung shar tshes | dgong ka sar nas bka’ ’khrims gang gnang kyang man mi zhu zhus
44. pa’i don cha des la mi gyur snga mchogs bu khrigs rang thad kyis rtags X

      1. phag lo’i; mi ’dus rnams kyis; zhabs su zhu 2. bdag ming rtags khungs sham gsal; lnga mchog bu ’khrid; mukh ko jamni ’bul ba’i snying 3. sngon ngos; mgar ba yong dus; mi chog zer 4. ’chi ’bral; gson ’bral; kho bos lag pa 5. ster bar mis lag pa; chod tshig; mgar ba chos 6. skyabs nas ’gal ba; lag pa nas ngos kyi lag tu ster rgyu’i chod tshig chod pa’i rgyu 7. sems ’chal; rjes sor khogs pa sha lhu yis ’khengs pa 8. ’chi ’bral; gson ’bral; chen po ru ’khras 9. bsdad pa; sngon kyang; srol rgyun; lung pa’i blo {ba}? 10. srol rgyun; byas nas; ’khras nas bsdad pa dngos ma 11. yi mchod gnas; nang sgo brgyab; phyi sgo la sgo lcags brgyab tshar; rjes sor; ga gris su ’dzod? 12. sha shu?; mi gcig; nga’i/ ngos kyi; rkang ’khyams rgyug mi gcig 13. bu ’khrid; kun dga’ bu ’khrid; gsum mchog; bzhi yong; phyi sgo yi 14. sgo lcags phyed (SMT pe) nas nang sgo ru slebs byung; de nas; nang sgo {la} nang 15. rdung zhur (< gzhu) byas; sta ri tog tse; khyele (SMT imperative form of ’khyer) zer; go ba dngos ma 16. ste’u tog tse sta ri; sgo la; su yis sgo zhur (< gzhu) ba ma mthong 17. rjes sor nang sgo bcag nas nang sgo yi; gsum mchog; dza rgyab rgyu; gri lag tu ’khur 18. stag las/lhas ’breg rgyu zer bar; gsum mchog gi lag nas gri; ’phrog nas brdungs pa dngos ma; 19. gsum mchog; oltag gi gzi gcig; rjes sor 20. sgo lcags phyed tshar sgo bcag tshar; bkra shis tshe dbang; mi chog pa’i 22. zhag gnyis; zhag gsum gyi; srid thar 23. ngos kyi a ba yi; slebs shing 24. gang la ’phebs zer dris; mes mes 26. zhu ba ’bul; de dus; rtsa’u; ci 26. shes; brag la lcebs; chu la lcebs; gyenkham la mo ’thon nas 27. mi shes; rgad po de ’dra; ’di ru 28. blo mi bde; sgo lcags phyed; ltos zer; rgan pos rdzun ’dra 29. blo bkal; log song; de’i nyi ma sham ma; lnga mchog aki’i 30. juru (< byung ’dug) slebs byung; khong gis; slebs byung; de dus 31. gnyis phyogs zhib par; mgar ba la 32. zhib par; ’bri mos tshur 33. bden pa; zer byung; des dus; ha ma go bar bsdad; gi nyin; srid thar; (bdab shog)? 35. gi nang du zhib par; mjug ma 36. (ha go ba phye dang ma go {ba} phye {pa} yin)? 37. sha lhu yis ’khengs; gang skyes; tshalu byed rgyu 38. nyolu (< nyal bu) byed rgyu; ha ma go bar bsdad; rjes sor 39. ’bor cha; tshalu 40. de ’dra; mi ’dug; log song zhing? 41. gong tshig; bden pa; gong tshig rnams kyis ain dang 42. khrims sbyor; gong kacahar nas khrims kyis (dag gsher) mdzad dus; 43. rdzun; shar tshe; gong kacahar; bka’ khrims 44. de la mi ’gyur lnga mchog bu ’khrid


Female Fire Pig year, first month, 18th day. To the legal authority of the headmen and officials of Te. The subject of the verbal testimony by me, lNga mchog bu ’khrid, whose name and thumbprint are provided below [is as follows].
    When mGar ba previously came to my bed I told him that he should not come, but he would not listen. He brought an intermediary, and after saying that the two of us should separate only in death, not in life, he gave his hand to the intermediary. The intermediary then gave me his hand. mGar ba chos skyabs made a promise that if he broke his word on this the intermediary would give me 40 rupees. On the strength of this promise, I became passionately aroused, and let my body go. Later on, I became pregnant, and because he had sent an intermediary, in the light of [his saying that] the two of us should be separated only in death, not in life, I sought asylum in the Great Compassionate One [the village temple]. From past times there has been a custom of using this temple as a refuge in such circumstances, and it is true that we took refuge there in accordance with this tradition. The chaplain of the Great Compassionate One shut the inner door and locked the outer door.

    Later on we heard someone speaking outside (it is not clear from the text what was being said), and assumed that it was someone on the way to a nocturnal tryst (SMT idiom, lit. ‘someone going for a stroll’). Then four people, Sangs rgyas bu khrid, Kun dga’ bu khrid, dPal bzang and gSum mchog, came and opened the lock of the outer door and reached the inner door. But because the two of us blocked the inner door from the inside they could not enter. They pounded on the door we heard them calling for adzes, axes and pickaxes. We only heard this, and did not see whether adzes, picks and axes were actually brought or not; nor did we see what it was they pounded on the door with, or who it was who was beating on the door. Finally they broke through the inner door, and gSum mchog entered. She said, “We must break through”, and approached, holding a knife in her hand. It is true that, because I heard her saying “We should tie her up and shave her head”, I seized the knife from gSum mchog’s hand and struck her. Then gSum mchog ripped from my necklace a gzi stone and six corals and took them away. After the lock had been opened and the door broken, Du li bkra shis and bKra shis tshe dbang arrived. They jostled (? [1]ul = ’phul?) mGar ba chos skyabs in a way they ought not to have done and took him away. Then I spent two days wandering on Kho rogs smug phrod and Lo nga mthang khyel. Before three days were up (?) Phur pa srid thar and Du li (bkra shis) came to my father’s house as his [mGar ba chos skyabs’] intermediaries. (From this point it is the father whose testimony is being reported.) “Why have you two come?” I asked them.
    “[His family] has reached an agreement,” they replied. “Where has the girl gone? We have come to make a formal offer”.
    “Nephews, what do I know?” I replied. “My daughter has taken her life either from the cliffs or in the water, or else she has crossed a pass to another land—I don’t know”.
    “Old man,” they said, “don’t speak like that”.
    “If you don’t believe she’s not here,” he said, “I’ll unlock the door and you can see for yourselves”.
    “The old man wouldn’t lie,” they said, and, believing him, they departed.
    The next morning the girl lNga mchog returned to her father’s house. And at dawn (of the following day) two intermediaries from his [mGar ba chos skyabs’] side came. The two parties—the two intermediaries on one side and we two on the other— discussed the matter in detail. The intermediaries said that they had questioned mGar ba [chos skyabs], and agreed that, [as the proverb goes,] “it is the big bull yak that lusts after the cow, not the cow that lusts after the bull”.
    “Your daughter has told the truth,” they said, and offered 10 rupees [by way of a settlement]. However, my daughter would not accept it. Then on the eleventh day, Srid thar zla ba and Phur pa srid thar came, and the matter was discussed in great detail in three bargaining sessions. In the first of these they increased their offer to 13 rupees, in the second to 16 rupees, and in the third to 25 rupees. Finally they offered 30 rupees, and my daughter considered whether or not to accept.
    I then asked whether, since she was pregnant, the child—be it a boy or a girl—would be legitimate or illegitimate, but they did not know. I then said that, whatever the case (lit. “whether it is done inside or outside”), from the moment a divorce settlement was received the child, whether a boy or a girl, should surely be regarded as legitimate. “What you are saying is not correct,” they said, and departed.
    (lNga mchog resumes her testimony.) The above words are true. On the basis of these words please pass a sentence that accords with national law and village custom. And furthermore, when the matter is examined by the palace on high, if it transpires that there is some falsehood, I shall not oppose whatever judgment may be passed, and I, lNga mchog bu ’khrid, willingly set my thumbprint in affirmation of this testimony.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 28

Date: Fire Pig year, 1st month, 12th day (1887?)

Lines: Document in 6 parts, with respectively 7, 6, 5, 6, 7 and 7 lines

Script: ’khyug


Part 1
1. me mo ’phags lo zla ba dang pa’i tshes 12 la ster gan mi bdus bsnams gyis mkhrims (bzhabs su) bzhus ba | sdag mi

2. bstags mkhung bsham bsal dgus ’phran nas | {1e1}ngos (sangs rgyas) bu ’khrigs nas dkal yal na ma ’phul pa’i bsnying po la

3. rang gis bu yin kyang | bu tsha nas shes man gyis bya ba byung bar bsten | nor bstor gyis mi gnyon pa bstar ’byung nas

4. rgyal po’i an dang lung pa’i srol la mthun pa’i bya sba byed ma shes bar (thugs rje) chen po’i dgo spes ba dang bste’u stog tsis tho

5. wal yis mkhrim sa’i go la gyab pa ngos nas ’dzol dug bzhin | gong bka’ sar nas bka’ mkhrims gang gnang

6. kyang man mi bzhu bzhus pa’i ngos (sangs rgyas) bu khrigs rang thad kyi stags X

7. deleted
      1. phag lo; dang po’i; rgan mi ’dus rnams kyis khrims zhabs su zhus pa; bdag ming 2. rtags khungs sham gsal gus phran; bu ’khrig; kyal-nm ’bul ba’i snying po 3. rang gi; bar brten; nor gtor/stor ba’i mi smyon pa ltar byung 4. rgyal po’i ain; bya ba; shes par; sgo phyed pa; ste’u tog tse tho 5. ba yis khrims sa’i sgo la brgyab pa dngon nas ’dzol ’dug zhing; gong kacahar; bka’ khrims; mi zhu zhus; bu ’khrid rang ’thad kyi rtags

Note: the indistinct syllables that have been transliterated as tho wal (ll. 4–5) may possibly read rgo wal, representing the SMT term gowal, meaning ‘khukuri’. Although this is the inter- pretation that has been chosen as the most likely, tho wal might also be understood as tho ba, ‘hammer’.

Part 2
1. me mo phags lo’i zla ba dang pa’i tshes 12 la | sted gan mi bdus bsnams gyis ’khrims (bzhabs su) | bzhu ba sdag mi stags khung

2. bshams gsal nas | ngos kun ga bu khigs nas bka’ yal na ma ’phul pa’i bsnying po la | ngos kyis bu mo’i grang thogs

3. gis khyo bo yin kyang | sgyal bo’i an dang lung pa’i srol la mi mthun pa | lung pa’’i ’phras bstan thub pa yis (thugs rje) (chen po) yis

4. sa mnon pa dang (thugs rje) (chen po) yis dgo lcags spes ba dang dgo la yar mar byed pa | ngos nas ’dzol bdug bzhin

5. dgong bka’ sar nas bka’ mkhrim gang gnang kyang man mi zhu bzhus pa’i | dkun ka bu khrigs rang thad kyis

6. kyis rtags X
    1. phag lo’i; dang po’i; rgan mi ’dus rnams kyis khrims zhabs; ming rtags khungs 2. sham gsal; kun dga’ bu ’khrid; kyal-nm ’bul ba’i snying po; ’brang thog 3. gi khyo; rgyal po’i ain; ’khras brten thub pa yi; chen po yi; sa gnon; yi sgo lcags phyed pa; sgo la; dngos gnas ’dzol ’dug zhing 5. gong kacahar; bka’ khrims; zhu zhus; kun dga’ bu ’khrid rang ’thad kyi 6. {kyis}

Part 3
1. me khyis zla pa dang pa’i tshes 12 la | sted gan mi mthus bsnams kyi ’khrims (bzhabs su) bzhus ba sdag mi bstags

2. khung bshamb bsal nas | ngos dpal zang nas {1S} bka’ yal na ma ’phul pa’i bsnying po la | ngos kyis ming po yin

3. zer tsar byod byas pas | yin kyang rgyal po’i an dang lung pa’i slo ba bar kyis ’phras bstan mthub sa yis (thugs rje)

4. (chen po)’i go spes ba dang | dgo la yar mar byed pa ngos nas ’dzol bdug bzhin | dgong bka’ sar nas bka’ ’khrims

5. gang gnang kyang man mi zhu bzhus pa’i dpal zang rang thad kyis stags X
    1. me khyi; dang po’i; rtan mi ’dus rnams; khrims zhabs; zhus pa bdag ming rtags; 2. khungs sham gsal; dpal bzang; kyal-nm ’bul ba’i snying po; ngos kyi 3. zer tsarcö?; slo ba bar?; ’khras brten thub sa yi 4. sgo phyed; sgo la; dngos gnas; ’dzol ’dug zhing (?); gong kacahar; bka’ khrims 5. zhu zhus; dpal bzang rang ’thad kyi rtags

Part 4
1. me mo ’phags lo’i zla ba dang po’i tshes 12 la | sted gan mi bdus bsnams gyis ’khrims bzhabs su bzhus ba | sdag mi

2. bstags mkhung bshams sal nas | ngos gsum mchogs bu ’phrid nas | bka’ yal na ma ’phul pa’i bsnying po la

3. rang gis ’brang thog gis khyo bo yin kyang | rgyal po’i an srol dang ma thun pa’i bya ba byed sma shes bar | ’phras ldan

4. mthubs sa yis (thugs rje) (chen po) yis sa snon pa dang | go lcags spes ba dang go lcags pa go la stog tses ste’u go wal

5. gyabs pa ngos nas ’dzol ’dug bzhin | gong bka’ sar nas bka’ mkhrim gang gnang kyang man mi bzhu bzhus

6. pa’i | gsum mchog bu khrid rang thad kyis stags X
      1. phag lo’i; rgan mi ’dus rnams kyi khrims zhabs su zhus; bdag ming 2. rtags khungs sham gsal; gsum mchog bu ’khrid 3. ’brang thog gi; mthun pa’i; ma shes par; ’khras brten 4. thub sa yi; yi sa gnon; sgo lcags phyed pa; sgo bcag pa sgo la tog tses ste’u tho ba 5. brgyab pa dngos gnas; ’dug zhing; kacahar nas bka’ khrims; mi zhu zhus; bu ’khrid; rang ’thad kyi rtag

Part 5
1. me mo ’phag lo’i zla ba {1S} dang po’i tshes 14 la | ’khrims chod nas bha ti hag gos nas | sdo zin

2. pa’i dngul 24 24 | mi re re la | thog mar (sangs rgyas) bu ’khrigs ldan mdza’ ma i tshes ring sdar po byas nas

3. bzhags bdus yis bkor nas | gan sams pa dkos nas lung pa’i nam dgos gsung bdus byang mchogs

4. {zer pa’i tshes tsha ring sdar po} yis stegs X dkun ka bu ’khrigs gyi bdan dza ma nis (bkra shis) tshes dbang byed nas dgong bstar kyis bzhags bdus la

5. {1S} ’byang gyu mchod pa’i (bkra shis) tshe dbang {1S} {rang thad kyis stags} | ngos gsum mchog bu ’khrigs chad pa yi

6. (line intercalated) ldan dza ma nis (phun tshogs) sris thar byed nas |

7. dgong bstar gis bzhags bdus la ’byang gyu mchod pa’i {gsum mchogs bu khrigs rang thad kyi bstags X} (phun tshogs) srid thar yis stag X
      1. phag lo’i; khrims gcod pa nas; bati ha go; dozin (< do zla) 2. bu ’khrid dhan jamni; tshe ring dar po 3. zhag dus kyi skor; rgan sampa (< gsar pa) bskos; lung pas nam dgos gsung dus byang mchog 4. kun dga’ bu ’khrid kyi dhan jamni; tshe dbang byas nas gong ltar kyi zhag dus 5. sbyang rgyu chod pas; rang ’thad kyi rtags; bu ’khrid 6. dhan jamni; srid thar 7. gong ltar gyi zhag dus; sbyang rgyu chod pas; gsum mchog bu ’khrid rang ’thad kyi rtags; gyi rtags

Note: braces {...} without underlining denote that the enclosed text is encircled with dots in the document. While this convention is commonly used in Tibetan texts to indicate deletion, its significance in the present case is uncertain.

Part 6
1. me phag zla ba dang po’i tshes 18 la | ’khrim chod nas bha dhis hag dgos nas | sdo sin gis ched dngul 24 du li

2. bkra shis yis | ldan dza ma nis bkra’ shis srid thar byed nas bzhags dus la gan sams pa dkos ’dus | lung pa’i

3. nam dgos gsung dus byang gyu chod pa’i bka’ mi srid thar rang thad kyis stags X me phags zla ba dang po’i tshes 18 la khrim

4. mchod gi chad pa dngul 24 yis bkra shis tshes dbang yis chad pa’i sdan mdza ma nis | lha dpon (bkra shis) byas nas zhags dus

5. dgong star la byang gyu mchod pa’i {lha dpon bkra shis rang thad kyis stag X} med phag zla tshes la ’khrims mchod |

6. gis dpal zang gis sdo zin gis chad pa dngul nyer 24 yis sdan dza ma nis phur ba ’don grub byas nas bzhag

7. bdus dgong bstar la {byang gyu mchod pa’i phur pa don grub rang thad kyis stags} X
      1. khrims gcod pa; bd ha go nas; dozin (< do zla) gyi chad [pa] 2. dhan jamni; byas nas zhag dus la rgan sampa (< gsar pa) bskos dus; lung pas 3. sbyang rgyu chod pas kmi; rang ’thad kyi rtags; me phag; la khrims 4. chod kyi; yi bkra; tshe dbang gi; dhan jamni; lha bon; zhag dus 5. gong ltar la sbyang rgyu chod pas; lha bon; rang ’thad kyi rtags; me phag; khrims chod 6. kyi dpal bzang gi dozin (< do zla) gyi; yi dhan jamni; don grub; nas zhag 7. dus gong ltar; sbyang rgyu chod pas; rang ’thad kyis rtags


Part 1
Fire Pig year, first month, 12th day, to the legal authority of the headmen and officials of Te. The matter for which I, Sangye Butri, who have placed my thumbprint below, submit this writ- ten confession [is as follows].
     Because my son behaved stupidly I became as mad as someone who has lost her cattle; and not knowing how to act in accordance with royal law and village custom, I opened the door of the Great Compassionate One [the Village Temple] and struck the door of the place [that is protected by?] law with adze, pickaxe and khukuri, and in this I was indeed at fault.
    I beg you, in the seat of judgment on high, without asking you not to punish me, to dispense whatever judgment you will, and to this I, Sangs rgyas bu ’khrid, set my thumbprint of my own free will.
(Next line deleted)

Part 2
Fire Pig year, first month, 12th day, to the legal authority of the headmen and officials of Te. The matter for which I, Kun dga’ bu ’khrid, who have placed my thumbprint below, submit this written confession [is as follows].
    Since he is, after all, the husband of my daughter, I violated (lit. oppressed, sa non) the Great Compassionate One that is the place where one can seek refuge; I opened the lock of the Great Compassionate One and shook the door. I was truly at fault in this respect. I beg you, in the seat of judgment on high, without asking you not to punish me, to dispense whatever judgment you will, and to this I, Kun dga’ bu khrid, set my thumbprint of my own free will.

Part 3
Fire Dog (sic: error for Pig) year, 1st month, 12th day, to the legal authority of the headmen and officials of Te. The matter for which I, dPal bzang, who have placed my thumbprint below, submit this written confession [is as follows]. He is my younger brother whom I care for (SMT tsarcö byed); nevertheless (?) I opened the door of the Great Compassionate One, the place where, according to royal law and [village custom?], one can take refuge, and also shook the door. In doing so I was truly at fault. I beg you, in the seat of judgment on high, without asking you not to punish me, to dispense whatever judgment you will, and to this I, dPal bzang, set my thumbprint of my own free will.

Part 4
Fire Pig year, first month, 12th day, to the legal authority of the headmen and officials of Te. The matter for which I, gSum mchog bu ’khrid, who have placed my thumbprint below, submit this written confession [is as follows].
    He is the ‘husband on my chest’, and so (or nevertheless), ignorant of the fact that I was acting in a way that violated royal law and custom, I violated the Great Compassionate One, the place where one can seek refuge. I opened the door, breaking it and striking it with pick, adze and khukuri, and I was really wrong to do so. I beg you, in the seat of judgment on high, without asking you not to punish me, to dispense whatever judgment you will, and to this I, gSum mchog bu ’khrid, set my thumbprint of my own free will.

Part 5
Fire Pig year, 1st month, 14th day. The judges have heard the petitions: each petitioner [is fined] 24 rupees.
    First, Tshe ring dar po is acting as the guarantor of Sangs rgyas bu ’khrid. As for the specified time, [the defendants] may pay when they are told by the community that they must after the appointment of the new headmen [later in the first month].
    Tshe ring dar po sets his mark.
    bKra shis tshe dbang is acting as the guarantor (interstitial line) of Kun dga’ bu ’khrid. She must pay at the appointed time, as specified above.
    bKra shis tshe dbang sets his mark of his own accord.
    Phun tshogs srid thar is acting as the guarantor of me, gSum mchog bu ’khrid. gSum mchog bu ’khrid willingly sets her mark to confirm that she shall pay at the appointed time, as spec- ified above.
    Phun tshogs srid thar sets his mark.

Part 6
Fire Pig year, 1st month, 18th day. The judges have heard the petitions. Ka mi srid thar is acting as guarantor for Du li bkra shis, who must pay 24 rupees in fines. As for the specified time, this will be after the appointment of the new headmen at the behest of the community.
    Ka mi srid thar willingly sets his mark.
    Fire Pig year, first month, 18th day. The Lha bon bKra shis is acting as guarantor of the 24 rupees to be paid by bKra shis tshe dbang at the appointed time, as specified above. Lha bon bKra shis willingly sets his mark.
    Fire Pig year (month and day unspecified). Phur pa don grub is acting as guarantor of the defendant’s fine of 24 rupees to be paid by dPal bzang at the appointed time, as specified above, and Phur pa don grub willingly sets his mark.

Part 2, 2–3: grang thogs gis khyo bo yin kyang: lit. ‘the husband on my daughter’s chest’ (see also part 4, 3.): a common epithet for a husband in SMT. The kyang here might be translated either as ‘even though...’ or ‘and furthermore...’.

Part 6, 1: zla ba dang po’i tshes 18: If the date is correct, it is likely that the six-day difference is due to an adjournment for village ceremonies that take place annually in the middle of the first month.


HMA/ TE / TIB / 29

Date: Fire Pig year, 1st month, 13th day

Lines: 27

Script: ’khyug

1. me mo phags lo’i zla ba dang pa’i tshes 13 la | bsted gan mi bdus bsnams [kyi]
2. bzhabs su bzhus ba | sdag mi bstags [kh]ung bshams bsal nas | ngos ga ra chos bskyab[s nas mug]
3. ga mdza’ man ’phul pa’i gnying po la | mdon ngos ’grogs bdus | ngos ga ra chos bkyabs
4. bar mi ’dzong pa ngos ma yin | snga mchog nas zer ba ’grigs na sgya mi dang bod mi {2S} ’bri[g | ’bral]
5. bsnying sdod nas bchu bsdags yar bskab dang mar bskab yin zer nas | bar mi la zer ’dug
6. bsde yis gyu la brten nas | mtshong la spyis tshong la ’gro’ bdus mo yi tsar slebs
7. pa ngos ma yin | bar mi bzhags nas | shis ’bral ma bstogs son mbral med zer nas
8. lags pa len pa ngos ma yin | bar mi bzhag nas mchod tshigs bzhags pa med mchod
9. pa’i tshig la gnyes nas | mo bsngan la (thugs rje) (chen po) ru slebs ’dug | bsham la nga ga ra slebs song
10. ’phres ldan kyang bzhag pa med | des nas gsum mchogs dang | a ma yong nas go yis bsang
11. nas ngos ga ra la zin byung | bsnga mchogs nas bsdi smigs kyang bster dngul yang
12. slog | mo bsnga mchogs nas zer ’byung | gsdes nas gsum mchogs go yi nang du sleb
13. ’byung | mo bsnga mchogs nas ngos {tho ma} bstong du ma bcug | mcham ’phyogs zer pa’i
14. gyu la bstan nas | a ’jo du li dang (bkra shis) tshes dbang bos nas slebs ’byung |
15. sde nas|a ’byo duli nga shogs zer nas gang byed gyu zer nas|nga ga ra la zer
16. ’byung | ngos ga ra nas zer ba mas smad ’cham po byed shogs zer ba yin {1S} |
17. a jo du li la lags pa bster ba yin|mo snga mchogs yi sa nas kyang khyed ma bu
18. mchams na | ngos snga mchogs nas sprol thab byed mchogs zer nas | du li (bkra shis)
19. la lags pa bster pa ngos ma yin|ngos ga ra nas mo snga mchog la zer ba
20. khyed (thugs rje) (chen po) ru rtsos dge bdod zer pa yin | snga mchogs nas zer pa khyed
21. mas smed (thams cad) ’khres la song zer pa’i gyu la bsten nas | ngos kyang logs pa yin
22. nga yis bzhags gnyis gsum dgug nas ’dod pa yin | khyed snga mchogs kyang logs nas
23. song ’dug | ngos bdang pha ma dang bu med kha la nyan dgos ’byung | dgong tshig gi
24. bsrol mkhyun dang mthun pa’i bka’ mkhrims ’byor gnang yod pa dang dgong gis
25. mtshigs snams sden pa yin | dgong ka sar nas mkhrims kyis bsdar bsha[n] mdzad
26. dus | ’dzun pa ’byung ba shar tshes | dgong dka’ sar nas bka’ mkhrims dgang gnang

27. kyang man mi zhu bzhus pa’i ga ra chos bskyab rang thad gyis stags X.

      1. phag lo’i; rgan mi ’dus rnams 2. zhabs su zhus pa; bdag ming rtags khungs sham gsal; mgar ba chos skyabs; mukh 3. ko jamni ’bul ba’i snying po; don ngos ’grogs dus 4. brdzangs pa dngos ma; lnga mchog; rgya mi 5. snying ’dod; chu ’thag; (yar bkab mar bkab)? 6. de yi rgyu la; tshong la spyi tshong la ’gro dus; rtsar slebs 7. bzhag nas; ’chi ’bral ma gtogs gson ’bral 8. lag pa; chod tshig bzhag; chod 9. mnyes? nas; sngon la; sham la nga mgar ba 10. ’khras brten; gsum mchog; sgo yi sang (< gseng) 11. mgar ba la; lnga mchog; lde mig; ster 12. lnga mchog; zer byung; de nas gsum mchog sgo; slebs 13. byung; lnga mchog; (tho ma)? stong du; ’cham chog 14. rgyu la brten; a jo; tshe dbang ’bod; slebs byung 15. de nas; a jo; snga shog (< shos); byed rgyu; mgar ba 16. byung; mgar ba nas; mes mes ’cham po byed shog 17. lag pa; lnga mchog gi 18. ’cham na; lnga mchog; bkrol? thabs byed chog 19. lag pa; mgar ba; lnga mchog 20. tsowe sdod; lnga mchog 21. mes mes; ’khras; rgyu la brten; log pa 22. {yis} zhag; bsgugs nas bsdad pa; lnga mchog kyang log 23. dang pha; dgos byung; gong tshig 24. srol rgyun; bka’ khrims sbyor; gong gi 25. tshig rnams bden; gong kacahar; khrims kyi gdar shan; 26. rdzun pa; shar tshe; gong kacahar; bka’ khrims gang 27. zhus pas mgar ba chos skyabs rang ’thad kyis rtags

Female Fire Pig year, first month, 13th day. To the headmen and officials of Te. The subject of the verbal testimony by me, mGar ba chos skyabs, whose name and thumbprint are provided below [is as follows]. It is true that, when we became friends, I sent an intermediary. lNga mchog said to the intermediary that when there is compatibility, even a couple consisting of a Tibetan and an Indian will work; if separation is desired, then even an upper and a lower millstone [will not stay together]. It is true that, on the strength of these words, when I was about to go trading with a group of companions, I visited her house. I engaged an intermediary, and it is true that he (?) said that we should separate only in death, not in life, and took each of us by the hand. Although I had engaged an intermediary, I had not drawn up a written agreement. She was pleased by the [idea of] a written agreement (?). She went to the [temple of the] Great Compassionate One first and I, mGar ba, arrived later. However [others] did not regard this as a safe haven (?). Then [my wife] gSum mchog and my (or her) mother came and seized me, mGar ba, through the crack in the door. Then lNga mchog said to me, “Give [them?] the key and return the money”. Then gSum mchog came through the door. lNga mchog would not let me send her away, but said that we should settle the matter. Accordingly, we called elder brother Du li and bKra shis tshe dbang, and they came. Du li, the first to speak, said to me, “What shall we do?”
    “We kinsmen should be reconciled,” I replied, and extended my hand to elder brother Du li. lNga mchog said, “If you and your mother reconcile, I, lNga mchog, shall try to leave you (or to separate you?),” and she gave Du li bkra shis her hand. I, mGar ba, said to lNga mchog, “You remain here in the [temple of] the Great Compassionate One”.
    “You go and find refuge, you and all your relatives!” she replied, and I accordingly went back. I waited for two or three days, but you, lNga mchog, had returned [home from the temple]. I had to heed my parents and my daughter.
    Pray judge these words in accordance with custom. The above statement is true. When the exalted palace carries out a legal examination, if it transpires that there is any falsehood, I, mGar ba chos skyabs, shall not contest whatever judgment is passed by the palace, and to this I willingly set my mark.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 30

Date: Fire Pig year, 1st month, 18th day (1887?)

Lines: 9

Script: ’khyug

1. me mo ’phag lo’i zla ba dang po’i tshes 18 la sted gan mi bdus snams gyis ’khrims bzhab su ngos dpal bsdan nas sdag pa
2. [1–2S] star ’bul pa’i gsnying po | rtsa gyogs go la zer nas | mna’ kyal nas | (dkon mchogs) spang brtsug gis bskor nas g.yas ma
3. la can g.yon pa la smigs med pa’i bskor nas zer pa la | [ng]os dpal ldan nas zer ba kho po ga ra la mi yong mi yong zer kyang |
4. ma nyen pa gro dgos byung | lan gnyis gsum gnas kyang mi nyan par ’dro{1} ba yin | khyed ngos kyis kyer man byed na ’grigs mi ’grigs
5. zin du gnos zer nas gnas pas | mo snga mchogs nas bzer ba khyed gis kyer man yod pa’i mi yin mi {4S}
6. ’byung | sdes nas khong {1S}2 ’grigs nas lags pa lan pa ngos ma | shis ’gral (ma gtogs) son {1S} gral med pa chod pa ngos ma yin
7. khong gnyis kyis ar ka ru mchod tshigs bzhags pa yang med | mo nas grigs gnying ’dod na kya mi [b]od mi | ’gral bdod na
8. chu sdag yar bkabs mar kab zer ba yang yin ’dug | kha sang khong ’phras dus kyang mi yong zer kyang mi nyan pa
9. ’gro mngos ma yin |
      1. phag lo’i; rgan mi ’dus rnams kyis khrims zhabs su; dpal ldan 2. ltar; snying po; rkyog mgo la ’dzer (?); skyel nas; dkon mchog spang btsug gi skor 3. la spyan; mig med pa’i skor; zer ba; mgar ba 4. ma nyan pa ’gro; kyang; ’gro ba; skyed dman 5. (zin ’dug)? zer; mo lnga mchog; zer ba khyed {gis} skyed dman 6. de nas; lag pa len pa dngos ma [yin?]; ’chi ’bral; gson ’bral; dngos ma; arka (< bar); chod tshig bzhag; ’grigs snying ’dod; rgya mi; ’bral ’dod 8. chu ’thag yar bkab mar bkab; ’khras dus 9. dngos ma

Female Fire Pig year, first month, 18th day. To the headmen and officials of Te. The subject of the ... submitted by me, dPal ldan.
    Petition submitted to the judicial assembly of Te, comprising the headmen and community. dPal ldan presents this document, after placing a blade of grass on his head and swearing an oath. I have spoken about my calling the Triple Gem to witness and saying that I would not [speak deceptively by referring to] a right eye as a spyan (honorific for eye) and the right eye as a mig (non-honorific).
    Even though I, dPal ldan, told mGar ba that I would not come (or, that it was not appropri- ate), he would not listen and I had to go. Though I told him two or three times he didn’t lis- ten, but went. “Will it be all right or not if you become my wife?” he asked [lNga mchog].

    “You’ve already got a wife,” lNga mchog replied. “It will not....[lacuna]” Then according to the arrangement the two of them had made, I took their hands—that is true. It is also true that a decision was made that they should separate only in death, not in life. However, no written document was drawn up between them. She cited the saying that if [a couple] wanted things to work out, [even] an Indian and a Tibetan [would stay together], but if they wanted to separate, even an upper and a lower millstone [would be parted]. The other day, when they sought safe haven, even though I said that I would not come (or that this was inappropriate) they would not listen, and it is true that I went.

The context of this document is from other documents relating to the case of the abortive elopement of mGar ba and lNga mchog. To place a blade of grass on one’s head and to make a statement is regarded as a guarantee of the truth of the statement. To our knowledge the gesture itself is not practised, but survives in the SMT expression ‘gowa la tsa serte lab tang’, to speak after placing grass on one’s head, meaning to tell the truth.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 31

Date: Fire Pig year, first month, 19th day (1887?)

Script: ’khyug

Lines: 5+4


Part 1
1. me mo phags lo’i zla ba dang po’i tshes 19 la | sted gan mi bdus nas ’khrims chod gis bha bsdis ha go nas
2. ga ra sdo zin gis chad pa dngul 12 dang yang thod gyab gis | ga ra sdo zin gis dngul 24 sde snyis kyis sdan dza
3. ma nis (phun tshogs) sris thar byas nas bzhags bdus la gan bsams pa dkos nas lung pa’i rnam dgos
4. gsung bdus | sdo snyis mchad {1S}pa mtshang ma ngos ’phun tshogs nas byang gyu mchod pa’i phun
5. tshogs sris thar rang thad kyi stags |
    1. phag lo’i; rgan mi ’dus nas khrims gcod pas bd 2. mgar ba dozin (< do zla); yang (tho brgyab kyis)? mgar ba dozin (< do zla); de gnyis kyi dhan 2–3. jamni; srid thar; zhag dus la rgan sampa (< gsar pa) bskos; lung pas nam 4. gsung dus; de? gnyis chad pa tshang ma; phun tshogs; sbyang rgyu chod pas 5. srid thar rang ’thad kyis rtags

Part 2
1. me mo phags lo’i zla ba dang po’i tshes 19 la | gan mi bdus {2S} nas khrims chod nas
2. bha sdi ha dgos nas | snga mchogs sdo zin gis chad pa dngul 12 yis | ldan mdza’ ma nis phun
3. tshogs tshes ring byas nas gzhags dus dgong star byang gyu mchod pa’i {(phun tshogs) tshe ring rang thad kyis}
4. stags X
      1. phag lo’i; rgan mi ’dus; khrims gcod pa nas 2. bd ha go; lnga mchog dozin (< do zla); dngul 12 yin; dhan jamni phun 3. tshe ring; zhag dus gong ltar sbyang rgyu chod pas; rang ’thad 4. rtags


Part 1
Female Fire Pig year, first month, 19th day. The headmen and officials of Te, as the judges, have heard the petitions. The party in this lawsuit named mGar ba [chos skyabs] shall pay a fine of 12 rupees, and for additional [costs] that have been listed (?) he shall pay 24 rupees. Phun tshogs srid thar shall act as financial guarantor. As for the time [when the payment is to be made], this should be after the appointment of the new headmen, when specified by the community. It has been agreed that I, Phun tshogs [srid thar] shall pay both those fines in their entirety and to this I, Phun tshogs srid thar, willing set my mark.

Part 2
Female Fire Pig year, first month, 19th day. The petitions have been heard by the headmen and officials of Te, acting as judges. The party in this lawsuit named lNga mchog [bu ’khrid] shall pay a fine of 12 rupees. Phun tshogs tshe ring (sic: error for srid thar?) shall act as financial guarantor. It has been decided that the time when the payment is to be made shall be as above. Phun tshogs tshe ring (sic) willingly sets his mark.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 32

Date: Iron Sheep year, 3rd month (1871? 1931?)
Lines: 18
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: title on verso: “list of property in Tshognam gompa” (tshog nam mgon pa’i ’phog yig leg)

Short transliteration
1. lcags mo lugs bzla ba 3 pa’i tshes la | rgan pa span pa tshe ring dang | ka mi skyabs | sri thar tshes dbang gsum |
17. mi (chos sgrub) | tshe dbang (nor bu) lo 4 kyi ngo la yig | (bkra shis) shogs | zhu bdag | dge ’o | dza ma 4 yod | rtsa ka li na 1
18. yod (bkra shis)

Tshog rnam mgon pa’i ’phog yig leg

A list of temple property drawn up in the presence of the three headmen of Te. The list includes a Brom don pa’i ka ’bum [’Brom ston pa’i bka’ ’bum] and a copy of the biography of bsTan ’dzin ras pa (bstan ’dzin res pa’i rnam thar). Most of the items in the list—including the two mentioned above—are no longer in temple. It is likely that they were removed when the previous occupant, the guardian of the deceased sMon lam, was evicted three gen- erations ago in favour of his cousin rNam rgyal (see HMA/Te/Tib/34).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 33

Date: “the excellent tenth day in the upper half of the month” (ca. 1900)

Lines: 22

Script: ’khyug

1 khyen stan yang ma | ster yul [r]nams la yigs cung phul pa’i snying po la |
2. sngon bdag (bla ma) ’od gsal (rdo rje) nas yig ge ’phul pa’i snying po la sngon (yi ge) gang yod
3. ’phul pa yin | phul nas khyed rnams gyi bzhus phran bdag ’od gsal (rdo rje) nas bzhus
4. pa ’di las lhags ma bzhan med zer bzhus pa yin sna skal sa skal skad
5. cha mang gi ’dug ’bo ’rgyal sleb yong zer pa’i bka’ shog sleb ’byung
6. sngon nga yi mkhas pa rnams gyi dbu mdzad yul mi spyi la bzhus spa
7. na skal sa skal zer pa ’di las lhags pa’i (yig ge) bzhan med | rab ’byung
8. na skad cha ’di bzhin mdzod ma ’byung na (yig ge) ’di las lhags pa med
9. zer nas bdag sna mthon pa yod | ’di las khyeng rnams gyi ’gro sa yod
10. tshes i sar bcugs pa dang ’gro sa med tshe bzhag pa snang | khyed bskyi bka’
11. mthun mdzad pa bzhus bdag gi (yig ge) la rtsi mi dgos | spyi thun gang
12. thun khyed rnam mdzed pa bzhus | bdag ming rtag khung sham gsal nas ’di las
13. lhags pa bzhan med | bcas yar tshes bzang bor tshes bcu la tshogs rnam nas
14. ’phul pa (dge dge) | (bkra shis) | ye shes ang mo tshugs stang ma
15. sna skyu ’khor gyi brgyud pa kun ’ga’ dbang phyugs brgyud pa rab chad phar
16. sa tshur za ’khang pa rang sa (yes shes) dbang mo tshogs rnam (bla ma) tshe dbang ’rgyal ’khyim ’du
17. sleb pa bde gnyi gyi bu krug grogs mo (mkha’ ’gros) | (bla ma) tshe dbang ’rgyal | tshug
18. pa’i sa ru dad rgan tshugs (yes shes) dbang mo steng ma kun dga’ dbang phyug khyim
19. nas slebs ba yin | yes shes dbang mo spun | brag {1S} dkar sleb pa chos ’gros ma yin
20. bcas ’di lhags pa bzhan med | (yes shes) dbang mo a ma chi skyabs ’bu grigs
21. phyi skyab ’bu brig khyogs kha (brgyal mtshan) don ’grub bde gnyis gyi bu krug ye shes dbang
22. mo chos ’gro ma yin | (bkra shis)


Part of an exchange of correspondence between Lama ’Od gsal rdo rje of Tshognam and the community of Te. Regarding what they asked him in their letter, he says, he knows nothing more than what he said earlier in his own to them. He has received their letter to the effect that a mixture of falsehood and truth (l.4 sna skal sa skal < Nep. nakal sakal) had been said in the past and that the Tepas have had difficulties in consequence of this. The best course of action for them is to follow the advice given in his earlier letter: he can add nothing more than what was said in there, and is willing to swear an oath on it. They may, he goes on, find fuller information from some other source, in which case they should prepare a public notice (i sar < Nep. istihr?); otherwise they should let the matter rest. They do not even need to take any notice of his earlier letter—the important thing is that they should agree among themselves.
    Then, after ending the first part of the letter by setting down the date, he adds the following information, possibly a summary of the content of his earlier letter: Ye shes dbang mo was from the sNa skyu ’khor clan of the sTang ma sector of Tshug, the neighbouring settlement. Kun dga’ dbang ’phyug, her father (?) had no male heirs and the lineage came to an end. She married Tshe dbang dbang rgyal, the first ancestor of the Tshognam priestly lineage to come to Te. They had a child named Grogs mo (’Brog mo?) mkha’ ’gro. He then repeats this infor- mation and adds some supplementary details: Lama Tshe dbang dbang rgyal settled on the ter- ritory of Tshug (i.e., in the temple of Lower Tshognam), and Ye shes dbang mo came from the house of sTang ma Kun dga’ dbang ’phyug. Her sister, who married into the Brag dkar sector of Tshug, was called Chos sgrol ma. There is nothing more than this [to say]. Ye shes dbang mo’s mother was ’Chi skyabs bu ’khrid. The latter’s husband was rGyal mtshan don grub. Ye shes dbang mo was their daughter.

Unfortunately this document offers few clues about the circumstances in which it was written. The most likely context would be a dispute over the inheritance of property in Tshognam. In any event, the account given by ’Od gsal rdo rje concerning his ancestry is wildly at odds with the picture that emerges from the abundant archives of Tshognam itself, presented in Tibetan Sources vol. 2. According to these documents, Ye shes dbang mo actually had two sons, Rig ldan and Rang sgrol, both of whom became lamas, and a daughter, Phur pa dbang mo. The three of originally lived in Lower Tshognam, which is situated on the territory of Tshug. ’Od gsal rdo rje was the illegitimate son of Phur pa dbang mo by a nomad from northern Lo. Following the death of his mother he was evicted from the property she had been allotted for her lifetime, and moved to Upper Tshognam, on the territory of Te. The Tshognam archives leave us in no doubt about the acrimonious relationship between ’Od gsal rdo rje and his uncles. While the author of the present letter does cite his advanced age apparently as an excuse for his failure to remember certain details (l. 9, bdag sna [na] mthon pa yod), this antagonism is surely a more likely reason for his omission to name Rig ldan and Rang grol. His ingenuousness is nevertheless surprising, since it would hardly have been difficult for his Tepa correspondents to establish the truth of the matter.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 34

Date: Earth Tiger year, 1st month, 13th day

Lines: 12 lines of text followed by a long list of temple property

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: first line illegible due to damage

1. sa stags (tshes zla) 13 6 nyin sgen gya [±6S] snying don rtsa tshogs dgong slab bkrang du [±4S]
2. chos dbying su thim nas | dgon bdag med sten | gted lung rgen lha dbang nor bu rgen (kun dga’) (rig ’dzin) rgen (kun dga’) khrin [las]
3. rtsos mi thus yul ba lhan brgyad zhal cham bros thun thogs nas | rang gi sa gnas skyi blam chod | tsham pa rnam brgyal
4. (tshe dbang) me bar pha bu rnam ma rtog med skyen skyis | gong pha bu rnams la dgon bdag byed gos sung rkyang | gong [1S]
5. smon lam gzhing ’das ’di la sku skyed sprul sku ngos brten cig (’byung tshe) stab shil nang khod skyis brgyu nor che rig chung gsum
6. sprul skur rtsis ’phul byas chog [±6S] ±7S
7. ma (’byung tshe) | tshogs rnams dgon pa’i dgon bzhis sa zhing brgyu nor gang yod stab shil nang khod gang yod | pha che bu brgyud
8. du | tsham pa rnam brgyal pha bu rnams la bkal pa dang (nyi zla) nam gnas bar du yul spyi nas ’bul bha yin | nam [b]u
9. tsham rnams sa brten skal bha stong tshe dgon bzhis brgyu nor gang yod | gter yul skyi brgyu bdag gnang brgyu phan tshun
10. gnyis phyogs blo slang gi rgan bgya | dgon bzhi ’di yi brgyu nor che rigs chung gsum (thams cad) tho skod nang ltar sal |||
11. stab shil | (list of property follows)

Since the dissolution of . . . [lacuna] . . . into the dharmadhtu sphere there has been no lama to take care of the temple gSang sngags chos gling. This is an agreement between the Tepas, led by their three headmen. . . . The Anchorite rNam rgyal and Tshe dbang me ’bar, father and son—only these two shall we accept as the chaplains of our land. They shall be in charge of the temple on the condition that they must return the property, listed below, to any future incarnation of the late sMon lam. If there is no [incarnation], everything pertaining to Tshognam temple that is set out in the list—the monastic estate, the fields, the moveable property—shall be offered by the community to Anchorite rNam rgyal and his descendants as long as the world age and the sun and the moon endure. In the event of the lineage coming to an end the temple and its property must be returned to the community of Te.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 35

Date: Fire Dragon year, 1st month, 8th day, Tuesday (1916)

Lines: 15

Script: ’khyug

1. me ’brug zla pa dang po’i tshes 8 re gza’ 3 nyin tshog dgongs (bla ma)
2. bstan pa’i (brgyal mtshan) la | tshe rog gzo pa kun dga’ sri thar nas
3. phar shi spa tar g.yu’i ’bum pa nyo tshong byas pa’i (yi ge) ’bris nas phul
4. snying | don tshan sti ri mgon pa’i (bla ma) (rdo rje) (brgyal mtshan) dang ngos gzo pa kun
5. dga’ sri thar gnyis dngul 100 g.yu bum pa’i rin byas nas nyos pa yin pa da
6. lta tshog dgong (bla ma) la ngos (kun dga’) sri thar khos btab che rkyen rin babs
7. dngul 19 byas nas rtsong pa de phyi su su thad nas gnyed tsher byas mi ’byung
8. tshes ngos tshe rog gzo pa (kun dga’) sri thar nas khas len btang chog cing
9. ma zad dus de nas bskal pa nam stong {[ph]o rog} pha tshe ’bu rab la u
10. sur mi snyan grang skad rtsam me bzhus pa gzo pa (kun dga’) sri thar rtags |
11. (rjes su) su thad nas snyed tsher byung tshe (bla ma) bstan pa’i (brgyal mtshan) gis dngul gang
12. song ngos bkag gzo pa stag la gis phul nying gzhan gis khas len
13. ngos nas gtang phyogs bzhus pa gzo pa stag la rang mi gyur pa’i rtags |
14. gdon bde’i phya spang (nyi ma) bsam grub rtags | gter bsam spel (nyi ma) rtags |
15. bkag spyan rtsugs (chos skyabs) rtags | gter stags la rtags |

A rejoinder (? phar shi pha tar < Nep. prattiutarpatra?) submitted by a blacksmith of Tsherog, named Kun dga’ srid thar. He bought a turquoise vase from Lama rDo rje rgyal mtshan of Tiri dgon pa for 100 rupees. He has now sold it to Lama bsTan pa’i rgyal mtshan of Upper Tshognam for 19 rupees because he badly needed the money. No one may dispute this. The document is a declaration of his honest acquisition of the vase, presumably because he is under suspicion of having stolen it. Nothing so much as the buzzing of a fly (grang skad rtsam < sbrang skad tsam) shall be said about this matter as long as the world age lasts. The deleted syllables [ph]o rog suggest that the scribe was about to add another stock formula of immutability, viz. ‘until the black crow (pho rog) turns white’, but changed his mind. The blacksmith sTag la of Kag undertakes to refund Lama bsTan pa’i rgyal mtshan’s money if anyone successfully disputes Kun dga’ srid thar’s right to sell the vase.
    The witnesses to this agreement are Nyi ma bsam grub (of unspecified provenance), bSam ’phel nyi ma of Te, and Chos skyabs, the overseer (spyan rtsugs < spyan btsug: see Introduction) of Kag.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 36


This document was probably a single scroll that has now fallen into two parts. Part 1 contains 120 lines and the fragments of a few others. Part 2 comprises 110 lines. Each part consists of a number of sections (identified by Roman numerals) dealing with different topics. A number of different, or possibly different, hands (identified by capital letters) are recognisable. The scroll was made by sheets of paper of varying length and width being pasted end to end. The coherence of the text is reduced by the fact that the sheets in question appear to have been writ- ten before the scroll was compiled, probably at different times, and some passages have been inserted in the wrong order. As if all this were not bad enough, the edges of the scroll have suffered a certain amount of wear and tear over the years with the consequence that several passages consist of series of incomplete lines. Almost inevitably, the most badly damaged sec- tion is a passage that is historically the most interesting. The work is written in cursive dbu med script, and although it contains numerous vagaries of orthography as well as some idiomatic forms, both the handwriting and the style suggest a degree of erudition that is rarely matched in other documents of the archive. At the present day, scribal tasks are carried out by the rNying ma pa lamas of Tshognam. However, we know that Te once had a number of monks who were associated with the Sa skya pa monasteries of the Muktinath Valley. The likelihood that at least part of the work was written by a Sa skya pa monk rather than a rNying ma pa lama is enhanced by a quotation from Sa skya Paita at the end of Section VIII. No dates appear in the text, but certain indicators provide us with a clue as to when it may have been— and when it was not—written. An important hint is provided by the following two passages:

    In the time of...(?)gardzong, the army of the Pöndrung and the armies of Thag and Som [and the army of Lo?]...when they surrounded Dangardzong with their armies, the dzong was abandoned...on top of the...os Pass [?]...the Tshugwas all turned back from the military camp... ...Also, from Lego (?) Sonam Pema said, “Wicked [people of] Tibet, in the past you [or, first of all you]...
    ....we shall see whether or not you/they send orders to the subjects (i.e. Baragaon?), he said. This point is [an instance of the way in which] they brought disgrace upon you (Part 1, ll. 84–88).

And later:
    During the conflict between Tibet and Mon, we went to [the side of] the good (lit. white) people of Tibet (Part 1, ll. 117–118).

The second excerpt tells us simply that there was a war between Tibet and Mon, and that “we”, the Tepas, fought on the side of the former.
    The opening phrase of the section, “In the time of [Dang]gardzong...”, implies that Dangardzong had been destroyed by the time the document was written, and the remaining lines do appear to deal with the events that led up to its fall. The modern settlement of Dangardzong is situated to the west of the Kali Gandaki, near the larger village of Phelag. On a ridge to the west of the village are the ruins a fortress, locally called Drakardzong (presumably Brag dkar rdzong), ‘the Fortress of the White Crag’. At the foot of the fortress it is possible to discern the remains of a settlement which, local folklore has it, was destroyed along with the defensive structures in some forgotten military action. The implication of this passage in the document is that Dangardzong was besieged, and possibly destroyed, by a combined force from Baragaon (‘the army of the Pöndrung’), Thag, Thini (Som) and one other area: all that remains of this last location in the text is a subscript l, which suggests that the army in question may have been that of Lo (Glo bo), but this must remain conjectural. We do not know whether Dangardzong was being attacked because it was on the side of the Monpas, or because the Monpas were using Dangardzong as a stronghold.

    Jumla helped Baragaon to secede from Lo in the second half of the eighteenth century. The two excerpts cited above tells us that this could not have been the conflict in question: first, Tibet is involved in the conflict; second, the Monpas are the enemies, not the allies; and final- ly, if Lo was involved, it was on the same side as Baragaon. Deferential reference is made to the ruling family of Baragaon—“you who protect us, the sKya rgyal family” (Part 1, ll. 20ff). The first member of this family to come to Lo—at the instigation of the king—was a certain Khro bo ’bum, who settled in a place called Kyekyagang (sKya rgyal sgang), a short distance to the east of Monthang. It was Khro bo ’bum’s son, Khro bo skyabs pa, who was sent to the Muktinath Valley to rule southern Lo on behalf of the king in the first half of the sixteenth century (Schuh 1995: 42–43; 52–53). Absence of acknowledgement of any institutions and representatives of Jumla, and the ongoing skirmishing with “Monpas”, suggests that Jumla had not yet established itself in the area.
    Among the protagonists mentioned in this document are two kings: one is named as Big ram sras, and the other as Sa li ban (Part 1, l. 91). “Big ram sras” almost certainly denotes King Vikrmahi, who ruled Jumla from 1602 to 1631 (Pandey 1997: 196–201); “Sa li ban” is prob- ably Salivahana, a seventeenth-century Magar king of Jumla.1 Another possibly identifiable figure is “the minister dBram shing” who appears on l. 107 of Part 1. The Mon thang Bem chag refers to two diplomatic missions by a certain “minister Sram shing” of Jumla in the years 1638 and 1639 (Schuh 1994: 82). Both forms are undoubtedly attempts to reproduce the Hindu name “Rm Singh” in Tibetan, and it is likely that they are the same person. The events described in the present document therefore seem to have taken place around the middle of the seventeenth century, and may concern the actions leading to Jumla’s establishment of its hege- mony in the region during the reign of [Vîra]bahdur hi (1635–1665; cf. Pandey 1997: 202; Schuh ibid.: 77).

Structure and content
The document is essentially a long letter of complaint from the people of Te to the rulers of Baragaon in the Muktinath Valley. As a result of the damaged condition of the beginning and end of the scroll, neither the sender nor the addressee is specified, but the content of the work leaves us in little doubt as to the intention underlying the composition. The complaints relate to the behaviour of the people of Tshug, who are accused of having perpetrated a variety of crimes against other settlements in the region, but particularly against Te. The document appeals to the rulers of the region, the Kyekya Gangba nobles who reside in the Muktinath Valley, to punish the Tshugpas for their misdemeanours. It points out that, in addition to causing widespread suffering among the common people of Shod, the Tshugpas have violated a number of laws that were promulgated by the rulers. These grievances are epecially interesting insofar as they tell us which laws were regarded at the time as having been promulgated by the Kyekya Gangba rulers.

Sections I–II, ll. 1–59

This initial section contrasts the civic virtues of Te with the violations committed by the peo- ple of Tshug. It is evident that there were certain laws to which members of all communities were obliged to conform, but we do not know whether they were actually introduced, or merely reconfirmed, by the Kyekya Gangba rulers. Thus the Tepas, who emphasise that they have been “looking after their dependents”, provide a number of illustrations of their law-abiding nature:

1. There has been an equitable distribution of animal-dung (a valuable source of fuel and fertiliser) among all villagers irrespective of their status.
2. Orphans under thirteen years of age have been exempted from paying poll-taxes to the com- munity.
3. Compassionate leave of absence from village duties has been granted to recently-bereaved householders.
4. Corvée and transportation duties for householders with few members have been reduced, and the tax-burden of poorer members of the community has been lightened.

One of the conclusions that can be drawn from this section is that tax obligations and other forms of service to the rulers in the Muktinath Valley were organised not on the basis of individual households but of entire communities. However, while the communities were entitled to manage the distribution of these duties among their component households, there were cer- tain legal requirements that had to be followed in the apportionment of tasks. It will be seen presently that certain types of duties were allocated not to individual communities, but to whole groups of settlements within the enclave.
    The Tepas also state that they are complying with laws against the dissolution of estates. The document cites three instances in which households abandoned their estates, and the community, in accordance with the law, desisted from dissolving them. In one case the villagers were able to find a substitute occupant; in the other two, even though no substitutes could be found the estates were retained intact.
    There is a suggestion that the maintenance of social hierarchical distinctions was required by law. One of the Tepas who abandoned his estate became a wandering bard (ma i pa), but returned to Te apparently with the intention of reclaiming his property. But bards were of low social status then, as indeed they are at the present time, and the Tepas emphasise the fact that they have not shared any utensils with him pending a decision from the ruler regarding his future. The implication is that the ruler himself had the authority to raise the status of one of his subjects, a procedure that in this case would be a prerequisite to his reintegration into the community as a householder.
    These instances of civic conformism are then contrasted with the offences of the Tshugpas, who have “turned their backs on the dPon drung sKya rgyal gang pa”. There is a reference to Tsarang (tsang rang) in the same sentence (Section 1, l. 33), but because of damage to the text we unfortunately do not know the relevance of this town in the context. We may only speculate on the possibility that there was some tension between the noble rulers of Tsarang and those of the Muktinath Valley, and that Tshug is being accused of some treacherous associa- tion with the former.
    The document then lists several examples of how Tshug, in contrast with Te, has failed to abide by the rule whereby abandoned estates should not be dissolved, but have even gone so far as to forbid those who have returned to the village to reclaim their property—behaviour which, as the document points out, “tends towards the destruction of the community”. Furthermore, in contrast to the compassion shown by the Tepas to the poor of their community, the Tshugpas have enslaved a number of individuals who were unable to pay their poll-taxes, and have extorted from certain defaulting debtors property greatly exceeding the value of the debt.

Section III, ll. 60–83
This section, which begins on a new sheet of paper, elaborates on a subject that has already been introduced in Section I: the destruction by the Tshugpas of other settlements in Shod. Tshug is accused here of causing the abandonment of four villages: Chuwer, Samar, Kyudeng and Tshumpag. Gyaga and Tsele, though continuing to hold on, are also under severe pressure from Tshug. The names Chuwer, Kyudeng and Tshumpag all correspond to areas of pasture- land within a few hours’ walk of Tshug, and the presence of abandoned fields and buildings on these sites testifies to the fact that they were indeed once inhabited settlements. (For more detailed descriptions of these sites see Ramble and Seeber 1995.)
    However, it is not merely the seizure of these territories that gives the Tepas cause for com- plaint. The tax liabilities of the abandoned settlements are now being shouldered by all the sur- viving communities of Shod, even though it is only the Tshugpas who are enjoying usufruct of the lands they have appropriated. The document points out that “in the great rdzongs”—by which we should probably understand all the communities under the aegis of Dzar, Dzong, Kag and perhaps Dangardzong, the tax obligations of any settlement are paid only by those who use its fields and pastures. In conformity with this principle, it is argued, either the Tshugpas alone should be responsible for paying the taxes of the communities they have annexed, or else the other Shod villages should have access to these lands.
    Now these arguments enable us to draw certain interesting conclusions regarding the apportionment of tax obligations in Baragaon during this period. We have already seen that, for certain categories of tax, the rulers dealt not with individuals or householders but whole communities; how the communities raised the funds (probably grain, rather than cash) was their own affair, although the rulers do appear to have laid down certain guidelines regarding clemency to the indigent. In the case of other tax-obligations, however, it appears that the rulers dealt with the Shod as a whole, rather than with its component villages. Further light on the matter is shed by another document in the archive, HMA/Te/Tib/37.

Section IV, ll. 84–90
The relatively greater width of the two sheets of paper on which this and the following section are written has resulted in damage to the edges of the page, with the unfortunate result that the meaning of much of the two passages—historically the most interesting part of the entire scroll—is obscure. The opening phrase of the section, “In the time of [Dang] gar dzong..”., implies that Dangardzong had been destroyed by the time the document was written, and the remaining lines do appear to deal with the events that led up to its fall. The modern settlement of Dangardzong is situated to the west of the Kali Gandaki, near the larger village of Phelag. On a ridge to the west of the village are the ruins a fortress, locally called Drakardzong (presumably ’Brag dkar rdzong). At the foot of the fortress it is possible to discern the remains of a settlement which, local folklore has it, was destroyed along with the fortress in some forgotten military action. The implication of this passage in the document is that Dangardzong was besieged, and possibly destroyed, by a combined force from Baragaon (“the army of the dPon drung”), Thag, Thini (Som) and one other area: all that remains of this last location in the text is a subscript l, which suggests that the army in question may have been that of Lo (Glo or Klo), but this must remain conjectural.
    There is a suggestion of hostility between Te and Tshug on the one hand and between Tshug and Tibet on the other. It is implied that Baragaon (together with Te) and Tibet were somehow allied in an unspecified conflict, but that Tshug acted treacherously against Baragaon. These lines of battle, as it were, become slightly clearer in the following section.

Section V, ll. 90–120
While the identification of King Sa li ban (Salivahana) in l. 91 remains uncertain, the mention of Minister dBram shing (Rm Singh) later on in this section suggests that these events took place during the reign of Vîrabahdur hi. Part of the problem with understanding what is going on is the uncertain identity of the ‘Monpas’ whom the Tshugwas appear to have been backing. On the face of it, it seems that the treachery of Tshug against its neighbours went as far as supporting Jumla against the Kyekya Gangba dukes. ‘Monpa’ may also refer to some other group of southerners such as Parbat, who are known to have intervened in later conflicts between Lo and Jumla. If this is the case, then the Monpas are friendly forces who were behav- ing in an undisciplined manner towards the local civilian population, and the Tshugwas were profiting from their excesses. If not, and the Monpas are indeed the hostile troops of Jumla, then we are confronted with the extraordinary spectacle of a member of the Baragaon enclave acting against the interests of all the others. How could it be that Tshug was in a position to ally itself with an enemy of both the Muktinath Valley and of Lo? Tshug, and indeed the other Shod yul, seem at this stage to have enjoyed a greater degree of autonomy from the Muktinath Valley than they were to in later times. As stated in the Introduction, the name Baragaon (Tib. Yul kha bcu gnyis) means the ‘Twelve Settlements’, but actually denotes a group of eighteen settlements. We know that by the mid-seventeenth century Tshug and its neighbours were regarded as part of Baragaon. Could it be that, prior to the events described in this document, the Shod yul were not directly under the jurisdiction of the dukes of the Muktinath Valley; and that they were reined in only after the subsequent reprisals against Tshug—mentioned in the text—by the Kyekya Gangba dukes? The exclusion of the five Shod yul and Samar would leave us with twelve villages—possibly the eponymous core group. In the absence of supporting evidence, however, this must remain conjectural for now.
    In any event, in the Muktinath Valley only Dzar and Dzong seem to have been able to hold out against the invaders, while Te stood alone in the Shod yul.

Section VI: Part 2, ll. 1–35
The events referred to in this excerpt (written in a different hand from the passages cited ear- lier) clearly took place at a different time from those documented in the first part. They have the character of acts of petty peacetime banditry, rather than of offences perpetrated against whole communities during the general mayhem of war. Moreover, the Kyekya rulers, instead of being beseiged in their strongholds, are in a position to do something about the misbehaviour of their Tshugwa subjects. In this case, the Tepas are not lodging any formal complaint, as due punishment against their neighbours seems to have been meted out. They are merely listing the Tshugwas’ offences in various parts of Mustang for the sake of the record.

Section VII: Part 2, ll. 36–90
This section (written in the same hand as Section V, above) brings the narrative back to a period of war, and the injustices suffered by Te over the system of military corvée that was imposed in the villages. We are told that these events occurred during the time of Vikrmahi (r. 1602–1631). If the identification of this figure and of Rm Singh are correct, it is likely that the order of Sections V and VII has been reversed by the compilers of the scroll: the scribe of these two sections (Hand E) in any case appears to be the same.

Section VIII: Part 2, ll. 91–116
Like Section VI, this section has the flavour of peacetime complaints against the uncivil behaviour of the people of Tshug. The structure—consisting of the numbered itemisation of grievances—is the same, and it is possible that the hand in which it is written is identical to that of Section VI.


Part 1: Transliteration
The beginning of the document missing. A few syllables of two preceding lines are visible on a small fragment. Transcription begins at the first full line.

Section I, Hand A
1. byas pa yin | de yang zhab rtog du ’gro yin yod mchis |
2. nged kyis zhol ma rnams la skyong ltar byed lugs zur tsam zhu ba la |
3. ri ga’i lud kyang kon pas dab nas grag zhan yed mnyam [d]u
4. go ba yin | mi smon pa’i do tsam lus pa byung na yang lo bcu [gs]u[m]
5. gyi ring la khral med la bzhag pa yin | de yang zhab rtog du ’gro [S -]
6. yod mchis | mi smon pa’i gnas mo shi ba |b|[y]u [ng] |na| [±2S]
7. lo [±3S] |g|s ’du’i sar yong mi dgos [±3S]
8. [±4S] [1?]kral dus ma (stogs) ci ston [±3S]
9. [±4S] yin mchis | de la bed dang chang ’dren cig [kyang?]
10. [±4S] [m]chis | de yang zhab rtog du ’gro yin yod |
11. mch[i]s | bya btang dpal ldan dar yul thon rung zhing khang sas
12. kyag med pa nor dpal la ’du ba tsug pa yin | de yang zhab
13. rtog du ’gro yin yod mchis | ta spyang chos la bros
14. rung kun dga’ tshe ring gi tsun pa log rog byis byas
15. zhu ba phul kyang log ma nyan pa dang | rgya ga’ tshe ring (lhun grub)
16. gyi bu cig ’du tshab la dgos byas pas yong du ma nyan |
17. spyi byas kyang ’du tshab zung khan ma byor ba ma rtog khang zhing
18. gang la yang sas kyag ma byas mchis | yang de tshams
19. bu chen tho rang chos ’gros la song rung tso ’or zhal ngo
20. rnams kyis ’gug so cig gnangm bsam | zhing khang gang la
21. yang sas kyag med pa lo cig zhag pa yin mchis |
22. ma i ba byas yong rung zhal ngo rnams kyis gong pa nam byung |gy|i
23. bar | nged sted pa dang kha ’ad yang ma sres pa yin chis |
24. nged kyis g.yung rung nor bzab la chu thag gi zur phe slang du cug nas
25. ’du ba’i thes byas pa yin mchis | de yang zhab rtog du
26. ’gro yin yod mchis | nged kyi mi med pa la ’u lag

27. gi chags | nor med pa la khral chags byas ma byas zhal ngo
28. rnams kyi snyan yul du san pa yin mchis | kho tshug
29. pas zhab ’dren du ’gro ba byas pa la | kho tshug pas mar bsod
30. nam gyi bu cig po bsad tsang sle ba yul stong la thug pa de kho tshug
31. pa la thug | de zhab rtog yin nam zhab ’dren yin | thu[gs]
32. gong tso ba zhu | kho tshug pa ka zhab rtog che zer gyin [’d]|u|[g |]
33. dpon drung skya rgyal gang pa la gyab rtan nas tsang rang la [ngo?]
34. [l]|o|g pa de | zhab rtog yin nam zhab ’dren yin thug g[o]ng
35. tso ba zhu | tshel ldan ngo log rung zhal ngo rnams kyis gong
36. pa gnang ste | bi tsa ’di ru yong rung khang zhing rnams la |dm|i|g|
37. snye byas nas | mi ster ba de zhab rtog yin nam zhab ’dren
38. yin thug gong tso ba zhu | nam kha bsam grub yul thon rung
39. ’gug so mi byed par zhing khang la dmig snye byas nas mi ster ba
40. de zhab rtog yin nam zhab ’dren yin thug gong tso ba zhu | god pa
41. yul thon rung ’gug so mi byed par | zhing khang rnams la dmig
42. sny[e] byas nas stan shig tsad khyer du ’gro ba byas pa yin [|] de zhab
43. [’dre]n du ’gro mi ’gro thug gong tso ba zhu | yang glo gros don
44. grub yul thon rung zhing khang rnams la dmig snye byas nas ’gug
45. so ma byed par zas de yul gyi phyag shig tu ’gro mi ’gro
46. thug gong tso ba zhu | yang (lhun grub) bros rung khang zhing kun zas
47. stan shig gi rtsa ba ru ’gro mi ’gro thug gong tso ba zhu |

Section II, Hand B
48. der ma zad khyed (tshug pa’i) grags rigs rnams kyi tshug pa gzhol
49. ma’i phral phran bu ma ’khor ba la mon pa’i bsam grub la
50. snya zung byas nas g.yog por skol pa yin | yang dpal ’bar
51. gyi sring mo pal mo mon pa’i g.yog por skol ba yin |

New sheet, Hand B contd

52. tshe ring don ’grub kyi a mas na mo che snya zung byas

53. nas na mo che nam shi’i bar g.yog por skol ba
54. yin | yang blug ti mas mad gnyis snya bzung byas
55. g.yog por skol ba yin | steng ya’i bsam ’grub
56. (dpal ldan) gyi za di la tsha zo ba phyed la zhing zo ba zhi sa
57. phrog | yang glu gu’i bu sangs rgyas shi med la sha zhog
58. cig la nas bod khal bdun dang sha chang dang bcas pa zas |
59. de yang dpon drung rnams kyi zhabs ’dren yin |

Section III, new sheet, Hand C
60. chu bar stong pa’i phral | sa dmar stong pa’i phral |
61. skyus rdeng stong pa’i phral | ’tshum pag stong pa’i phral |
62. de rnams kyi phral khong gi khur yin yod mchi
63. bsam | de rnams kyi ri klung kun ’khong gi ’cad
64. kyin yod mchi pas | de rnams kyi ’o gom ’u
65. lag rnams ’khong gi khur yin yod mchi bsam |
66. yul chung ’di rnams stong rtu cug pa’i rtsa ba
67. tshug pa la thug mchi pas | yul chung
68. ’di rnams kyi ’o gom ’u lag ’khong la dkal
69. ba zhu | gal srid ’khong la dkal ba mi
71. la dgos nas snang ba zhu | ri zhing ’di rnams
72. kyi ’o gom ’u lag kun nged shod pa’i khur ba
73. yin mchi pas thug dgong tso ba zhu |
74. rgya ga tsang le gnyis kyang ma chag na
75. ’khong la za rgyu yod bsam nas | ri rlung
76. thams cad la ang che byed kyin yod mchi |
77. tshwa ku’i thad la rdzong chen rnams la yang | ri rlung
78. thul nas ma rtog gzhan thams cad la
79. phral ston pa yin | tshug pa’i ri gye
80. kun thul na ma rtog tshwa ku gter rgyu med
81. nyed sted pa tshwa ku kyang pa la chags pa yin
82. chu bar tab na chu bar gyi rim kyel kyi ’u lag tab khan de’i
83. rkyal rgyu yin |

Section IV, new sheet, Hand D

84. [ ]|(gs)| gar rdzong gi (skabs su) dpon drung gi dmag thag som gyi dmag [-]l[ ]
85. [ ][d?]mag dang bcas pas dangs gar rdzong skor ba’i dus rdzong bor na[s][ ]
86. []os la kha la|gar thog nas tshug pa kun ngo log pa’i[]
87. [ ]|y|l|ang blas sgo nas bsod rnams padma’i kha nas bod ngan khyod sngar [ ]
88. [ ]|l|nga shab la lung tang rgyu yong mi yong rta ’o zer nas zhab|s| [ ]
89. [ ]|by|as pa’i na ma de ma zad nyed sted pa’i sgo skras (thams cad) tshug pa’i khyer ba yod [ ] ...

Section V, new sheet,2 Hand E
90. [?] mangs la (rags) pa rgyu skar lta bu yod kyang | nyung la bsdus pa nyi zla lta bu’i tshig
gs[u]m zh[u] ...
91. [?][m]|ch|is | rgyal po sa li ban dang slon po rgyam dpal bzang gnyi tshug su [-]r[±1] [ ]
92. []zhab dren byas pa’i na ma dang gcig|tshug pa’i kha nas sted pa’i phu gu[]
93. [ ]|n|us na | shod pa gzhan rnams rang ’grol la ’gro zer nas | phu gu’i gsang [ ]
94. [ ]|n|as|kham byas pa dang na ma gnyis|phu gu la za mi kha ba dang tshug pa’i mi[]
95. [ ]s gyab nus tshad kyis | mon khrid nas ston thog yod tshad zas pa’i na ma dang
[gs]u[m][ ]
96. [ ]ng de’i ma chog par mon gyi bor ba la | tshug pas sted pa’i khang pa rnams dang [m?]e []
97. [?] la btang ba dang na ma bzhi | yang sog ma’i nang du rkun chu drang nas | [±1]e[ ]
98. [ ]l<a?> tshug pas dzar rdzong gnyis man pa (thams cad) bab tshar khyed kyang bab pa rigs | d[ ]
99. []bab na zhugs tu mthar dge mo mi yong zer lab tu yong ba dang na ma lnga[]
100. [ ] |m|a zad | stang yed pa rgya ga gtsang sle rnams bab dgos byung ba yang | tshug pas [±1]u[ ]
101. []mi bab kha med byung ba yin pas na ma drug|al cang par gyi tsos pa’i[]
102. []rnams kyis ston thog gi dog len tu shog zer|don gyi mon la phra[]
103. [ ]s nas nged kyi rgan pas tsos pa’i drag rig rnams med par btang ’grab[ ]
104. []’i na ma dang bdun|de tsham nged la mon gyi bya btang nas|rgan pa rnams[]
105. [ ] |s|man gyi an dar nam byung gi bar rang zon byas thub pa yin m[ch?]|i|[s?] [ ]
106. [ ] d[e?] tsham tshug pas dpe ston (lugs) la | rdzong la khad lta ba la ba sm[an?] [ ]
107. [ ] slon po dbram shing | al cang par gsum gyi | rdzong nang tu phyin pa’i [ ]
108. []la|rdzong gi zhag kha cig man pa mi thub pas|lan cig[]
109. [ ] |r|dzong la yol pad byed pa rigs zer de la thag cad nas dang gar rdzong tsu[±1] [?]
110. [ ]’i rtsa ba tshug pas byas pa yin mchis pas na ma brgyad | de [tsham?]
111. [ ]dag sted pa’i lo thog | dzar phyog ’grong bdun gyi lo thog za gyu [ ±1]u[ ]
112. []dang|de dus nas kyi go ’dus mi nus pa byung mchi pas na ma dgu[]
113. []sted pa dpon zhen byas brag phug la khras dus za kyu am pol las[]
114. [ ] pa dang sted pa’i ’du ba bcu gsum yul thon pa’i rtsa ba tshug pa la [th?]u[g?]
115. []pa’i na ma dang bcu|chil pa gu bus ’grang pa|bya rgyal ’gyi[ng][]
116. [ ]zhin | khos mon rgyab du khur nas | kha grag gi lugs byas | brag d[ ]
117. rdzong la ’khrim bcod byed zer ba’i na ma dang (bcu gcig) | kha bod mon gnyis thab [ ]
118. skabs su nged bod kyi dkar mi ru song ba dang | bod kyi ’jus song nas mon [ ]

119. g.yul dib pa’i zhor la khong cig gnyis grol pa la | sngar ya[ ]

120. ros sleng gi mi sha len zer ba ’di | lug spyang ku’i bsad pa |l?| [ ]


Selective amendments
1. zhabs tog tu 3. kon pa = SMT kombu, small basket; btab nas; drag zhan med 4. mi dman pa’i; da tse, SMT doze, a child of whom one or both parents are dead 6. mi dman pa’i 9. chang rin? cig 11. khang bsad 12. bskyag med; or sas kyag = Sk sekyag [lawa], to use up, finish; usu- ally Sk sekyag purkyag [lawa] 14. btsun pa log rogs gyis 17. ci byas; zung mkhan 18. de mtshams 19. gtso bo zhal 20. ’gug so zhig, SMT gugso [byed pa], to retrieve; gnangZ basZ 21. bzhag pa yin 22. dgongs pa 23. yin mchis 24. phye slang du bcug 25. the byas 29. zhabs ’dren 30. nams kyi 32. dgongs ’tshol? ba; SMT ka, kata = topicaliser (< Tib. ni); 33. rgyab bstan? 34. yin thugs dgongs 35. kyis dgongs 36. bu tsha (SMT biza); 36–37. mig brnyas = SMT mignye [byed pa], to make use of someone else’s property 38. nam mkha’ 42. bstan bshig rstad ’khyer ? 43. blo gros 45. ’chag ’jig tu 48. drag rigs; tshug pa zhol 49. khral phran bu; mon pas 50. gnya’ zung 51. bkol ba 54. mas mad = SMT meme, mother and daughter, two or more female blood-relatives representing two or more generations 56. ldan gyis gza’ ’di ?; bzhi sa 57. phrogs; sha gzhogs; ’bo khal 60. khral 62. yod mchis 63. ri klungs; gcod < SMT ce, to use (of pastures) 64. ’o gom < Nep. hukum 65. rnams khong gis 66. stong du bcug 68. lag khong la ’gel 70. gnang na 71. bgod nas gnang 74. ma chags na 75. ri klungs 76. dbang che 77. tshwa dku’i? 79. khral bton pa; ri rgyas? 80. ster rgyu 81. rkyang pa 82. btab na; rim skyel gyi; ’debs mkhan des 83. bskyel rgyu; SMT kyal, to carry 85. bskor ba’i 88. mnga’ zhabs la; lung gtang; lta’o 89. na ma < Nep. nm, document? 91. blon po; bzang gnyis 93. SMT la dro = fut. of ’gro ba, to go 95. rgyab nus 99. gzhug tu mthar 101. gyis gtsos pa’i 102. bzlog len du; don gyis 103. gtsos pa’i drag rigs 103. par gtong grabs 104. de mtshams 105. an dar = Nep. dhr, sup- port, buttress? 109. yol ba? 111 phyogs grong bdun; za rgyu 112. kyi sgo sdud 113. dpon zhan bya’i brag; ’khras dus; za rgyu; am pol = SMT ampol, buckwheat residues 114. dud pa bcu 115. mchil pa; gu bu = SMT gumbu, gleanings, grain left in the field; ’grangs pa 116. kha drag 117. khrims gcod byed; gnyis ’thab 118. kyi jus 119. g.yul brdibs 120. spyang kus


(Every tenth line marked for the sake of convenience)

Section I, Hand A
This, too, is an instance of how we, the Tepas, have honoured you. We would like to say (zhu ba la) a few things (zur tsam) about the way in which we have been looking after our dependents (zhol ma). Even the dung from the hillsides has been measured out in baskets and divided up equally without consideration of status (grag zhan yed [drag zhan med]). If it happens that someone is left behind as the orphan of a poor man we have stipulated that no [poll] taxes need be paid for such a person before he or she reaches the age of thirteen. This is also an instance of how we honour you. If the wife of an unfortunate person dies, he does not need to come to the assembly place [to attend village meetings for a specified number of days?].

[Lines 8,9,10 are too damaged to translate. The passage seems to mention payments to the community, which include ‘interest’ (bed) and a quantity of beer made from one ’dren (of grain). The term ’dren probably signifies the Teke word drin (SMT bokhal, Tib. ’bo khal), equivalent to twenty zo ba.]

10. In this case too we have honoured you.

Although the renouncer dPal ldan dar has left the community, we have not dissolved his estate but have put Nor dpal there to occupy it (’du ba). This, too, is an instance of the way we honour you. Ta spyang has gone off to lead a religious life. Kun dga’ tshe ring begged him to renounce his vows, but he would not agree to renounce. Although we told one of the sons of Tshe ring lhun grub of rGya ga that we needed him as a substitute occupant he did not agree to come. Not only have we been unable to find a substitute occupant, do whatever we might, we have not harmed the integrity of the estate in any way.

    And furthermore, after Bu chen tho rang left for the religious life our noble masters

20. told us to bring him back. We left the estate for one year without making any infringement on it. He has come [back] here after becoming a bard. While awaiting [the relevant] permission from you nobles, he has not shared any utensils at all (? ’ad yang) with us Tepas (lit. ‘mixed mouths’). We have let gYung [d]rung nor bzab beg for his flour beside the water mill, and have occupied ourselves with his [possible] tenancy of [the empty estate]. This, too, is an instance of how we honour you.
    You nobles have heard whether or not we have reduced the corvée obligations of those [households] with few [lit. no] family members, and the tax payments of those with little wealth.
    But those Tshugpas have brought disgrace on you. Those Tshugpas have

30. killed the only son of Mar bsod nam. The responsibility for depopulating [lit. emptying] the community of the people of Tsang sle (Tsele) lies with the Tshugpas. Kindly reflect on whether this is to your honour or your disgrace. The Tshugpas, for their part, speak as if they honoured you highly (?); but they turned their backs on the dPon drung sKya rgyal gang pa and [defected?] to Tsarang. Please consider whether this is honour or disgrace.
    Even though Tshel ldan defected, your lordships forgave him. His son returned here [to Tshug], but the Tshugpas had appropriated his estate and would not give it to him. Please consider whether this is honour or disgrace. Nam kha bsam grub left the community. However, [the Tshugpas] did not call him back but occupied his estate and will not give it to him [now that he has returned?].

40. Please consider whether this is to your honour or your disgrace. God pa left the community. They did not bring him back but appropriated his estate, acting in such a way as to violate the law (lit. destroy the doctrine) and remove its foundations. Please consider whether or not this constitutes something that disgraces you.
    And furthermore, after Glo gros don grub left the community they took away his estate. They did not bring him back, but seized it—please consider whether or not this tends towards the destruction of the community.
    Then lHun grub also ran away, and they seized his entire estate. Please consider whether or not this comprises a fundamental violation of the law.

Section II, Hand B
Not only this, because the powerful ones among you Tshugwas did not make up the small tax deficits of the Tshugwas in your care, the Monpas

50. seized bSam grub by the neck and enslaved him.
    dPal ’bar’s sister, Pal mo, has also been enslaved by the Monpas.

New sheet, Hand B contd.
Tshe ring don ’grub’s mother has seized Na mo che by the neck and has enslaved Na mo che for life. Both Blug ti and her daughter have been seized by the neck and enslaved.
    They have appropriated a field with a seed capacity of four zo ba from the za di3 of bSam ’grub of sTeng ya (Taye)[in return for the non-payment of a debt of?] half a zo ba of salt. Moreover, they have taken (zas) seven ’bo khal of barley as well as meat and beer from Sangs rgyas shi med, the son of Glu gu, [in return for a debt of] a side of mutton. These things, too, are a disgrace to our rulers.

60. Section III, new sheet, Hand C
We think that [the Tshugpas] should pay the taxes for the abandoned settlements of Chu bar, Sa dmar, sKyus rdeng and ’Tshum pag. They are using the pastures and fields of these places. We think that they should be responsible for [performing] the government transportation duties (’o gom ’u lag) [accruing to these abandoned settlements].
    The main responsibility for causing these small settlements to be abandoned lies with the Tshugpas. Please allocate the government transportation duties of these small settlements to them. If you do not so allocate them, please divide up these hill-fields among all us people of Shod, and

70. give them to us. Please note that the government transportation duties of these abandoned settlements (lit. ‘wilderness fields’)4 is being borne by all of us Shod pa. Thinking that if rGya ga and Tsang le too were uninhabited they would take them for themselves, [The Tshugpas] are putting pressure on all their pastures and fields. Concerning our salt mines: in the capital towns everyone has been exempted from paying taxes except for those who are exploiting the pastures and fields. Only if everyone can use Tshug’s extensive (gye for rgyas ?) pasturelands5

80. shall we let them [use] our saltmines. We Tepas settled here only for our salt mines. If [the fields of] Chu bar are planted, whoever does the planting should be responsible for fulfilling the transportation duties pertaining to Chu bar’s section of the trail (rim skyel).

Section IV, new sheet, Hand D
In the time of ... (?) gar rdzong, the army of the dPon drung and the armies of Thag and Som [and the army of Lo?] ... when they surrounded Dangs gar rdzong with their armies, the rdzong was abandoned... on top of the ...os Pass [?] ...the Tshugpas all turned back from Gar thog...
    ... Also, from Blas sgo (?) [the Tshugpa?] bSod rnams padma said, “Wicked [people of] Tibet, in the past you [or, first of all you]...
    ... we shall see whether or not you/they send orders to the subjects (i.e. Baragaon?),6 he said. This point (na ma) is [an instance of the way in which] they brought disgrace upon you (zhabs... = zhabs [’dren ]?). Not only this, but the Tshugpas took away all the door-ladders of us Tepas...

Section V, new sheet, Hand E
90. While a detailed account would be [as dense as] the constellations, we shall present a brief summary [of the main features], like the sun and the moon.
    ... King Sa li ban and his minister, rGyam dpal bzang, those two, ... to Tshug

    ... this is the first instance of [the Tshugpas] bringing disgrace [on you?].

The Tshugpas said, If [we] can...the Tepas caves, the other Shod pa will give themselves up (?). They were longing to (kham byas)...from the secret [entrance?]...of the caves...—this is the second point.

Those who would seize the caves, the Kha ba7 and the far as they were able to. They brought the Monpas and pillaged as much of the harvest (ston thog) as there was—this is the third point.

But they were not satisfied with that. When the Monpas left them, the Tshugpas set [fire?] to the houses of the Tepas—this is the fourth point.

Furthermore, they channelled (drang) stolen water into the sprouting crops...
... The Tshugpas said, Apart from Dzar and Dzong, everyone has surrendered; you, too, must (rigs) surrender. If you [do not?] surrender, later on, in the end (zhugs tu mthar), it will not be good. They came to tell us that—this is the fifth point.

100. ... Not only this, the sTang yed pas and the people of rGya ga and gTsang sle had to surrender. The fact that they were left with no option (kha med) but to submit was the doing of the Tshugwas—this is the sixth point.

The ... who were headed by Al cang par said, Come and collect the compensation (dog [bzlog]) for your [damaged] crops. But in actual fact they [the Tshugpas?] betrayed us to the Monpas and we, a noble people led by our headmen, were almost annihilated—this is the seventh point.

Then, the Monpas ceased their actions against us (? bya btang...). [Our?] headmen...
... Until support from [the?] Ba sman8 came we were able to take care...
... Then, following the example of the Tshugwas, in the same way as at the rdzong (?)...
the Ba sman, the minister dBram shing (Ram Singh) and Al cang par, those three, ... go into the rdzong. Because the rdzong could hold out only for a few days, this time it would be best to avoid [launching a direct attack?]. This is what they decided. The Tshugwas are the ones who are primarily responsible for [...] (tsu[ ]: perh. for gtsugs , ‘digging a way into’?) Dang gar rdzong -

110. this is the eighth point.
...ought to seize (za gyu [rygu]) the harvest of us Tepas and the harvest of seven households in the vicinity of Dzar, ... and at that time we (?) were unable to gather the ears of barley (? nas kyi go [sgo])—this is the ninth point.

When [we] Tepas, powerful and lowly (lit. ‘noble and weak’) alike, took refuge in the Cliff Caves of the Birds, we had [nothing] to eat but dried buckwheat stalks and leaves.9 The Tshugpas are the main reason for thirteen of the Tepas’ hearths leaving the community—this is the tenth point.

Like sparrows filled with grain that ... the proud royal vulture,10 with the support of the Monpas they acted arrogantly, saying that they would punish us (lit. sentence us) in the crags and in the rdzong (or in Dangardzong?)—this is the eleventh point.

During the conflict between Tibet and Mon, we went to [the side of] the good (lit. white) people of Tibet. The Tibetan strategy worked, but together with the collapse of the Monpas’ army one or two of [the Monpas?] escaped.
    In the past...

120. this saying that revenge for the people of ros sleng (?)...wolf killing sheep...



20. ’Gug so: the expression ’gug so byed pa also occurs below (ll. 39, 41), and appears to mean ‘wait’ (sgug) rather than ‘bring back’ (’gug).

22. ff. Maipas are regarded even now as being of lower status, and people do not ‘mix mouths’ with them. gYung drung nor bzab is probably another maipa who is being cited as an example of how the Tepas treat members of the profession: he is not allowed into their houses but must wait by the water mill to receive his alms, presumably a proportion of the tsampa that people grind here.

64. ’o gom: from Nep. hukum, ‘order, command, government’. In the present case it may designate some specific type of obligation, but is more likely to be simply an epithet of ’u lag, ‘government corvée obligations’.

70. Ri zhing: the expression is probably not quite synonymous with ri klungs. Ri klungs means ‘pastures and fields’, whereas ri zhing (in Panchgaon for example) means only cultivated land in uninhabited areas.

77. The great rdzongs: possibly a reference to Dzong, Dzar, Kag and Dangardzong? Samar does not seem to have been included as one of the five rgyal sa of Baragaon at that stage.

80. Exploiting: thul here is unlikely to refer solely to cultivation; except in the case of ri zhing (see above, note to l. 70) only klungs, not ri, are cultivated.

92–94. Phu gu: further below it becomes clear that this can only mean caves. Phu gu could refer to one of two sets of caves, or perhaps to both. Several hours east of Te is a site from which one group of Tepas say they came. Called Nawo Dzong or Nawo Phug. (Note that in the settlement of De, the name Dzong designates the local cliff full of caves.) This consists of a built settlement on a cliff top with caves in the cliff face below it. The other is the set of caves in the cliffs opposite Te, on the north side of the Narshing Chu. Today, the latter are referred to as Iwi Meme Yephug, the High Caves of the Grandmothers and Grandfathers.


Part 2, Transliteration
Section VI, new sheet, Hand F
1. [±9S] |zh|as pa dang [±3S]
2. [±6S] srog gi phung ’dre zhes pa [±3S]
3. [±5S]s par bshad pa rin po che’i g[-]e[ ]
4. [±5S] |ji ltar| [zlo-] gyur kyang | zur du [±2]
5. ’babs pa kho nar ’dod zhes su pa ltar | tshugs pa’i rkun |mo|
6. rkus pa’i lor rgyus zur tsam sleng ba la | sted pa drung |p|[a?]
7. dang | (sangs rgyas) gnyis kyi phu ku nas am dmar zho phyed dang g|sum|
8. dga’ krug kyi tso byas nas rkus pa’i na ma dang cig |
9. den tsham su | rgyus can phug du zhug | nyam can
10. gra ru lang nas | de’i byes la | zhang lha skyabs kyi | nge|d|
11. sted pa’i phu ku srung ba klus nas | hor bum kyi phu ku na|s|
12. gser zho phyed dang do’i kug rkus pa’i na ma dang gnyis |
13. den tsham nged sted pa’i rwa tsam dang tsam rkus | tshe
14. ring don grub dang | (nam mkha’) bsam grub gnyis kyi shags
15. gyabs dus | rkun tsang ston res byed pa khong thams cad
16. kyi blo la bsam ba’i na ma dang gsum | der ma
17. zad | drung pa’i phu ku dga’ drug gi rkud nas sngon
18. lo char ba’i a ma dang bzhi | den tsham rgya ga ba’i
19. phu ku rkus pa’i {(bsam mchog) srung kan gyi rgad mo bsad [±1S]}
20. na ma dang lnga | yang den tsham | rdo rje dpal ’byor gyi z[an?]
21. tshul gyi rgyu khong rang nang rkus nas | zan tshul
22. cag pa’i man ma dang drug | den tsham sne shang
23. ru dmag la gro dus {gra gar [S-] tsha ri [S —] g[-] yul}tshug pas [S-] [-]o[-] [b?]ca[d] nas d[-]i[ ]
24. {[S—] nas rku|s| nas chu stong du [4S] pa}tson btang ba’i
25. {’- bu’i} na ma dang bdun | den tsham su | rnams rgya[l]
26. la gro ’dus rkun mo rkus pa’i na ma dang brgyad |

27. de tsham rkun mo rkus pa’i snong gi dad ma tshug
28. pa gros ’ong pa la (rten nas) | dpon drung zhal ngo rnams
29. kyi kyang chad las dkal ba snang ba yin mchi | dgo[ngs]
30. par snga ba yin | zhes pa dang | mthun par brag thogs
31. kyi phug pa thon po la | sted pa kho bya rgyal gying pa
32. ’dra tshug pa kho cil pa nas zan ’dra [rgyu/ rku] phrogs kyi
33. bya ba ’ba’ zhig byed | skya rgyal (gi gdung) brgyud skyabs khra dang ’|dra|
34. nas zan kyi chil pa skad cig gi gsod | g.yong
35. gril na ma gsum bcu thams pa yin |

Section VII, new sheet, Hand E
36. (snga sor?) rgyal po big ram sras ’pheb dus | |brag| dmar [±2S]
37. spab ste mar lam ’pheb pa’i skabs su | dmag chen [-]|y|[±1]
38. ’u lag stobs che rang grag pa dang | kral bkod byed dgos
39. byas pas | srol med zer kral ma nyan par | nged kyis las
40. nus kun chas kyang ’u lag ma chog pa’i lhag ma btang dgo[s]
41. byas pas | khong gi rgan pa padma (bkra shis) dang tshe ring don grub gnyis
42. kyi rtsos pa’i rgan pa kun yong nas | mon la phra man by[as?]...
43. nged kyi zhing gnyis kyi ston thog byes med la btang rjes
44. yul khang la me btang ba la | ba sman gyi me gsad thub pa
45. yin mchis | ’u lag lhag ma rnams gang krol rung ma
46. nyan par | nged kyis kyal dgos byung ba yin mchis |
47. snga sor kral bkod byed pa’i srol med pa la da phyin chad rgyal
48. po pheb pa byung na | ’u lag gi (rigs) yar mar gnyis ka la
49. kral bkod byed pa byas nas | pho nya ba rgya ga’ sted nas byas
50. ’gro ba’i chad don byas pa la | rgya ga’ kho stang yed nas byas ste
51. song ba|sted du mi yong ba de da ru spyad na|{±6S}
52. {±6S} | Zrgyal po srong tsan rgam po’i zhal
53. nas bzang po la ’dren pa bas | ngan pa la ’dren pa mang |
54. ya rab kyi skyes sar ma rab gyi spyod pa byed | ’dod kha rang
55. gi grub nas gyod kha gzhan la gtong | rang ltog gi dog nas
56. pha ya skyar la ston | zhes gsung pa yang khyed ’dra ba’i tso
57. ’o rnams la gong pa yin par ’dug | gyad pa lha skyab yong rung
58. mthun grub gyi pho nya ba rgya ga’ yong ’dug zer ba rten
59. nas ma byung na ma dang gcig | de tshams bzang po yong rung rgan pa rnams mthun
60. grub gyi pho nya ba rgya ga’ yong ’dug zer ba med pa’i kha
61. la|khos kha nas ci zer na mon la sha khog gcig

62. ster | sted pa’i mi zhing kha nas yod tshad khrid pa’i chog
63. zer | kha bod mang po ston pa ma stogs pho nya ba de zhin byung
64. zer ba ma byung na ma2|da ru spyad na pho nya la yong ba ma yin
65. krug gzhi la yong ba yin pa’dug na ma 3|nor bu tshe ring ge
66. kha nas phan legs pa | stang yed pa glang ngu dang bcas sleb yod
67. rgan pa ’dzom du shog zer ba la | nged kyi ’o na sa tshams su
68. shog lab so cug gin dad pas yong khan ma byung na ma bzhi | de’i
69. nang par (rdo rje) dpal sbyor dang god pa shag gnyis yong nas | (bkra shis)
70. (tshe dbang) la ltos zer du byung ba la | yar bos nas tsab mo ster
71. ba’i sa ru | rgan pas chad pa ltar gyi ’u lag gi sla ster
72. ram mi ster zer lab du byung ba la | de la (bkra shis) (tshe dbang) gi khyed rang
73. tsho ’u lag rtsam song gi gna’ thon tshams su sla ster ro
74. byas na ma lnga | yang dpal ’bar la khong gnyis kyis zhing smo ba’i
75. sa ru lab du yong lugs la | ’u lag ni ma btang ’dug sla s|t|e[r]
76. ram mi ster la bdu byung ba la|’u chad pa ltar gyis la spyi la mi
77. ster ba ster ro | ’u lag spyi song gi kham gna’ cig ni dgos par
78. ’dug na ma drug | sa tshams su khyed rang tsho mi sna rnams shog | nged kyang
79. stel yong | de dus tsis gtong byas pas yong lab pa yin na ma dun | de
80. lab mi lab gyi cha nas khyed (rdo rje) dpal sbyor dang | god pa shag
81. gnyis dang nga dpal ’bar gna’ su thon rang byas pas chog na ma rgyad |
82. kho rang gnyis la rol po’i der gong skyem ster | tshog ’dus
83. rug nas yul pas (dkon mchog) (lhun grub) la lon kos byas pa ltar |
84. khong gnyis la | dzar du phyin pa’i rgan pa sa tshams su sbyon |
85. nged kyi rgan pa rnams kyang byon gyin yod do | rgan pas spyi
86. chod pa zhin byed do byas pa yin |

Hand G
                                             pas na ma dgu |
87. de yang gser sgrib gyi dpon g.yog (thams cad) la tshug
88. pa khos dug ’drul bzhin du gnod | sted pa kho (nam mkha’i)
89. khyung che ’dra | dug ’brul kho skad cig gi rlag
90. par byed zhes gsung so |

Section VIII, Hand H
91. snga sor srol med pa la gna’ chad don la ma tsis par
92. {7S} da man yar mar
93. gnyis ka la kral bkod mi byed kha med byas nas

New sheet, Hand H contd.
94. mthun grub gyis pho nya ’gro ba byas nas gyan gyab byas
95. pas tshug pa dpal ’bar la phog rung kho mi yong bar krug
96. gzhi byas pa yin pas na ma gcig | de nas khos tshab
97. la rgya dga’ ba dzang pa la | snga sor krol bkod kyi srol
98. med pa’i tab gyi | sted la gar med gyug gcig byas pa|s|
99. stang yed la dzang ba dang na ma gnyis | rgya ga ba tshug du
100. sleb rung rgya ga ba sted du mi dzang ba de ngan g.yo khong tshang
101. yin pa’i na ma dang gsum | (rin po che) khro bo skyabs pa phyi[b]
102. kha lho ru sgyur nas zhal ngo gdung rgyud khri thog gdan rim
103. su’i rnga gyur kyang nged sted pa’i ra ded khan ma byung mchi | s|t|e[d]
104. tshug gnyis kyi rgan pa su’i tho la yang thab rtsod gnang
105. che chung ci byung rung sle ’u bden rdzun gyi lon ’gros byed
106. pa ma rtog kho tshug pa nyi shu rtsam gyi rkun gyug byas |n|[as]
107. nged sted pa’i ra dzi gnyis kar khridd nas brag dkar gyi [S1]
108. ba thug khrid ra tshan nag de | rkus nas khyer ba yi[n]
109. pas nag can gying na ma dang bzhi | yin mchi pas [|]
110. gtso bor dpon po’i khrim gcod | shod pa nang gi chad las
111. nged sted pa’i rgyal kha rnams gcad nas snang ba zhu | de yang
112. chos rje sa pai tas | rnam pa kun tu ma rtag pa | dgra
113. la chong ba rlun rtag yin | mar me’i ’od la jing pa
114. yi | brang bu dpa’ bar ’gro ’am ci | (zhes gsungs) pa ltar | [1S?]
115. ra nor bu khyod a ma’i thog tu ma skyes nged sted pa’i tho[ ]
116. s[k]|y|es | n[ ]


Selective amendments
      6. lo rgyus; gleng ba 8. kyis gtso byas 9. de mtshams su; du zhugs; nyams can? 10. dgra ru langs?; rjes la 11. bslus nas 12. dang dos khug ? 13. ra tsam 15. rgyab dus; rkun tshang 17. gis brkus nas 22. bcag pa’i na ma 27. gnong gis bsdad ma tshugs 28. bros ’ongs pa 29. ’gel ba gnang 30. mnga’ ba yin; brag thog 31. mthon po; ’gying ba or sgying ba 32. mchil pa nas; ’phrog gi 34. mchil pa; cig gis sod| yongs 36. pheb dus 37. phab te 38. drag pa; bkral bkod; bkral ma 42. kyis gtsos pa’i 43. rjes med 45. gang bkral 46. skyel dgos 51. da rung dpyad na 53. ’dren pa las? 54. ya rabs; ma rabs; bcos pa byed 55. ltogs kyi dogs nas 56. ’don; ’dra ba’i gtso 57. bo rnams la dgongs 63. kha rbad; bton pa ma gtogs; de bzhin 65. dkrug shing la ?; ring gi 66. glang po, SMT long-o; slebs yod 68. lab tu bcug gin bsdad 71. tshabs po (?); gla ster 73. tsam song gi mna’ ’don mtshams su gla 74. zhing rmo 76. ’u [lag?] chad; ci la 77. ster rogs? ci song; mna’ zhig ni 78. sa mtshams 79. thel yong; rtsis 81. mna’ su ’don; na ma brgyad 83. lon bskos 84. sa mtshams su byon 85. ’byon gyin; rgan pas ci 86. chod pa bzhin 88. dug sbrul 89. cig gis rlog 90. gsungs so 91. mna’ chad; brt- sis par 94. rgyan rgyab byas 95. bar dkrug 96. shing byas; kho’i tshab 97. brdzangs 98. pa’i stabs kyis; rgyug gcig 101. skyabs pas chibs 102. bsgyur nas; gdung brgyud 103. sus mnga’ sgyur kyang; ra ’ded mkhan 104. su’i thog la; ’thab rtsod {gnang}105. sle ba?106. gyis rkun rgyug 107. ra rdzi; gnyis kar < SMT nyikara, both; khrid nas 109. nag can ’gying 110. dpon pos khrims chod 111. bcad nas gnang 112. brtags par 113. mchong na; blun rtags yin 113. ’od la ’dzings pa 114. sbrang bu


Section VI, Hand F
[Lines 1–4 are too fragmented to be translated]

5. To relate briefly the story of the Tshugpas’ thieving. Under the leadership of dGa’ krug they stole two and a half zho of in cash from the cave of the Tepas Drung pa and Sangs rgyas—the first point.

And then someone with information entered the storeroom, and brought someone with [the appropriate technical] knowledge (nyam can for nyams can)

10. as an enemy (?). After that Zhang lha skyabs deceived the sentry of the caves of us Tepas, and from inside Hor bum’s cave stole one and a half zho of gold and a sack used for transport service (dos khug)—this is the second point.

And then they have stolen so many goats from us Tepas. When Tshe ring don grub and Nam mkha’ bsam grub disputed the matter with them, they all thought that their den of thieves would be revealed, one by one—this is the third point.

And furthermore, it has become publicly known (? sngon [mngon] lo char) (or: it emerged last year?) that dGa’ drug burgled Drung pa’s cave—this is the fourth point.

And then, bSam chog, who committed robbery in the caves of the people of rGya ga, killed an old woman who was on guard (deleted)—

20. this is the fifth point.

And then they stole the contents of rDo rje dpal ’byor’s trunk (? zan tshul < zem?) from inside his very house. They broke his trunk (?)—this is the sixth point.

When [we?] went to war in sNe shang11 (remainder of sentence too damaged to translate)— this is the seventh point.

Then they went to rNams rgyal12 and stole from there—this is the eighth point.

Being unable to stay in one place because of their awareness of their own guilt about stealing,they fled and came back here, and were consequently punished by the dPon drung nobles. This

30. you are aware of. Furthermore (mthun par), the Tepas are like the proud royal vultures in the high caves of the upper cliffs; the Tshugpas are like grain-eating sparrows that do nothing but steal property (rgyu phrogs [’phrog], or: steal and rob, rku phrogs [’phrog]). You who protect us, the sKya rgyal family, kill these grain-eating sparrows at one stroke like a hawk!

If they are added up there are thirty points.

Section VII, new sheet, Hand E
(This is probably not the beginning of the sentence.)

In the past when King Big ram sras came, on his way down after defeating [...] Brag dmar, the transportation requirements for [...] his army were too onerous.

They said that a recruitment had to be carried out. “This is not our custom,” [the Tshugwas?] said, and did not comply in recruiting anyone. Although we

40. organised (chas [bcas]) everyone who was capable of working, they said that we had to send more people to make up the insufficiency of transport personnel. All the senior13 (Tshugwas) came, led by the headmen Padma bkra shis and Tshe ring don grub. After slan- dering us to the Monpas, [the Tshugpas or Monpas or both?] destroyed the crops of two of our fields without leaving anything behind, and then set fire to the houses in the village.14

[We?] were able to put out the fire of the Ba sman.15 Since [the Tshugpas] did not agree to provide the additional transport workers who had to be enlisted, we had to bear the burden. It had not been customary to carry out recruitments in the past. It was therefore said that, if the king should come in the future (da phyin chad), recruitment for transport duties would be car- ried out in both the upper [settlement] and the lower one (i.e. Te and Tshug). (Or: recruitment would be carried out for both northbound and southbound transport duties). It was agreed that messengers should pass via (byas) rGya ga’ and sTed,

50. but [the messenger of] rGya ga went via sTang yed and did not come to Te. If we re-examine the matter, as King Srong btsan sgam po says, “Those who are drawn to wickedness are more numerous than those who are drawn to good; well-born people do noble deeds; we lay the blame for our own misdemeanours on others; for fear that we ourselves might go hungry we forsake our fathers and turn them out”. So he says, and leaders such as yourselves must also think this (?).

    Even though Gyad pa lha skyab came (or: Gyad pa lha skyab ought to have come, but) because it was said that an emissary (lit. ‘accord-accomplishing messenger’) had come [from?] rGya ga’ this did not happen—this is the first point.

Then even though bZang po came (or bZang po ought to have come, but) the headmen [of Tshug?]

60. did not say that the rGya ga emissary had come. And on top of this ( pa’i kha la), whatever they may have said, they gave a dried goat carcass to the Monpas [as a bribe] and said that they could take away as many Tepas as there were from their fields [for their trans- port duty workforce]. Not only have they done a lot of idle talking, but what they have said about the way things happened concerning the emissaries is not the case—this is the second point.

If we re-examine the matter, [the rGya ga representative?] did not come as an emissary [to arrange a settlement] but as someone to incite conflict—this is the third point.

Nor bu tshe ring [of Tshug?] said, “The people of Phelag and Taye have arrived with their bulls; you headmen [of Te], come to the meeting”. But we stayed there, telling him to (lit. making him) tell them, “Very well, come to the boundary [of Te and Tshug’s territory ?]”. But nobody came—this is the fourth point.

The following day, rDo rje dpal sbyor and God pa shag came, and said to [the Tepa] bKra shis

70. tshe dbang, “Look here”. After they had been invited in, they said, “Instead of causing trouble (?)16 will you pay the wages of the transport workers according to what was decided by the headmen?” To which bKra shis tshe dbang replied, “After you have sworn an oath about the number of [your people who] went as transport workers, we shall pay their wages”—this is the fifth point.

Again the two of them came to speak to [the Tepa] dPal ’bar at the place where he was ploughing his fields. “We provided no one for transport duty. Will you or will you not pay the wages? Why will you not pay the fee that has been decided for transport workers? Please pay!” [Then bKra shis tshe dbang replied], “We need a brief (? kham)17 oath about what transport workers went [from Tshug]”18—this is the sixth point.

“A number of you must come to the boundary,” they said; “we shall be coming. Then we’ll settle the accounts”. “We’ll come,” we said—this is the seventh point.

80. On the basis of what had been said, [the Tepa dPal ’bar said], “You two, rDo rje dpal sbyor and God pa shag [on the one hand], and myself, dPal ’bar [on the other]—who will swear the oath? We could do it ourselves”.—this is the eighth point.

Then the constable offered evening beer to those two (or perhaps: [the Tshugpas] gave those two authority to act as constables [and to swear the oath]).19 After the meeting had been con- vened, dKon mchog lhun grub, in accordance with the fact that he had been appointed by the villagers to [carry] messages, said to those two, “Your headmen, who have gone to Dzar, should come to the boundary. Our headmen are also coming. We shall act in accordance with whatever has been decided by the headmen”.

Hand G

This is the ninth point. The Tshugpas, like poisonous snakes, have harmed all the lords and servants of gSer sgrib; the Tepas, like the great Khyung in the sky, destroy the poisonous snake at a stroke—

90. so it is said.

Section VIII, Hand H

Since [the provision of transport service?] was not customary for them in the past, [the Tshugpas] did not abide by the terms of the decision [to which they were bound] by oath. They were told that they would henceforth have no choice (kha med) about recruiting [transport personnel to travel] both up and down,

New sheet, same hand

and that an emissary [from Tshug] was to go. After casting lots, the task fell to Tshugpa dPal ’bar. However, he would not come, but incited conflict—this is the first point.

Someone from rGya dga’ was sent in his place. Because there had been no custom of recruiting people in the past, [the messenger from Gyaga?] was told, “You must go to Te whatever happens”. However, he was sent to sTang yed—this is the second point.

Although the man from rGya ga arrived in Tshug,

100. he was not sent to Te: they are all wicked deceivers—this is the third point.

The [kidnapped] goatherds of us Tepas have not turned up during the reign of anyone in the succession (gdan rim) of the noble lineage of Khri thog [rulers] since the Precious Khro bo skyabs pa turned his horse southward.20

Not only do [the Tshugwas] purvey information [consisting of] distorted truths and lies in whatever disputes, great or small, may have arisen in the time of any of the headmen of both Te and Tshug, those twenty-odd Tshugpas who went on a thieving expedition took away two of our goatherds and took them to a [house?] in Brag dkar.21 They stole that large herd of goats22 and took them away, and neglected them in a criminal manner (? nag can gying)—this is the fifth point.

Your lordships, impose a punishment on them.

110. Please decide on the damages in favour (rgyal kha rnams) of us Tepas [arising from] the internal legal affairs (nang gi chad las) of the people of Shod and award them to us. As Chos rje Sa [skya] Paita says,

    To ambush an enemy without a thorough reconnaissance Is the mark of a fool;
    Is an insect that attacks the light of a butterlamp
    Really courageous?

 [?] ra Nor bu, you were not born from a mother; [you were?] born from us Tepas...


9. Phug du zhug [zhugs]: unless phug is to be understood as phug ku, it may mean not cave but storeroom, this being the usual name for the back room in houses where utensils and valuables are kept.

15. sTon res byed pa: the idea seems to be that each of the accused denied it and put the blame on someone else, so that all the thieves came to light.

20–21. Z[an?] tshul: meaning not clear. This line could be translated as: “rDo rje dpal ’byor wastefully (zan for gzan) stole property from his own house, and wastefully broke it [to make it look like a theft perpetrated by the Tepas]”.

36 ff. Text damaged. Perhaps “made Brag dmar and... [another settlement?] his subjects” (spab for phab), or, as implied in the translation, “imposed taxes on ([dpya] phab) Brag dmar and...”.

44. Yul: perhaps a reference to one of the settlement areas of Te, called Yul, as distinct from the fortified part, called rDzong.

52. I have not been able to identify the source of this quotation that is attributed to Srong btsan sgam po.

57 ff. This passage is not at all clear. It has been taken to mean that Gyaga and Te are supposed to be sending representatives, either to the Mon pa or to the sKya rgyal family in Dzar with whom the Mon pa appear to be allied against the north, to regulate the injustice in the selection of ’u lag personnel. The messenger from Gyaga was supposed to come to Te, and then go with the Te messenger to the intended destination. But the Gyaga people seem to have conspired with Taye (and presumably Tshug?) against Te, and went directly via Taye (to Dzar?) without passing through Te to pick up their messenger, and then said that the Tepas had refused to attend the meeting.

112–114. The quatrain from Sa skya Paita is verse 136 of his Legs bshad. The 1982 Lhasa edition of this work quotes the lines as follows: rnam pa kun tu mi dpyod par | dgra la mchong ba blun rtags yin | mar me’i ’od la ’dzings pa yis | sbrang bu dpa’ bar ’gro ’am ci || The substitution of the near-synonymous rtag pa (< brtags par) for dpyod par suggests that the scribe was quoting the verse from memory.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 37

No date; probably early eighteenth century
Lines: 7+12
Script: tshugs
Remarks: document consists of two sheets of paper, joined by stitching. The upper sheet, containing 7 lines, badly damaged, with only lines 6 and 7 completely intact. The lower sheet con- tains 12 lines.

Upper sheet
1. [±3S] kye | [1]n|d dpon po ’dra [ ]
2. [±2S] pa’i ste stab la nod pa [1S] [ ]
3. yang mi man|bden [1S]o tshu[g] pa’i | ng [1]e [ ]
4. sna ba (bcu gnyis) la [±2]m byas [ ]
5. bdrung khra’i thog pa la | bkum snyas che [ ]
6. sgra’ mi gro thug gong rtso ba bzhu’ zhu |
7. gzhan yang |

Lower sheet
1. zhu zhu|tshug pa kho cang ku ta zan lug kyi mi drang ba yin
2. pas deng tshung | sde lug gong pa rtso ba zhu | da’ rung dang tshug pa
3. kho dug pa yin zer kyin dugs pas | kho’i sab ca dang khral
4. [’u] lags kyi thog du | nyed sted pa dad du ’ong chi pas | sde lug
5. gong pa rtso ba zhu | nyed sted pa kyid pa’i sab ca dang khral
6. ’u lag kyi thogs du | tshugs pa kho dad du cug pa [1S] cigs dzad
7. pa (zhu zhu) | dngan dus kyi srol la | ’u lags kyi rig
8. dzar dzong kag sum nas | shod du shod nas chu bar du
9. min pa srol dmed cing | kho tshugs pa’i chu bar kyi
10. rab cad zas shing | kho tshug pa mi gyal ba’i dbang med
11. cing|gong pa rtso ba(zhu zhu)|di star man na|nga sted
12. pa’i smu ya di yang ’kral god snang ba zhu zhu | |
      1. spyang ku rta zan; mi ’grang 2. dang (?) mtshungs; de lugs dgongs pa ’tshol; da rung 3. sdug po yin zer gyin ’dug; kho’i sa cha 4. ’u lag gi thog tu; sdod du; mchis pas; de lugs 5. dgongs pa ’tshol 6. sdod du ’jug pa; cig? mdzad 7. sngon dus; ’u lag gi rigs 9. srol med; tshug pas; bar {kyi}? 10. rabs bcad bzos?; mi rgyal ba’i? dgongs pa ’tshol; ’di ltar min 12. pas smu; ’bral dgos? gnang ba


Upper sheet
(A letter of complaint concerning the activities of the neighbouring settlement of Tshug, and probably addressed to the Khri thog pa, the Duke of Baragaon.)

Lower sheet
The wolfish Tshugwas are like the proverb “what a horse eats will not be sufficient for a sheep”. We beg you to consider this behaviour. The Tshugwas repeatedly claim that they are suffering hardship. They have come to press (dad for ’ded or bsdad, ‘sit, occupy responsibility’) us on the matter of [obligations concerning] their land as well as their taxes and transportation duties. We pray you, consider this behaviour! Force the Tshugwas to take part (dad for bsdad) in [the obligations concerning] the land on which we Tepas live, as well as our taxes and our transportation duties! According to past usage, it was customary for the class of people concerned with transportation duties to [have to travel] only from Dzar, Dzong and Kag, those three [places], up to the Shod yul, and from the Shod yul to Chuwer. Those Tshugwas have put an end to the people of Chuwer. Those Tshugwas never fail to win (?). Please judge the matter. Otherwise, please grant that we Tepas may be exempted from [transportation duties across?] the Muya Pass.

This document must be read in the light of the lengthy complaints made against Tshug by the Tepas in the preceding document (HMA/Te/Tib/36), with which the present text is assumed to be approximately contemporary. The former document also refers to Tshug’s forcible unpeopling of Chuwer, as well as a number of other small settlements in the Shod region (see Ramble and Seeber 1995). In that work, the Tepas complain that, among other things, the Tshugpas have occupied the land from which they have evicted the previous inhabitants, but the other Shod communities—including Te—are continuing to pay taxes for these pastures even though they are barred by Tshug from enjoying usufruct. The present document sheds some interesting light on the nature of corvée transportation duties under the Khri thog pa rulers. It is implied that the first stage of porterage duties northwards on behalf of Dzar, Dzong and Kag, the three main ‘capitals’ (Dangardzong is the fourth) of lower Baragaon extended up to the Shod enclave. Although we are not told who was charged with this section, it is likely to have been the inhabitants of Khyenga and Phelag, who at the present time bear the stigma of having once been ’u lag settlements. The second staging post is said here to have been Chu bar, an abandoned settlement just to the north of Samar, the ownership of which land has been the subject of several disputes between Samar and Tshug in recent times. We are not told which settlement or settlements of the Shod yul were responsible for this leg of the journey. The concluding sentence seems to state that the Tepas wish to be “separated from the smu ya”. Muya is the Seke name for the pass that divides the Muktinath valley from the territory of Te. The name probably derives from the Seke name of Dzong, which is Muga (or Mukha; Seke ya: ‘pass’) It may be concluded from this that at least a part of their transportation requirements involved them travelling through the eastern route via Dzong, rather than down the Kali Gandaki Valley to Kag.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 38

Date: Earth Tiger year, 2nd month, 24th day (1878)

Lines: 20

Script: ’khyug


1. she bya sdan pa rter gan 3 dang | (tshe dbang) ’rgyam tsho | ’du li (tshe dbang) lags kyi gang ’dir (yi ge) spel don la
2. kha sngon | tshugs dang | khyed rang 2 kyis | glang mos kor su | ngos la sris dab byas pa’i kor su | sa tsham
3. la rta gyu’i kor’du|su bha dang| a stam a ran| sku zhab bhel po|sku zhab rtsandha bhir | (nyi ma) sam
4. ’drug | sku zhab (rdo rje) cad khrig nas | {1S} khrim rtar dzad gyus thags chod nas krugs cad ’du
5. pheb tshar song pa dang | ma zad mi zhan ma slo smad tshang ma la bri pa | krugs cad ’du rnang
6. kab tshugs pa zer thogs ’du rtang ’dugs lags | ngos nas tshug kyi slor stad byas pa tshang
7. ma khrig tshe | me yong zer pa shar tshe | {me} me yong zer nas | byus thab kyis da lam mar
8. dpheb rog rma rnang zhus nas | sham la pheb gyu byas nas | ngos dang (ga ga) bhel po tshang ma gong
9. pa zhus nas logs yod lags | tshugs zla pa dang rogs 1 krug cad ’du dad ’dug lags | khong 2 dang
10. a rtam a ran 2 nas da lam pheb gos zer ’dugs | de lam khye rang kyis byus dang thab ma thon
11. tshes | khrim ni bring tsam yong nyen ’dug lags | yin kyang mi do chod mar kags ’du srib
12. tsam yong lugs byed | yang su bha la mi khrul ’rgyab nas yar pheb tshes | me yong pa yong
13. yin {1S} kyang khye rang rnams bros gang yags byed | ’dung kar ’o mi so pa bra chu ren byung pa
14. la phen me thog tshes | di yang dong po khog rul yin pa’i rtags | krug cad ’du su
15. bha za mi 2 la zhus nas|bres gong zo pa phyed 13 re za 2 nas phen rnang gyu chod yod | zhags 10
16. thub rnang gyu chod yod | rter pa la pa’i shi kyi dngul 12 tsha las ’dug | bras gos tshes
17. spyi gyog mar yong lug byed | yul tshang ma la da rtong lug byed | zhen tshugs pa tshang ma
18. yar logs yod | khyed rang rnams yar song nas tshugs gan 2 zhags 1 ’rgyags nas zhag song |

19. mar bro gyu zer nas ’rgyag pa yin | (byas sor) yar log gyu la thags brgyab nas rtang song
20. nya pa(ga ga)bel po byas song|(yig ges) de zhin sa rtag zla pa 2 pa’i tshe 24 la kags nas thon |

Letter sent by Kag to the three headman, as well as Tshe dbang rgyal mtsho and Du li tshe dbang of Te. The subject is an ongoing dispute (glang mo for gleng mo) between the addressees and Tshug. There is some disagreement about the boundaries of the grazing lands of Te and Tshug, and the matter has now been taken to the court in Tukche. The prominent persons who have been drawn in are the (unnamed) subba, Ada Naren, sKu zhabs Bhel po, sKu zhabs tsandha bhir (< Nep. Candra Bir), a certain Nyi ma bsam grub and sKu zhabs rDo rje. The letter comprises a report to the Tepas on the development of the affair in Tukche, and includes advice on how they should proceed in the dispute. The Kagpas, it seems, are on the side of the Tepas in the conflict. They reassure the Tepas that, when everyone from Lower Lo was interviewed on the matter, they concurred that the outcome was just as the Tshugpas would have wished it, and that this was improper. The implication is that many of the dignitaries named above, who have probably been assembled as a sort of jury, are favourable to Tshug and are even in the latter’s pay. The Kagpas told the body that they should not yet go up (to inspect the boundaries), but that they should go later—presumably when the Tepas had prepared themselves better. The authors (the Kagpas) and the Nobleman (Ga ga) Bhel po— who are on the side of Te—begged leave and returned to Kag. Zla ba of Tshug and a friend of his have remained in Tukche. Those two, with Ada Naren, insisted that the jury should go up to the pastures now. The Kagpas advise the Tepas to devise an effective plan (byus dang thab), or there will be an unfavourable (lit. ‘mediocre’) outcome to the matter (khrim ni bring tsam). A capable (do chod < SMT gochöta) Tepa must make a short visit (srib tsam) to Kag to discuss the matter before the subba goes up to the pastures. There follows a cryptic remark: “like a white conch fed on milk—if it is no use against the hostile water-sprite...” (ll. 13–14: ’dung kar ’o mi so pa bra chu ren byung pa la phen me thog tshes < dung dkar ’o mas gsos pa ’dra chu srin byung ba la phan mi thogs tshe). The reference is to an episode in Khye’u Padma ’od ’bar, in which the ship’s passengers include a live conch fed on milk to use as a defensive weapon against attacks by sea-monsters. The clear implication is that if the Tepas are spending money on bribing the Kagpas to help them, they should use their ally to the full.
    The subject then changes. The Kagpas have heard from the subba that, as of the coming Monday, the price of rice will be 12.5 zo ba (of salt per bushel?). This price will obtain for only a period of ten days. The Tepas still have a balance of 12 rupees in Tukche. If they need rice, they should come down quickly (while the price is still low). All the Tepas should be called (to Tukche to buy rice?). After everyone had departed from Tukche, two headmen of Tshug were retained (in custody?) for a day, because they said that they were planning to go further south (presumably to sell salt, thereby violating the Subba’s monopoly?). The goats were sent back up, and Ga ga Bhel po stood as guarantor (nya pa < gnya’ bo).

ll. 3, 10. a rtam a ran, a stam a ran: Ada Naren, a prominent trader and landholder of Marpha, is best remember for having been the host of the Japanese traveller Ekai Kawaguchi who spent time in the area on his way to Tibet in 1899 and1900. Although he is now remembered as Ada Naren, it is interesting to note the similarity between the rendering of his name in this document and Kawaguchi’s reference to him as “Adam Naring”. For more on this interesting figure see Vinding 1998: 86–88; Kawaguchi 1909: 64–65).

l. 3. The unnamed subba is probably Kaviram Thakali, who held the customs contract from 1877 to 1882 and again from 1889 to 1891 (Vinding 1998: 81).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 39

Date (line 6): Fire Dragon year, 11th month, 1st day, Wednesday (1796)

Lines: 6

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: square seal, illegible, at end

1. sa bkyong khri thob khro po dpal dgon nas |
2 rted lung pa la (yig ges) bris nas rnang don la | sngon ri lam gi yigs cha la gsor
3 nas ma zhags pa khams chu ’byung {1S} nas khris thob khro po dpal dgon rtsos pa’i mi drags 4 rnam nas | ri lam gi kor spang po rnam la gris pa bcod ’dus
5 sngon gi yig cha la sor nas ’byung zhings | sngon gi yig cha nang khod | rtod rna po
6 chos rten man | smed sa tsham tsa’u tha ri yan ched rted pa’i ris tsham tsa
7 ’u tha ri man chad tshugs pa’i ris thag chod nas rnang pa yin | rang rang gi ris lam nas shing lus khyer ’dus | rted tshugs phen tshun su thed nas lam rkags mi
8 chog pa shar shar rtang rgyu chod pa yin | gong khod su thed nas {1} sor nas ma zhags tshes bha dngul rtong 1000 rgyal zhabs (rin po che) la phul rgyu dang khris thob
11 khro po dpal dgon la bha dngul 500 phul dgos | me drugs zla 11 pa’i tshes 1 nyin rnang pa ge ||

This letter has been issued by the Protector of the Land (sa skyong) Khri thob dPal mgon to the community of Te. There has been a dispute over an earlier document concerning the boundaries of certain pasturelands. But witnesses have been produced and a certain earlier document is hereby confirmed: as in this document, Te’s pastures extend from rNa pa chos rten (a large stupa that now marks the southern boundary of Lo Monthang’s territory) down to the lower boundary, rTsa ’u tha ri (< Nep. cautari). Tshug’s pastures lie below rTsa ’u tha ri (i.e. in the area called Tsartsong). People may take wood and dung from the pastures of their own territory, and none may prevent them from doing so. Whoever does not abide by this ruling shall pay a fine (bha dngul < ’ba’ dngul) of 1000 rupees to rGyal zhabs rin po che —i.e. whoever happens to be the relevant legal authority at the time—and 500 rupees to Khri thob Khro bo dpal mgon.

Khro bo dPal mgon, a resident of Dzar, was the head of the ruling family of Baragaon at the time of the Gorkha annexation of Mustang in 1789. See Pant and Pierce 1989: documents 1 and 2; Schuh 1994: 43).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 40

Date: Wood Dragon, 7th month, 7th day (1844? 1904?)

Lines: 9

Script: tshugs

1. skag a smal ska rtsar drung du | phi ra spa ltar ’phul don | tshug (rdo rje) tshe ring | nam kha’ bkra shis | ’du li mi ngo gsum
2. nas | ngos bster (phun tshogs) tshe ring gtso’ i mi ngo dgu ming du bka’ khrim phul lan | kho bo’ i bha dhi nang ’khod | lu khal
3. rgyu nor phrogs bcom zer ba dang | khyi bsad | mi la brdung gzhur byas ’byung zer pa dang | ma tshad btab shil nang gsal
4. rgyu nor che chung gang rigs bzhigs | ngos phyogs nas mig mthong lag ’dzin ’khur byed brdung bzhur khyi bsad phrogs bcom byas pa gang yang med bzhin | hang song pha rib gis bha dhi phul nas gdug po btang mi phyog pas | bka’
5. {’khrims yod brten la | ma mtshar smon ’thang zla pa bsam grub | padma | mtsho shar lo chen pa bzang tshi ring gsum
6. la kho bo’i lto chang gang yags bskrad bzas ’thung byas te | sglos rogs mnyam ’byor yod rkyen cha dpang la ngos
7. mi ’gro bas} 'dzun stong zog lab gis | dgongs bka’ ’khrims nas ngos rnams la gdugs po med pa (mkhyen mkhyen)
8. dgongs gtam bden pa ma togs ’dzun pa med bzhin ’dzun du song na dben srol gang snang min mi bzhu pa dgongs
9. ming rnams kyi lags bskor spyi rtags X shing ’brug zla 7 pa'i tshes 7 res gza’ 5 nyin phul |

To the government court (a smal ska rtsar < Nep. aml kacahar) in Kag. The subject of this letter of complaint (phi ra spa ltar < Nep. phird patra): nine named Tepas make a formal response to an accusation levelled by three Tshugpas, rDo rje tshe ring, Nam mkha’ bkra shis and Du li. In their petition (bha dhi < Nep. bd) the Tshugpas stated that we had stolen loads of dung and valuables, killed a dog and beaten the people. In fact, of the items listed in their statement, not a single one have we seen with our eyes or held with our hands, nor have we committed any acts of load-stealing, [people-]beating, dog-killing or looting. Since there are laws prohibiting the infliction of suffering after the submission of distorted (hang song) accusation (pha rib < Nep. pharep). Since the Tshugpas have given food and beer in abundance to Zla ba bsam grub and Padma of sMon thang and Lo chen Pa sang tshe ring of mTsho shar,they are not acceptable as witnesses. Because they have submitted a false, mendacious statement, we beg that the law should not cause us hardship. The statement we have made above is only the truth, not falsehood. If it transpires that we are not telling the truth, we shall accept whatever punishment you give us according to national law (dben < Nep. ain) or local custom. We, whose names are given above, validate this statement by marking a cross on behalf of us all (spyi) to indicate that we have passed it from hand to hand.


See commentary to HMA/Te/Tib/41.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 41

Date: Wood Dragon year, 7th month, 10th day, Sunday (1844? 1904?)

Lines: 13

Script: 10 lines in tshugs, 3 lines in ’khyug

1 skags [a ma]l ska rtsar [drung] bdu | pher sta bha sde [3S] bdon la | tshugs [1S]
2 tshes ring | nam mkha (bkra shi) ’du li mi ngo gsum nas | ngos bsted (phun tshogs) tshes
ring gtso’i mi ngo
3 dgu ming bdu bka’ [kham] phul lan | kho bo’i bha rdi nang ’khod | lug khal rgyu nor ’phrogs bcom
4 zer ba dang | khyi bsad | mi la brdung bzhur ’byas ’byung zer pa dang | ma zad brtab shil nang
5. rgyu nor che chung gang rigs bzhigs | ngos ’phyogs nas smigs mthong lags ’dzin ’khur khyer brdung b[zh]u[r]
6. khyi bsad | ’phrogs bcom byas pa gang yang med bzhin | hang song pha rib {1S} bha dhi phul nas
7. gdug po btang mi phyogs bas | bka’ ’khrim yod rten la | ’dzun stong zog lab gi dgong
8. bka’ ’khrim nas ngos snam la gdug po med pa (mkhyen mkhyen) | dgong rtam bden pa ma rtog ’dzun pa
9. med bzhin dzun du song na | dben srol gang snang men mi bzhu pa dgong ming rnam kyi lags
10. bskor spyi yi rtags X | shing ’brugs zla ba 7 ba’i tshes 10 res za’ 1 nyin phul |
11. bha stis la yod pa’i phya spang la ngos ’dro rtsis med bas yin
12. skyang gong ska khrim nas phya nas yong gsung phan ’de la skyang man
13. man mi zhu zhus pa dang ||

This is a formal response (l. 1 pher ste bha sti < Nep. phirti bdi) by nine people of Te, led by Phun tshogs tshe ring, to an accusation submitted to the government office (a mal < Nep. aml) in Kag by three Tshugpas, Tshe ring, Nam mkha’ bkra shis and Du li. The Tepas emphatically deny the accusation that they stole the loads carried by the Tshugpas’ sheep and seized the property that has been listed (l. 4 brtab shil < Nep. tapsil) , killed their dog and beat up (l. 4 bzhur < SMT zhur < gzhu) the people. The accusers have submitted a completely distorted (hang song) accusation (pha rib < Nep. pharep)
    Formal response, addressed to the Kag court (skags [a ma?]l ska rtsar), to an accusation. Nine Tepas emphatically deny the charge, brought by three Tshugpas, that they stole the loads carried by their sheep and other property, killed the dog and beat up the people. The witness produced by the Tshugpas is a liar.


This document and the preceding item clearly relate to the same case. Nine Tepas have been accused of attacking a small party of Tshugpas, stealing their belongings and killing their dog. While the details of the accusation and the proximity of the dates leave us in no doubt that they refer to the same episode, the legal character of these two documents is different. HMA/Te/Tib/40 is a letter of complaint (Nep. phird patra) against the fact that the Tshugpas have submitted a legal petition against them; the present document, by contrast, is a formal denial (Nep. phirti bdi, lit. ‘counter-petition’) of the content of the accusation.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 42

Date: illegible; given on l. 5 as sixth month, 22nd day, Thursday

Lines: 17 lines of text, 8 lines of listed property

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: document damaged, especially at beginning


1. 2S on skag [±3S?] mkhrims ’zhabs su | bster (phun tshogs) (rdo rje) sogs nas bka’ khrims ’phul don la | sngon pha mes rgyud gsum
2. S3 |gsum| S1 [±3S?] ±13S mdangs rang ris nas shing lud sogs gang khos khur lam yod pa la | skabs
3. sp[1] [±2S] sta sta[g] [±5S] 2S po [±4S] ±7S byas ste ’khrugs shi ’byung nas
4. [a] |mal| la ’khrim ’thugs 4S bcod byas nas mthar lcags ’brug lo ’dzar dpon don ’grub thog rgyal [(ga ga)] rtsar nas | sngon
5. lam ltar tsho’u rongs phyogs su ’byor [zhin] mda’ sde’i ’bar ’gyugs lam la gnyed tshed med bzhig | da lam zla pa 6 pa’i tshes 22 re gza’ 5 nyin | tshugs rgan khang bstod
6. (o rgyan) mdang rgan tshe ring (rdo rje) | (rdo rje) tshe ring | bka’ mi sri thar | (nyi ma) (rdo rje) | dbang rgyal | tshe ring sgrag pa | pad ma | g.yu ru | spen pa rdo rje | zla ba [(bkra shis)] | 1S
7. [dhan] | (kun dga’) rab rtan | srid [thar] dpal ’byor | padma tshe ring | kho phyogs nas khang stod men tog lhan ’dzin {3S} | tshe skyab tshe ring rdo rje | jo mo g.yu ru’i sna
8. —{1–2S} gsu rnams bcas dgong gi bo mo — — bcob brgyad grtso ba’i | yul mi skya brt- sun pho mo gang yod grang rtsi mi {1S} thub pa yongs nas
9. ngos gi ra pho legs 6 snga sting byas nas song dus | sma bcad thang ’og slebs skabs | legs rims bzhin ’dzin bzung thog bsham gsal ’khod ltar rgyu nor
10. phrog ’joms {3S} byas | sdo rgyug lag tu ’khur ste brdung bzhur khrag bston skra spi srog sgo ma mchod rtsam zos | ma tshad sham grang
11. tshang skyi bsad {4S} khrim med lung med mang rig byas pa ngos khyim bdag bud med bu tsha bu mo rnams nas ma thong bzhin ma zod par rang rang gi mi thugs ’bod
12. brgyab byas nas {1S} yong dus | tshog rnams phrang smad du slebs skabs | {1} sgrags thog nas tshugs spen pa sri thar gtsos mi 4 S- gis
13. rtabs dho dbril zhing lam ’gags song ’du mi ’gyug pa skag ’byung zhing | ma tshad glo smon ’thang zla pa sam grub dang pad ma tsho shar lo chen dpal

14. rtsang |tshi| ring {1S} gsum kyang tshugs yul ngar chang {2S} ’thung zhing mnyam por yong ’dug la | dgongs ’khod khrim med spar
15. {1S} lung me ngo la byas mi phyogs pa la | mi dpon ’zhabs bdrung nas bska khrims yod brten la | sham ’khod rgyu nor khong rang nas ’khyer ba’i
16. mi phyogs pa la dang | dgong bka’ khrims nas tsi khru ’byor snang yod pa (mkhyen mkhyen) |
17. gsham gsal

An accusation presented to the legal authority in Kag by several Tepas, represented by Phun tshogs rdo rje. While three Tepa relatives were collecting firewood and dung from Te’s pastures, a dispute flared up with people from Tshug. The case was taken to Don grub thog rgyal, the lord of Dzar, and in the Iron Dragon year he ruled that the Tepas should be permitted, when travelling between their pasture areas, to cross a strip of Tshug’s territory in the floor of the Narshing River near Tshaurong, the location of a salt mine, without being harmed. But more recently, on Thursday the 22nd of the 6th month, an innumerably large group of Tshugpas—men, women, laypeople and monks—incited by a group of eighteen named ring- leaders who included the headman O rgyan of the illustrious Khang stod house, attacked a group of Tepas below the pasture area called Macethang. They stole livestock and property and killed a dog—all the losses and their value are itemised in an appended list—and assailed their victims with stones, drawing blood and nearly killing them. Unable to endure the sight of this wide variety (mang rig < mang rigs) of lawless acts a party of Tepas—household heads, daughters, sons, grandchildren—called for support and went to the rescue, but when they reached the lower trail near Tshognam a group of four Tshugpas led by sPen pa srid thar rolled rocks down onto them from the top of the cliffs and prevented them from proceeding. The Tshugpas were assisted by two people from Lo Monthang and one from Tshoshar who had been drinking beer. The lord is requested to secure restitution for the stolen items, listed after the main text with the monetary value of each (including the dog that was killed), and to pun- ish the perpetrators of deeds such as these that ought not to be allowed.

Unfortunately, because of damage to the opening lines, it is impossible to tell whether the clash described in this document is related to the episode described in the two preceding items. The present document is in poor condition and appears to be older. If the year is the same, however, it would be reasonable to conclude that the incident described here was the cause of a revenge attack.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 43

Date: Iron Tiger year, 1st month, ...(illegible) day, Thursday (1890)

Lines: 15 lines of text; 2 columns of signatures, respectively of 11 lines and 8 lines

Script: tshugs; a short passage of dbu can in the left margin


1. lcags stag zla pa dang po’i mtshes bres za snga la | sted mtshugs gnyis ’chogs | mtshwa chu’i dkor la slang mo ’byung bzhing | stab shil
2. nang gi bar mi rnams nas bar ’dums mdzad nas | sted mtshugs gnyis phyogs nas chod tshig (yig ge) bris nas bkrad don la | don rtsa sngon bdus phan
3. nas | skal ba mchags nas tshun | tshwa chu gnyis phyogs nas chu na chu snyam dang | za na za snyams dang mthung na mthung snyams byas nas sdad yod pa la | sde la
4. (byes su) ’dzum slang brgyal po’i dpon ngo la skyang | tsha chu’i dkor la slang mo phren rtsams ’byung nas | ’dzum slang brgyal po nas skyang | sngon ’khyun dang po bstar | khyed
5. sted mtshugs gnyis phyogs tsha chu chu na chu snyam dang | thung na thung snyams dang | za na za snyams byed gsung nas phan tshun gnyis phyogs la phyags stams re res snang
6. yod pa la | (bye su) lo sta yos lo la ’khrug bzhi snang ’byung ’byung par (bsten nas) | thar stabs shil nang gi bar mi sku ngo snams nas | sngon chag
7. rab phan nas tshwa chu | chu na chu snyams dang | thung na thung snyams dang | za na za snyams yod pa dang | (byes su) ’dzum slang brgyal po’i phyag stams yod pa
8. la (sten nas) | sda sta nas zung bzhing slar (phyis su) skyang | dgong don gnyis la cha nas byas zhing | za na za snyams dang | thung na thung snyams dang | chu
9. na chu snyams byed gsung pa la | gnyis phyogs ha dgos nas | bar mi gsung pa la cha gnas byas nas nyen pa yin | slar (phyis su) skyang sted dang
10. phan ’tshun gnyis phyogs nas | dgong don skyi mchod pa star la | dbu slang sme snyen brang bskad tsam ston pa shar tshes | = =1= brgyal
11. bzhabs su bha dngul bgya tham ba ’bul lam zhu brgyu zhus pa’i chod brgya ’bris nas bkrad pa | stab shil nang gi bar mi sku ngo brnams cha spang zhug
12. nas | (yig ge) phan ’tshun gnyis phyogs la bkrad pa yin | ma zad sted pa la thigs bdun byas pa’i (yig ge) gcigs yod gzer zhing | sngon bdus skyang ston
13. ’byung pas | sda sta bskyang ston gzer nas tshugs pa’i zer bdus | sted pa nas thigs bdun byas pa’i (yig ge) skyang med | sda sta skyang ston brgyu med
14. slar (phyis su) skyang (yig ge) sde zhin thon pa ’byung na | skyir stas mdzun yigs byed gzer nas | sted pa nas gzer pa yin | dgong don la mi gyur pa
15. tshugs sgan rtsos yul rnams skyis rtags the ze | stab shil

Left Column
1. tshugs rgan rkun ga (sten ’dzin) gyi rtags the bo —
2. rtsugs rgan (rdo rje) tshe ring rtag the bo —
3. bha la ha sti mi nam kha’i rtags the bo —
4. bha la ha sti mi (rdo rje) stags the bo —
5. bha la ha sti mi zla ba’i rtags the bo—
6. bha la ha sti mi sod nams gsams sgrub skyis rtags the bo —
7. bha la ha sti mi tshe ring chos skyab stags the bo —
8. bhalahastimispenpatsherirtagsthebo—
9. bha la ha sti mi tshe skyab (rdo rje) rtags the bo —
10. bha la ha sti mi tshe ring rgyal tshan rtags the bo —
11. bha la ha sti mi dbyu ru rtags the bo—

Right Column
1. dgong don sbrig lams mdzad pa’i cha spang tshugs mi brgyu yod =
2. skag sku bzhab (mkhams gsum) — 1
3. sdzar sku bzhabs zang sdor — 1
4. skag ’dri ha spen pa tshe ri — 1
5. dpurangspenpa—1
6. tshog rnams (bla ma) tshe dbang bum ba — 1
7. sted phu ru zhug pa’i am spyi tshe dbang
8. sahi (Nepali written perpendicular to main text) yigs bris dang rdzong tshe dbang (srid thar) — 1

Left Margin
dBu can, written perpendicular to main text
yi ge sde star phan mtshun gnyis ’phyog la yod

dBu can text in the left margin states: “each of the two parties (i.e. Te and Tshug) has a document like this one”.
    A dispute (slang mo < gleng mo) has arisen over the salt water in Tshaurong, in the Upper Narshing River. All the signatories in the list (stab shil < Nep. tapsil) are intermediaries who have negotiated this agreement. The purpose of this document, a copy of which is to be given to both Te and Tshug: since ancient times the two communities have had equal rights to the water, and this state of affairs shall endure until the end of the world age. They have equal rights to draw the water, to drink it, and to eat it (za in this context may mean simply ‘use’, but it may also imply the solid salt that crystallises out of this water). This continued to be the case even later on, in the time of the nobleman (i.e. the representative in Kag?) of the King of Jumla. Then a dispute arose, and the King of Jumla decreed that Te and Tshug should use the salt water equally according to tradition, and each side has a document to this effect.
    A dispute over the same issue flared up in a Hare year (1879?), and the intermediaries listed (below?) have settled the matter with a decision that honours both precedents: on the one hand, the tradition that has pertained since the origin of the communities, and on the other the written confirmation issued by the King of Jumla. They have decided that usage should be equal with respect to drawing, drinking and eating [the crystal solute of?] this water. The two parties have understood this, and agree to abide by the mediators’ decision. No opposition as much as the buzzing of a fly shall be raised.

    The fine for violating this agreement shall be100 rupees.
    The Tepas claim that they have a document with seven ‘spots’ (thig, i.e. seals), presumably in support of their claim to sole usufruct; they have produced it in the past, and they can produce it now. The Tshugpas, however, maintain that the Tepas have no such document with seven seals, and they should not produce one now. Even if they do produce such a document at a later stage, it shall be regarded as false.
    The Tepas agree to abide by this agreement. The people of Tshug, led by their headmen, affix their signatures. The left column lists two headmen of Tshug and nine ‘big men’ (bha la ha sti mi < Nep. bhaladmi), apparently also representatives of Tshug. The right column, the intermediaries and witnesses, includes the principal lords of Dzar and Kag, and one signato- ry from each of Kag and Purang. The last two signatories are two lamas of Te, Tshe dbang ’bum pa of Tshognam, and “Am chi Tshe dbang, who lives at the head of the Te Valley” (i.e. in the temple of Baza called Ga’u dgon pa). This document in fact contains neither seals nor thumbprints, suggesting that it is the copy of an original that is kept in Tshug.

For further information concerning the salina of Tshaurong, see commentary to document HMA/Te/Tib/01.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 44

Date: Earth Dragon year, 10th month, 20th day, Sunday (1928)

Lines: 11

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs

1. sa drugs zla ba 10 pa’i tshes 26 res za 1 la thags kha dhar col pa rtsos pa’i bster gen migs dmar dang (kun dga’) rigs dzin rtsos gen tshe dbang brten ’dzin rtsos pa’i brter lung pa ’drags zhan lhan ’rgyad kha thun tshigs drub
2. slo slang rgyur med gi gen ’rgya (yi ge) bris ’don la | rang yul ’drags zhan rnam nas | tshugs lung pa dang rtses las lung pa dang gyis slong lung pa dang tshogs rnam san tsham ’bud nas dngul bru rnam kyid sa med pa chod pa yin |
3. gal srid phyugs po dbul po ’drags zhan su zhigs gi am 1 dang ’bru zo gang dhal nas kyid pa ’byung tshe bha dngul 100 ’rgya dang | dbul por rnams san tsham dhal nas tshugs rtses les gi ling yul 3 la las rton las tshem so ’dugs las
4. ga la ’ang ’dro sa med pa chod pa yin|su zhig gi gen rgya gal nas las la dro pa bshar tshe bha gong sal nang zhin chod pa yin | yang mo han sman su bha la tshong pa rnam nas yul ’am bhid rung tsha rter sa med pa chod yin yang lung
5. mi su zhigs gi tsha rter pa byung na bha gong sal nang zhin zhus phran med pa brton rgyu chod pa yin | gong ’don ’de la mi gal sham sal | (signatures follow)
11. rtags lha rtags | rter lung mi kye pho {spy}mo pho rang mo rang spyi lags kor gi rtags | kyid kyab srin dul rtags | tshe ring yang phel rtags |

An agreement, set down in writing so that there should be no change in the resolution reached as a result of a general consensus among the people of Te, both mighty and weak, who are led by their headmen Mingmar, Kun dga’ rig ’dzin and Tshe dbang bstan ’dzin, who are themselves led by the secretary (khar dar < Nep. kharidr) Col pa of Thak. It has been decided that members of our community, both mighty and weak, shall not lend money or grain to Tshug, Tsele, Gelung or beyond the boundary to Tshognam. It has been further decided that:
    - if anyone, whether rich or poor, mighty or weak, should violate this [agreement] by lend- ing [as much as] one half-rupee or one zo ba of grain there will be a fine of 100 rupees;
    - poor people may not cross the Tshognam border to do any sewing work or labour in any of the three villages of Tshug, Tsele or Gelung.
    It has been decided that if anyone does go to work in violation of this written agreement, the fine shall be as stated above.
    Furthermore, it has been decided that traders shall not give salt either outside or inside the village, to Mohanman Subba, and that anyone who does give salt shall be fined as stated above without any excuses.

    The document is signed by one representative of each of the 48 estates of Te and the three headmen. The text concludes by stating that the pho rang mo rang—subsidiary households— are included in this agreement by virtue of the paper being “circulated from hand to hand” (lags kor < lag skor) and signed on their behalf by one male and one female representative.

The Thakali subba Mohanman Serchan held the salt monopoly until 1928, and later became the Warden (spyi khyab) of southern Baragaon (see Introduction). The nature of the injunction against giving Mohanman salt is not clear, but may be connected with the contract for the exploitation of the Tshaurong salina, near Te, that Mohanman secured around this time (see HMA/Te/Tib/01, commentary). The context of this document can only be understood from Nepali documents of the same period in Te’s archive: a protracted dispute between Te and Gelung over an area of pastureland called Ngolak that straddles the boundaries of these two villages as well as those of Tshug and Tangkya. For a summary of the dispute, see The Navel of the Demoness, Chapter 3. The dispute was eventually settled around 1932. The secretary (or clerk) Colpa is presumably an influential Thakali who was supporting the Tepas against Mohanman. A Thakali named Colpa from the settlement of Taglung is known to have been a contestant for the customs contract that was secured by the Serchan family in 1860, but this clearly cannot be the same individual.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 45

Date: Fire Hare year (1867 or 1927)

Lines: 14

Script: ’khyug


1. me stags lo la slo smad sgo ba brgyad po’i sku ngo la | bsted pa’i
2. lags nas | tshugs pa’i sdung ma ’khrogs {1S} pa’i rgyu la rten
3. nas | bsted pa yul pa’i mchod ’tshigs la | tshugs
4. rgya rtsang nas bsan dang shing nyos rgyu med pa mchod pa yin |
5. byassormemoyos’izlaba2pa’itshe4largyagayul
6. pa’i lha dgos rtsugs nas | mngon pha mi mkhyun 3 yangs mi tsha 3
7. nas | nga rgya ga yul pa’i {1} bsan dang shing sdung ma dang cham
8. rnams rtsong pa’i mkhyun dang | khyed bsted pa yul pa’i yang nyos
9. pa’i mkhyun yin | (da cha) yang khyed rgya ga yul pa’i bsan dang
10. shing sdung ma | ’cham rnams rtsong dug zin du yul mi bzhan
11. nas snyed tsher byed pa byung tshes | mkhyed bsted pa yul pa zur
12. du ’bor nas | nga rgya ga yul pa’i mi ’de yi sdong lan stang shogs
13. zer pa’i rgya ga (dpal ldan) | dga ra (dkon mchog) {1S} rtsos pa’i rgya ga yul
14. spa spyi lag skor kyi brtags X

In the Fire Tiger year (1866 or 1926), in the time (lit. presence) of the eight leaders (? sgo ba) of Lower Lo, the Tshugwas stole beams from the Tepas’ hands. As a consequence of this, the Tepas drew up a document in which they resolved not to buy pine needles (l.4 bsan < gsan) or wood from Tshug, Gyaga or Tsele. Later, on the fourth day of the second month in a Fire Hare year (1867 or 1927), the people of Gyaga made an earnest appeal [to the effect that], according to well-established tradition it has been customary for us people of Gyaga to sell pine needles, beams and laths and for you Tepas to buy them. And if, henceforth, members of another village commit the offence of seizing pine needles, wood, beams and laths that have been sold to you by Gyaga, we people of Gyaga shall have you Tepas stand to one side while we litigate on your behalf. This statement has been affirmed by being passed from hand to hand among the people of Gyaga, who are led by [their headmen] dPal ldan and mGar ba dkon mchog.


Travelling between Gyaga and Te requires crossing the territory of Tshug. As the document states, Te has a tradition of buying timber and forest litter (for making compost) from Gyaga, which has respectable stands of pine. Following the attack mentioned here Te has placed an embargo on Gyaga, which is responding to this threat to its economy by offering to litigate on behalf of its client in the event of any future incidents of banditry.
    l. 1. sgo ba brgyad po: this reference to “eight leaders” is obscure. While the title ’go ba is known from other Tibetan areas, such as neighbouring Dolpo, this is the only appearance of the term of which I am aware in a document from Baragaon.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 46

Date: Earth Monkey year, 6th month, (illegible) day, Wednesday (1908)

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug

1 sa spres zla 6 ba yi tshe—res bza lha gpa’i nyin| shod yul kha lnga kha la cig spa don la gnyis spa bres bu gsum
2 spa gam cha (chos skya) yig ge bris don la | don tsa sku Zzhabs gnyis yam bu la bzhang nas | sku Zzhabs gnyis kyi bka’ bdrin
3 la yam bu nas phyag stams snom nas khur chang ’u lags gnyis kyi phyir ’du | sku Zzhabs gnyis ’dun ’du shod yul lnga po
4 gyab ’du sdad nas gcigs phyong ’du gnyis ’phyong byed gyu mchod pa dang | gal srin ngos shod yul lnga po khur chang ’u lags
5 ’de gnyis kyi phyir ’du shod yul lnga po gcigs ’du gnyi phyong byed pa (ma tog) | ngos yul bsu thed nas men bzhus spang
6 shar tshes yul res la dngul 100 bzhus med spa yul lnga yis grigs phyed ston gyu mchod pa yin | don tsheg ’de la
7 mi gyur spa stang yed rgan shis lo (rdo rje) lags rtags X tshugs rgan dpal ’dzang (bkra shis) lags rtags X gya ga rgan (rgyal mtshan)
8 lags rtags X rtse las rgan dbang ’dus lags rtags X sted rgan skyid kyabs tshes ring lags stags X (bkra shis) |

A document (gam cha < Nep. gaca) confirming that the inhabitants of the five communities of the Shod yul should not say one thing and mean another with the result that the outcome is something different again. The two unnamed lords (sku zhabs) have gone to Kathmandu and have kindly secured a sealed document to the effect that the five villages of Shod yul are no longer obliged to provide khur chang or ’u lag taxes (to the King of Lo). For the purpose of enforcing this decision, the lords should stand in front and the five Shod yul behind them, providing vigorous support in any arguments (lit. “two jump where one has jumped”).
    If a village fails to provide its support, it shall be fined 100 rupees. One headman from each of the five communities signs.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 47

Date: Earth Bird year, 3rd month, 5th day, Saturday (1909)

Lines: 9

Script: ’khyug

1. sa bya zla pa gsum pa’i tshe lnga re gza’ spen pas nyin | ngos gshod yul kha lnga po lhan mdzom gyis gros thog nas mchod tshig
2. (yi ge) ’bris ’don la | khur chang ’u lag gnyis bskor la bstod smad gnyis nas | si ri – –1–brgyal ’zhabs (rin po che’i) phyag gtam la rtsis med
3. byas ste ’dug {1S} po gtang mi ’byung tshe yul thog la zla rtang nas mi drag gang po yom mdzom nas khrim bstun byas nas ma tog gzur
4. mgo yon bgyis ’u lag khur sa med | khur chang byang sa med | bde thog la zla ma phrod na yul nas dngul brgyad res mdang zla phrod
5 nas ma yongs tshe yul ma yongs na dngul brgyad mdangs | mi ma yongs tshe dngul res ’chad pa ston nas spyi thog tu gza’ rgyu mdangs | ma
6 tshad sngon srol ltar ’du lo res bzhin zla pa gsum pa’i tshe 10 la | tsho nas chang bslum ’gyang ba gnyis res ’dus nas spyi yom mdzom nas
7 chang ’thung bzhin | ’khrim med byas mi byung nas dug na bka’ tshig ’dus nas spyi nas khrim bzhibs bya rgyu | (’gal ste) gongs don
8 mchod tshigs rnams la ’gal mi ’byung tshe spyi thog tu bha dngul 500 res rgan mi drag mdzom nas len rgyu mchod pa ngos yul kha lnga po’i rgan
9 mi drag tshog ’dus gsham sal {1S} gtsos spyi lag bskor kyis rtags the po

(9 signatories are named)

Earth Bird year, 3rd month, 5th day, Saturday. This document has been drawn up following an agreement reached in the course of a meeting of the five Shod yul. Regarding the khur chang taxes and ’u lag obligations: if anyone does not respect the sealed document issued by the ruler of Nepal, and continues to cause us hardship, messages have to be sent to [five] communities and all the officials must meet. We should act only in accordance with the law; no one shall act independently and continue to provide ’u lag duties or pay khur chang taxes. If a community should fail to convey a message there shall be a fine of 8 rupees per settlement; if a message is sent and a settlement does not come there will be a fine of 8 rupees, and if an individual fails to come there will be a fine of 1 rupee. The fines shall be shared equally; and furthermore, in accordance with custom, on the 10th day of the 3rd month of each year, beer from 2 gyang bu of fermented barley shall be collected , and all shall assemble and drink it. If there should be anyone who acts in violation of the law, the matter should be investigated by everyone together. If anyone should transgress the terms of this document specified above, the headmen and officials shall together levy a fine of 500 rupees. The headmen and officials of the five Shod yul, whose names are made clear below, confirm this document by passing it from hand to hand.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 48

Date: Earth Bird year, 3rd month, 13th day, Friday (1909)

Lines: 5

Script: ’khyug

1. sa mo bya lo zla 3 tshe 13 res spa bzang la shod yul lnga yis khur ’chang yis ’phyir ’du sku Zzhabs bzang (rdo rje) gis slo dpon po nas phya stam gnom nas | yul lnga yis gro mgo ma tshang par ’u ’dug nas ’dzo ra thogs ’dus nas
2. ’dzar sku Zzhabs bzang po (rdo rje) la am stong 1 ’phul pa yin | (byes su) shod yul lnga kha thun tshogs ’dus slo glang gyur med gis mchod tshigs (yig ge) bris don la | don rtsa lo rta bya lo nas hen phyi stam nang la khyer pa ma stogs nang stam phyi la
3. khyer sa med | ma zad ’dzo ra rtogs ’dus yod bzer nas yul pa’i su zer sa med spa dang | ’de nas phyin chad ’dzo ra stogs ’dus gyu med spa mchod pa yin | gal srid nang stam phyi la khyer pa dang ’dzo ra stogs ’dus yod
4. zer nas phyi la zer pa byung tshe dngul — 100 — mchod pa yin | don tshigs ’a ’de la gyur pa | sted yed rgan tshes ris (sangs rgyas) stag the spo | tshugs rgan zla ba (don grub) rtags the spo | gya kha rgan tshes ring (bsam drug) rtags the spo | rtse les rgan brten dzin
5. chos skyabs stags the spo | rted rgan lcang phur spa stags the spo | rgan lnga rtsos pa’i shod yul lnga spyi lag skor kyi rtags (bkra shis) |

sKu zhabs bZang po rdo rje has brought a sealed document (phya rtams < phyag dam) from the nobles of Lo concerning (lit. for) the khur chang tax. Because the five villages have not enough resources (lit expenses: l. 1 gro mgo < ’gro sgo) they are experiencing hardship. Funds have therefore been collected on the basis of dzos and goats (i.e. villages pay money to the fund according the amount of livestock they own, and 1,000 am (i.e. 500 rupees) have been given to sKu zhabs bZang po rdo rje.
    Later, the five Shod yul assembled and drew up the following agreement:
    From [this] Bird year onwards (l. 2 hen), information (l. 2 stam < gtam) about the outside should be brought to the inside, and inside information may not be conveyed outside (i.e. specifically concerning the coming break from Lo). Nothing may be said about our collection of funds on the basis of dzos and goats. Henceforth, money may not be raised on the basis of dzos and goats. If inside information is conveyed to the outside, and if anyone says to outsiders that money was raised on the basis of dzos and goats, there shall be a fine of 100 rupees.
    Document signed by the headmen of Taye, Tshug, Gyaga, Tsele and Te, and affirmed by the assembly by being passed around from hand to hand.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 49

Date: Earth Bird year, 11th month, 28th day, Thursday (January 1910)

Lines: 4

Script: ’khyug

1. sa bya zla 11 tshes 26 la | slo rgyal su rted | tshugs steng shed | tsang sle | brgya gar | phen lag bcas su khur lcang ’phog nges sshri rgyal khab chen pos
2. bka’ tham yod rkyang | da cha ssri rig ma h ra ’dz chen pos ’u khum |cho| ji gong don bzhin zla dang po nas zung khur lcang gong pa rtsang |g|rol yong rgyu a zhang
3. bzang tog lags gyi zhu ten am dmar lnga rgya thams tshugs te khyu gan la rgen zla dang po zhag la khur lcang mi len pa gong pa tsang grol du bsong pa
4. tshang mas bde ’jags byed | bzhes srid ’dzin ngo mas gong tshes la sprad |

Left margin
1. khur lcang gong yang du song bas slo rgyal phyags thams skas nang zhin snags skl bres shus | [1S] chad
2. med pa khod pa’i |1|n |dpon| dbang nas gsnang pa’i (seal)

Te, Tshug, Taye (steng shed), Gyaga, Tsele and Phelag have been duty-bound to provide khur chang dues to the realm of Lo. There is a signed order from the government of His Majesty the King [of Nepal], and now, furthermore, a royal decree...will come into effect that, from the first month, the khur chang dues are to be abolished. ‘Uncle’ Zangdog made a request to this effect, and after paying 500 am [250 rupees] in coin, from the first month onward you shall not be liable for khur chang dues but shall be exempted from them. All may dwell in peace.
Issued by the ruler on Thursday, the seventh day of the seventh month in a Wood Dragon year.

Left margin
A duplicate (snags skl < Nep. nakal), with neither additions nor omissions ([lhag?] chad), of a document bearing the seal of the king of Lo, abolishing the khur chang tax.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 50

Date: Earth Bird year, 12th month, 13th day, Sunday (1910)
Lines: 28
Script: ’khyug ma tshugs
Remarks: document in two parts: lines 1–20 and lines 21–28. Date above refers only to part 1. The last 8 lines are in a different hand, and the text is apparently incomplete.

1. sa bya zla ba 12 pa’i tshes 13 re gza’ 1 nyin | gshams sal nang khod bshod yul kha lnga’i mchod tshig (yi ge) ’bris ’don la | don rtsa sngon
2. pha med spe srol lam mdangs po gang yod ltar | dpon a smal sku pa a’i nang du mtshan gsu gsal mdang | slar spyid ka yul ’khor
3. [tsh]es dus sol zas bskor mdangs | dpon gis sku tshabs stang ’byung tshes babs zan babs chang [±5S] |m|dangs | sngon
4. yul nang ’khrugs pa shor pa ’byung tshes nang grigs byas khyun yod pa rnams la | dpon sku ngo {ga} spa a ru yod ma rtogs sku ngo gzhan rtsis
5. rgyu med pa mchod pa yin | spyid ka yul ’khor phebs dus sol zas yar mar phebs yongs dus snga ’ongs tshegs res ma rtog lhag
6. ma phul mi nus pa mchod pa yin | de la sngar srol ltar yul kha snga po brgyad rtags byas rgyu mchod pa yin | dpon gis
7. sku tshab yul sde’i don la stang ’byung tshes babs zan babs chang gter rgyu bde men gang ’byung ’byung la gter mi phyogs par
8. mchod pa yin | yul nang ’du khrugs shor ’byung tshes rang {1}gis yul gyis {rgan mi grags |m|dzoms nas} khrim spyod
9. byas sgyu rgyal gsung bla sla mor nang sal ltar byas rgyu | gal srid ma mchod tshe a a ru bsred rgyu mchod pa dang
10. yul ’khor la lo re la lan re ma rtog ’das log sebs ’byung na sol zas stang rgyu me par mchod pa dang
11. dgongs sal tshigs don rnams la lhag ma byas ’byung bha shar tshe yul yul gyi sa rims la zla stang rgyu mchod
12. pa mdangs | de ltar zla ma stang tshe | zla sma stang ba’i yul la mchod tshigs dngul brgyad mdang | zla stang nas ma yong tshes
13. mi yongs pa’i {1S} yul la dngul brgyad nyes chad phog pa | gzhu ’dren med pa ston brgyu mchod pa yin | zla
14. stang mi rta yed nas stang dgos ’byung tshes mi gnyis | gter tshugs la (re res) stang rgyu dang | gter nas stang dgos byung
15. na | tshugs dang rtse le gnyis la mi (re res) ’byung rgyu mdang | gyags rtsang nas stang dgos byung tshe gted tshugs gnyis la mi (re res)

16. stang rgyu mchod | dgongs tshigs rnams la mi ’gal bshod yul kha lnga’i rgan mi drags spyi ’dus tshogs mi res
17. ngo res spyi lags ’khor gsham sal rgan | stang yed rgan tshi rings (sangs rgyas) bces tshogs dus rnams dang | tshugs rgan zla
18. pa don ’grub ces tshogs dus rnams mdang | gya kha rgan tshi rings (bsam grubs) ces tshogs dus rnams dang | rtse le rgan
19. bstan ’chi {1S} skyabs ces dus tshogs rnams dang | gted rgan lcang phur ba {1}ces dus tshogs rnams zhal
20. thun tshigs sgrub gros thogs nas bris ba dgongs sal mi lnga gtsos spyi lags ’khor gyis rtags X

An agreement among the five Shod yul. According to the oral tradition of our forebears, if a dispute arises in our community, and someone comes to settle it, only a nobleman whose name is in the official register (dpon a smal sku pa a’i nang du mtshan gsu gsal) shall be considered as eligible [for food provided by the community]. Only the morning and evening meal (tshegs, SMT tshag) shall be provided. If someone comes in his stead he shall be fed (even if his name is not on the list).
    If a dispute arises in a particular village, the headmen and seniors of the village shall assemble and settle the matter in accordance with the llmohar that is the royal edict (rgyal gsung bla sla mor nang sal ltar). If the matter cannot be decided, it must be referred to the court (a a < Nep. aa).
    If [a noble] should come again within the year at another time than in spring (not clear if spyi ka here denotes ‘spring’ or ‘in common’) (lo re la lan re ma rtog ’das log phebs ’byug na), he shall not receive food or beer. If a community does otherwise than is stipulated above, a village that hears about it should inform the others. If the village does not impart this information, it shall be fined 8 rupees). If a village is informed and does not go (to the general assembly), it shall be fined 8 rupees. (Presumably the fine for the offending village itself will be decided at this meeting?).
    If it is Taye that must send a message, two messengers must be sent: one to Tshug, one to Te. If it is Te that must send a message, one must be sent to Tshug and one to Tsele. If messengers are to be sent from Gyaga or Tsele, one must be sent to Te and one to Tshug. (Presumably Tsele informs Gyaga, and Tshug always informs Taye, without this needing to be spelt out?)

HMA/ TE / TIB / 51

Date: Earth bird year, 12th month, 16th day (1910)

Lines: 5

Script: ’khyug

1. sa bya zla 12 pa’i tshe 16 nyin | shod yul khags 5 mtho smen sgrags zhan gang po Zzhal ’bros mthun mong thogs nas chod tshig (yi ges) khod don | snga Zzhabs lar brgya thogs ring thung |
2. sa rnang gar ’dzom rkyang yul 5 ’bros thog dpes don gcig ma thog zur dpes bston sa med | ga zigs zur dpes su thad nas don pa ’byung na bsngon khyun nang chod nyes chad bsgrub rgyu deng
3. khur lcang bskor dngul ’dus sgro go song la | gang po phyis brgyar du su zhig la shad sa med | ga zigs su thad nas shad thos ’byung tshes ’dis thogs bsngon chod nyes chad rang chod la dgong tshig
4. mi gyur pa | pha khags bu spri g.yas khag g.yon spris ’dran gtam sar skyed yi zhab rgyugs brang med pa | ’dir chogs mi mang sgrags zhen gang po rang thags rang chod gis spyis legs
5. bskor rtags | the’u

Earth Bird year, 12th month, 16th day. This written document has been drawn up following an agreement among all the members of the five Shod yul, the high and low, the powerful and the weak. Wherever we have to attend a meeting, whether far or near, in accordance with the traditional practice of Ngazhab, the members of the five communities should place their votes (dpes < dpe [skal]) in the same place, not separately. Whichever community casts its votes separately shall be fined.
    On the matter of the [abolition of the] khur chang, nobody may speak to anyone else at all from the outside (l. 3 gang po phyis brgyar du < gang po phyi rgyal du?) about our gathering money for expenses (l. 3 sgro go song < ’gro sgo + ’gro song?) [to secure mediation: see document...]. Whoever does speak about it shall be fined as above.
    Document affirmed by being passed around the assembly from hand to hand.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 52

Date: Iron Dog year, 2nd month, 3rd day, Monday (1910)

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug

1. lcags khyis zla ba 2 pa’i tshes 3 res bza’ 2 nyin | shod yul lnga kha thun tshogs ’dus glo glang gyur med gi | mchod tshegs (yi ge)
2. bris don la | don rtsa (gyal po) skun po gyab gyur men rgyal — (rin por che’i) sla mor nang sal shod yul lnga stod smad gang ’du
3. skags a smal phed kyang gsol zas phar zhag | phyib sna ’phed su ’byed sa med pa mchod pa yin | stod smad gang ’du phed
4. kyang da stang gyu dang | rgan spa ma ’dzoms na dngul 16 yul ma ’dzoms na dngul 100 bzhus phren med pa sdon gyu chod pa yin |
5. sda ma stang na ’de thogs la dngul 100 bzhus phren med pa chod pa yin | gsol zas phyib sna byed pa byung tshe ’de thogs la gong sal
6. nang zhin chod pa yin | ’de yis phyir ’du stod smad yul lnga bsu la byung kyang nor gang shor kyang yul lnga skyid ’dug 1 chod
7. pa yin | ’de la la yul lnga bsu men zer mi (shar tshe) ’de thogs la gong sal zhin chod pa yin | don tshigs ’de la mi
8. gyur spa ngos yul lnga rgan mi ’dus rtsos pa’i yul mi spyis lags skor kyis lags rtags | (bkra shis) | |

Iron Dog year, 2nd month, 3rd day, Monday. Agreement between the five villages of the Shod yul. (The meaning of the phrase, in the second line, gyal po skun po gyab gyur men remains uncertain. It is also unsure that the syllable following men is in fact rgyal, as suggested here. Two possible readings—neither of them grammatically satisfactory—are: rgyal por gus pa rgyab rgyu med, “we should not show reverence to the King of Lo”; and rgyal po rkun por rgyab skyor med, “there is no support for the thieving king of Lo”.) As clarified in the edict (l. 2 sla mor < Nep. llmohar) of the precious king [of Nepal], wherever [the King of Lo] may go (phed < pheb], whether north or south, or to the government office (l. 3 a smal < aml) in Kag, the five Shod yul may dispense with having to supply him with provisions (gsol zas), and it has also been decide that we should not receive him formally by leading his horse by the bridle (phyib sna ’phed [for pheb] su [for bsu] ’byed sa med < chib sna phebs bsu byed sa med). Wherever the king goes, whether north or south, messages should be sent [within the five villages to ensure that everyone is informed]. If headmen fail to come they shall pay a fine of 16 rupees, and if a village does not assemble the fine shall be 100 rupees, with no excuses. If a message is not sent the fine shall be 100 rupees (for the defaulter). If food is provided [to the king], or if he is welcomed formally with his horse being led by the bridle, the fines on this account shall be as stated above.

    Therefore, to whichever [of the five] this may happen, whatever property it may lose [to the king], it has been decided that the five settlements share a common fortune (skyid ’dug 1 < skyid sdug 1) [and that such losses should be shared]. If any of the five communities says that this should not be so, it has been decided that the above should hold true.
    The document is affirmed by being passed from hand to hand around the members of the five communities, who are led by their headmen and officials.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 53

Date: none given
Lines: 7
Script: ’khyug and dbu med, in various hands

Short transliteration
1. sma nu ma dab ba’i bkor | khyen kha’ phur ba bung gu 2 | ya[±1] -ugs 21

7. gan phur ba bung 6|nyi ma gyal 6

Document concerns the non-payment of specified quantities of grain and salt, measured mainly in donkey-loads, owed to Te by certain people of Khyenga.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 54

Date: Water Dragon year, 5th month, 18th day (1892)

Lines: 22

Script: ’khyug

1. chu brug zla 5 tshes 18 nyin lug gnyis gongs ma khrims dag rims por che Zzhabs spad gdong lnga’i dbang {1} po rtags brten
2. [mongs] par mtho bo’i drung du |
3. zhu ba bdag ming rtags Zzhu pa bshams gsal rnams nas blo slang bsgyur med kyis rgan
4. brgya gtsang mar phul snying don rtsa snying po | mu ya la tshur brtabs | ti bu|u la phar btab | bu zur bcas [ma] thabs
5. ka mdzor ’dzi chos ’khor pas brtsugs nas sdod rgyu mchod pa gter yul pas gnang pa yin | de thad la dpyid zla
6. ba gsum pa bzhi ba sdom zla ba bdun pa brgyad pa rnams la sdod mchog pa mchod pa yin | yang g.yag ’dzi thabs
7. ka zla ba bcu gcig pa bcu gnyis pa dang po gsum pa phar rtong {pa phar} thabs ka btsugs mchog pa dang yang kha ba
8. ’babs pa dang nam rgyun kha ral rna ral ca la phyogs la slebs na brnyed rtser byed mi mchog pa dang yangs
9. mi yis thabs shing dang ’dzo la gter rgyu’i be tsher zlog mchog pa dang mu ya la phar ’[1]al ma snyam slon shing cis
10. lud ril ma khyer mi mchog | ’gal srid khur na yul mi khrim mthun nyes chad khur rgyu ’di nas gzungs bskal
11. pa nam stongs bar rtsa rin dngul bcu re chos ’khor pa rnams nas gter yul la phul rgyu | zla dus zla ba 6 pa’i nang du ’phul rgyu
12. ma mthus pa yul gzhan gyis mdzo sogs mu bsres yong mi chog | cangs la yul gzhan gyis bdud gro slebs na
13. chos ’khor pas gter yul pa la da stong byed rgyud dang ’gal srid yul gzhan gyis ’dzo g.yag mu bsres
14. ’byung tshes bdud ’gro re rin dngul bcu re nye chad stong rgyu | lo re bzhin dngul bcu re phul nas chos ’khor
15. pas ’dzo g.yag ’dzi bu gnyis la gter yul nas bsnyed tshol mi chog pa dang gzhan phyog bsnyed tsher ’byung tshes khas
16. len gter yul pas byed rgyu dang | gong gsal zla dus li tho nang ltar bzung rgyu dang | mchod tshigs ’di las mi ’gal
17. ’gal srid ’gal char nga min kho yin rtsos sha gyen log nag thog spang ’drod pha khag bu skris nag khag

18. khyo dkris dran gtam gsar skyes che gcan rtags zhur shog tshang rlung bzhugs de dus de min sogs mi snyan pa
19. bun bu’i skad rtsam zhu srid tshes gong gsal nyes chad khur nas slar yang bris brten ’di rang la zo nas rgyun
20. skyong zhu zhu ba gong ming chos ’khor gtso drag gso rig tsham spen blo slang sems thad (thumbprint) gtso drag
21. dngos grub rtags | gtso drag bzam grub rtags | gtso drag kham gsum rtags | cha spang rtags | mtsho byed
22. (a khu) mtsham pa rnams rg yal rtags | yig bris blo bo klu ris ’grub phur pa (rdo rje) rtags |

Addressed to “the feet of the master of the law, the supreme one of the two traditions”. We, whose names and fingerprints are clearly presented below, offer this written agreement relat- ing to the decision on our part that is not to be changed. The substance of the agreement is as follows: in the area lying between this side of the Muya la and the far side of the Tiu La the people of Chongkhor may pitch tents (lit. hearths, thabs ka < thab ka) and place dzo-herders between the third or fourth months and the seventh or eighth months. Furthermore, they may also place yak-herders and pitch tents from the eleventh, twelfth and first months up to the third month.
    If it snows (and the herders cannot see the boundary?) and they go a little way towards Tsala (to the east of Te) by a nose or a mouth (i.e. just a short distance), the Tepas shall not com- plain. They may collect firewood and dig up betshera (Caragana sp.) for dzos, but they may not take wood or dung over the border (i.e. the Muya la) to Dzardzong, or they shall be fined according to village custom. They must pay 10 rupees to Te every year before the sixth month. Dzos from other villages may not mingled with the Chongkhor animals, or there shall be a fine of 10 rupees per animal. The Tepas shall deal will complaints about this from other villages (?). The months designated above shall correspond to those in the official Hor calendar (l. 16, li tho nang ltar). (This is the calendar used by Chongkhor; most of Baragaon follows the agrarian calendar, which is a month ahead of this; Te, uniquely, has a calendar that is two months ahead of the official system and out of step by several days.)
    The document is validated with thumbprints of four representatives of Chongkhor, two wit- nesses, and the scribe, a lama attached to the northern cave temple of Klu ri.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 55

Date: none

Lines: 15

Script: tshugs

1. si ri |||||||||||||rgyal bzhab (rin po che) bzhabs nas |
2. rgyalspogsurtisesyiskusngola|bu’bra’idgunsadbruglodang|mchugabtig
3. {±3} shag yi dgug ma {1S} yi [r]i[l] ma pha med gyud sum yang med ’tsha sum yis ’bar
4. du nga sted spa yi {1S} len ye byung yin | d.yung ’khres lhas khyod dzong spa yul pa’ zas nas | ngas ted
5. spa yul pa’i d.yung do cig ma las spa ngas ted spa yul pa’i grog bu ru jos spa yin
6. nges sa zhi yin | {1S} des yis dus pad ma (rgya mtsho) dang (o rgyan) dpal sdzang snyis ngo’ la (dpon po) la bzhus
7. nas (dpon po) yis ska’ mkhres snang nas | bu khra zang spo la ska’ khres snang gnas des nas zang
8. spo yi (dpon po) la bzhu wa la (ngag ge) dran dog bang shag yi skug | lhas yis ril ma snam ted spa
9. yi lan na ngas dran bzhus spa yin | des la (ten nas) skad cha zhis spa yin | ra sdza spang sdza
10. pheb gnas shag nas mo ya la han chad tshun chad yis rin mtshams nang spa la
11. dar shing tsug spa yin |sdza no cha nga thug dar shing tsug yod | ter spa dang stang d.yad spa
12. snyis sngar yis khyun la zla ba sum spa la ’u snyis sdzom dus chang gyang spa chad chad dus nas
13. snom pa yin mtsham skor nas thos dar cing pa’i thad rtsug ri han chad tshun chad
14. tang yad yur go nas cang ma cad nas gyung sngam cad yis zam spa tsug yi
15. ’khyun yang yod | bkra shis ||

From the feet of Si ri... the king
In the time of (lit. in the presence of: sku sngo la < sku dngos la) King gSur ti ses, the winter residences of Bu ’bra, dBrug mo and mChu ga btig... (l. 3 mainly damaged) ... near Shag....Up to this time over the generations (lit. since the time of three ascending generations to the time of three generations after us), we Tepas have been collecting [dung?]. You people of Dzong have built dYung ’khre corral. We Tepas have toppled (rjos < byos?) it into the gorge so that there is not one stone left. It is our land.

    At that time, in the presence of (the headmen?) Padma rgya mtsho and O rgyan dpal bzang the nobles (dpon po) passed their judgment, and gave this judgment to Bu khra bZang po. Bu khra bZang po spoke to the nobles, saying that he remembered that the Tepas used to collect dung from a corral in the corner of Shag. Then the matter was quietened down.
    Then Ra rza spang rdza came and fixed the boundaries [between] the far side and near side of the Mo ya la and set up flagpoles. He also set up flagpoles up to (thug; thug may also mean tridents) rDza no ches/ chos (text not clear). According to past custom, the Tepas and Tayepas, those two communities, would meet in the third month and, with each contributing half a gyang ba of beer, would bring in the dung from the ridges and divide it up. Then they would cut willows from the head of the irrigation canal and set them as bridges at Gyung ngam cad——this, too, was customary.

l. 2. rgyal spo gsur ti ses: this is probably a reference to King Suratah, who ruled Jumla in the first half of the eighteenth century and fought a war with Mustang. In some chronicles he is named as Surtih, a name that properly refers to an earlier king who ruled a part of Jumla about a century earlier (Pandey 1997: 201–204).

l. 9. ra sdza spang sdza: < Nep. Rja pnca; presumably a reference to the Shah kings of Gorkha, whose names are customarily prefixed by the title r pnc, ‘Fivefold Majesty’.
l. 12. rgyang spa: more commonly gyangbu, a Seke term signifying a volumetric measure equal to 20 zo ba. In SMT the same measure is usually referred to as sekhal (< se khal).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 56

Date: (element illegible) Bird year, 3rd month, 8th (?) day, Friday (?)

Lines: 8

Script: ’khyug

Remarks: seal at end. Text damaged


1. bya zla ba gsum pa’i tshes bzang la dpal dzin
2. ts[1] mthon po dzus dab [1S] min spang su
3. gsol nas | gi lung bsted tshugs bstang rgya cas
4. gyi ris ’tsham snang pa la yul kha bzhi po spang
5. dmar gdan ’du ting bzang smar sgo la dgon
6. lus spyi rang ’thon bkyed la rtsi thags nag po
7. cing nas snab rgyal bskal nas ris tsham bzhag
8. pa la | stod ’du sna pho lha rdzas | ’bar ’du
9. rtseg ’thong gang | smad ’du do ’gyir mo | bcal
10. ris ’tsham | rtsog tse yan | shar brtsan man | sta rgya
11. bhag tshun bsted ’tshug steng rgya gsum gyi
12. spang spyi ris yin | do ’a ri mo bcas dpa’ po
13. chu mig yan g.yu phug bcas bsted
14. ’tshug gnyis gyi spi ri yin | g.yu phugs lhas
15. dgongs bster pa’i lhas ’og tshugs pa’i yin |
16. do ’gyir mo yan la gi lung rtsa nyog ’dod
17. lhas rtsugs dbangs med | bcas zla tshes bzang
18. por gi lung ’du yul kha bzhi po mkha’
19. mthun tshig ’grub byas bdag pa spud nas
20. ris ’tsham yin no | gi lung rgan pa spen
21. pa don ldan rtsos pa’i spyi lag bskor rtag |
22. btshug chos skyabs rtsos mi ngo byad spyi lag
23. bskor bstag | bsted rgan o rgyan bsam
24. ’grub rtsos mi ngo bdyad spyi lag bskor bstag |
25. bsteng rgya rgan phun tshogs bkra shis rtsos mi ngo gsum
26. spyi lags bskor bstag | yig cha ’di bzhin
27. rtse mthon po ru sras nor ’bu bris pa’o |||


Concerning the boundaries of the pastures (ris ’tsham < ri mtshams) of Gelung ([G]i lung), Te (stad), Tshug (tshugs) and Tangkya (bstang rgya). The pasture boundaries were established after the participants swore an oath (snab rgyal bskal nas < mna’ bskal nas) “on a red meadow as a seat (spang dmar gdan ting du), wearing a red copper vessel on the head (bzang smar sgo la dgon < zangs dmar mgo la gon), coming out naked (lus spyi rang < lus gcer rang) except for a black yak-hair rope (rtsi thags < rtsid thag) tied around their waists”. The boundaries are as follows:
    [The boundaries are then specified]
The people of Gelung may go above Do Gyirmo [as far as they can] reach grazing land, but they may not build a fold in which they might stay [overnight].
    On an auspicious (bzang) day and date, the four villages met at Gelung and reached this agreement about pastures.
    Document affirmed by being passed from hand to hand among the people of Gelung, led by their headmen, and the other three villages.
    “This document was written by the nobleman (sras) Nor bu on a high peak” (rtse mthon po ru: probably a place name) .

HMA/ TE / TIB / 57

Date (last line): “Noon of the fifteenth day” (early to mid-19th century)

Script: ’khyug

Lines: 4

Remarks: last line bears a seal, with two Tibetan syllables: “Thog rgyal”.

1. khri thob bkra shis thog rgyal dku zhabs gnas |
2. nyes lam du | blo smad rgan las byed tshang mang rnam la (yig ges) nges gos | da lam rang res spon lung nang gi sung khros dang
3. ma zad lung ba yas mad kyis sung khros dzad gos ’dug bas | yig ge thong ’bral du can rtsug rnam dang mi grag rnam ’ong lug gyis gyis | zhes go bar byed pa’i (yig ge)
4. ’di (pho brang) bkra shis nas tshes 15 la nyin phyed la thon ba gsong (seal)

A summons from Khri thob bKra shis thog rgyal, to the headmen and officials of Lower Lo (i.e. Baragaon) concerning the outstanding issues to be discussed (sung khros < gsung ’phros). As soon as this document has been seen the overseers (can rtsug < spyan btsug) and important people (mi grag < mi drag) should come. This letter has been written from the palace of bKra shis [sdings] (in Dzar) on mid-day of the 15th day of the month.

Khri thob bKra shis thog rgyal was a Duke of Baragaon who was active in the first half of the 19th century. bKra shis sdings is the name of the family’s house in the settlement of Dzar.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 58

Date: Fire Sheep year, 1st month, 1st day (1847 or 1907)

Lines: 9 lines of text, 5 lines of names

Script: ’khyug

1. mi rjes dgong ma sku zhabs stags lha dbang rgyal (rin po che) zhabs ’drung nas
2. snga zhabs gsu khod pa’i rted sham gsal
3. rnam la phyags rtam nges gos | ’don snying | kha sngon mkhyed ni/gi lam brgyud gis khrus
4. chod ma ’byung pa la | kho po rnam nas lud kal nas ra tho grang cis med pa
5. rtong phyar ’ded song zer nas | sham gsal rnam gi min gsu | kha sngon dzwa
6. her gi bha bri dpon la bul ’byung pa | ’des thogs zhabs cod pa la phyags
7. rtam snga | shi pas (bkra shis) thong bral du mar nyur bdu yong lugs (mkhyen mkhyen)
8. ma yong par (’byung tshe) | shis pas gi smi rtang par khrig yong pas glo slang
9. gyi|melugszlaba1botshed1nyinthon
10. stab shil

Letter issued by Mi rje gong ma sku zhabs sTag lha dbang rgyal rin po che, probably a high-ranking lama of Baragaon residing in Dzar, to ten people of Te who names are listed below. It is said (by the people of Tshug?) that these Tepas herded (across Tshug’s territory) an innumerably large number of goats loaded with dung. Some time ago the Tshugpas submitted a petition (dzwa her gi bha bri < Nep. jher bdi) to the lord accusing the undernamed Tepas. Later on, when the matter was investigated, five (? snga < lnga?) sealed letters were...; as soon as the addressees see the author’s guard (shi pas < Nep. sipai) bKra shis they should come down promptly (nyur bdu < myur du). If it happens that they do not come, he has decided that his guard should not let them go but bring them (?smi rtang par khrig yong pas glo slang < mi gtong bar ’khrid yong pa blos blangs?). Fire Sheep year, first month, first day. List of concerned Tepas follows.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 59

Date: Wood Monkey year, 10th month, 20th day (1884)

Script: ’khyug

Lines: 2

Remarks: illegible seal at end

1. shing spre zla ba cu pa’i tshes nyer grug la snga shab yi lar kya’i phyir du spyis nus mdzad gyu | gan ba dar bo’i bzhal kyis zhes
2. yin | snga shab grim kyu med | des la gyur ba ’byung na | dba’ sngul gya bab dag gya bo yin (seal) (bkra shis)

A memorandum from the headman Dar po of Kag, probably to all the people of Baragaon. Everything possible (spyis nus < ci nus) should be done for the sake of traditional customs (lar kya < lar rgya) of Baragaon. No one may abandon Baragaon on pain of paying a fine of 100 rupees. Seal at end, not legible.

The interpretation of the phrase that has been glossed here as “no one may abandon Baragaon” is far from clear. The text reads snga shab grim gyu med (< mNga’ zhabs ’grim rgyu med), and the rendering given here understands this to mean that one may not “wander off” (’grim) from Baragaon. The expression is used in certain documents with the apparent meaning of defecting or changing allegiance to a neighbouring power, usually Lo. Nyima Drandul, how- ever, takes this to signify that people should not travel around within Baragaon on official business, in other words that they should adopt a policy of non-cooperation with regard to the ruling nobles. The headman Dar po is a celebrated nineteenth-figure from Kag who is believed to have championed the cause of the ordinary people of Baragaon against the aristocracy, and was murdered for his resistance (see Ramble 1994: 108).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 60

Date: none given

Lines: 9

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. rgyal bzhabs
2. sa skyong mi dbang mchogs gis zhabs drung du
10. la cha gnas mi mdzad gsung na | de lug gi bka’ gsal khyab phye pa myur du gnang pa lags

The nomads of the northern plateau have come according to past custom (i.e. the annual supply of Tibetan salt has arrived at the Mustang border). The first traders of Baragaon, the people of Taye, have arrived, and they are therefore acting in accordance with traditional practice. The nomads have a little extra salt. The quantity (of salt or grain?) is short by 60 ’bo. The northern nomads are not late.

This is apparently a letter from the King of Lo (rgyal zhabs) to the rulers of Baragaon (sa skyong mi dbang). The people of Baragaon are late in coming up to the border to trade grain for salt, and are therefore not acting in accordance with the rules of the Dolpo Kushog (? bgro lo sku tshab). The title of kushog (sku zhabs) is said to have been reserved for whichever nobleman of Baragaon had the right to collect taxes in Dolpo.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 61

Date (on last line): Dragon or Snake year (?lo da ’bru lu < lo rtags ’brug lo/sbrul lo), 1st month, 16th day (probably 1832/1833)
Lines: 12, including title at top
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: two identical round seals at bottom right, containing two syllables in Tibetan script, thog rgyal.

1. khri thob bkra shis thog rgyal sku Zzhabs nas |
2. blo smad yul kha 12 gyis cob rgyad grug co la tham kha rnang bdon la
3. da lam (a khu) gung rgyal nas khri thob mzhes skab | ngos nas ros stod zer gyis zod kyang ros smad sem mi
4. ma zod ba m.yul la chas nas yong skyang | blo smad snga Zzhabs cab rgyad grug co {2S} dang spon spo cham nas sdod ba
5. yincin|dalamlotaspreslusmorgyischanasmathogbyissgyumedcin|mazadspon
6. spang snyis lar rgya phyig gril yin cin | spon spus yin skyang blo smad snga Zzhabs grim tsha med cin
7. snga zhabs nas yin skyang spon bo grim tsha med pa’i tham kha rnang ba yin | da lam zla ba 10 ba’i
8. nang ’rgyal zhabs bsku ’dun ma ’gro ba mi zer grim nas kha chi dad | grod ba nang dad byas ba gsam
9. la thi snyid khab la rtse snyis byas ba byung tshes ’ab dngul tong cig blo smad snga zhabs la
10. nga rang thad nes sprad gu yin zer [nas tham kha] |snang| ba yin cin | bdon bya de la mi ’gal ba
11. khri thob (bkra shis) thob brgyal gyis tham kha zla ba 1 tshes 16 lo da ’bru lu rnang ba dges (two seals; the first contains the syllables thog rgyal)
      2. 12 kyi bco brgyad drug bcu; tham ga gnang don 3. thob bzhes skabs; ro stod kyi gzer bzod?; ro smad sems kyis 4. {ma} bzod pa yul; yong kyang; bco brgyad drug bcu; dpon po ’cham 5. yin cing; lo rtags spre lo’i mohr gyi; byed rgyu med; zad dpon 6. ’bangs gnyis; gcig sgril yin cing; dpon po yin kyang; mnga’ zhabs ’grim sa med cing 7. mnga’ zhabs; kyang dpon po ’grim sa med; tham ga gnang 8. nang rgyal; sku mdun; ’grim nas; (kha chi dad | grod ba nang dad)? byas pa sems 9. thig gnyis; rtse gnyis; tshe ’ba’; stong gcig; mnga’ zhabs 10. thad nas sprad rgyu; tham ga gnang ba yin cing; don bya 11. tham ga; lo rtags ’brug/sbrul lor gnang ba dge |

From the Khri thob bKra shis thog rgyal, the lord, to those between the ages of eighteen and sixty in the Twelve Communities of Lower Lo.
    When my father (or uncle) Gung gyal became the khri thob [he said], “Although I can endure the shooting pains in my upper body [occasioned by the thought of refusing this responsibility], my heart, in the lower part of my body, cannot bear it, and I shall accordingly come to the community below. Those aged between eighteen and sixty among the subjects of Lower Lo reached this agreement with the lord, and he remained [as our ruler].

    And now I shall do [likewise], but only because it is in accordance with the terms of the edict that was issued in the Monkey Year. And moreover, the lord and the people are united as one under the law. The lord, for his part, should not abandon his subjects, [the people of] Lower Lo, and the subjects for their part should not abandon their lord. The present sealed document has been issued to this effect.
    [The meaning of the next line is unclear, but seems to suggest that, three months earlier, he was considering going—defecting?—to the King of Lo.]
    If I have two lines on my heart, or behave like a needle with two points, I shall willingly pay a fine of 1000 rupees to my subjects of lower Lo. In order that there should be no transgression of this matter, the Khri thob bKra shis [thog] rgyal has issued this sealed document on the sixteenth day of the first month in a Dragon (or Snake?) year.

The fact that the date given contains only the calendrical animal, either a Snake or a Dragon (Tib. sbrul or ’brug—the word is not clear), and lacks an accompanying element, means that we can place it only within a twelve-year, rather than the full sixty-year, cycle. However, if the lord named Gung rgyal in the document is the same as the Kun rgyal who appears—still alive—in another document of 1820 from Dzar (Schuh 1994: 44), the work can be no earlier than the Iron Dragon year of 1820 or the Iron Snake year of 1821, and more probably dates from the next Dragon or Snake year twelve years later.
    There is no evidence that ducal succession in Baragaon was anything other than a matter of filial inheritance. The author of this document, however, explains his accession in terms of pious duty to the subjects whom is to serve, in accordance with the law laid down by the Gorkha rulers of Nepal. I do not know of the “edict issued in the Monkey Year” to which the document refers. The fact that the term for edict, mor, obviously signifies the Nepali word [ll]mohar, suggests that it was an affirmation by the Gorkhas of the family’s hereditary right to rule. The earliest available Gorkhali document concerning Baragaon, dating from 1790 and addressed to the lord of Dzar, begins with the following reminder:
   [We] issued, be it recalled, a [ll]mohar in the past [lit. yesterday] to the effect that you should enjoy the birtto [of] Bahrag (Baragaon), Nr and Man (Manang) along with the jgt of Kk, which you have enjoyed since olden times... (Pant and Pierce 1989: 21).
    The date of the mohar in question is not given, but it may be noted that the nearest Monkey year to 1790 was the Wood Monkey year of 1788, just two years earlier.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 62

Date: Water Sheep year, 11th month, 27th day (1823)

Lines: 19

Script: ’khyug ma tshug

Short transliteration
1. si ri brgyal zhab
2. chu lug zla ba 11 pa’i tshes 27 nas gzung / snga zhabs kyis dngul song tho la / ’jid sman shing la dngul 4 song
20. ’di rnams yan la dngul la sas song


Line 1 states simply si ri rgyal zhabs. The document is apparently a list of annual expenses incurred by Baragaon (l.2 snga zhabs kyis dngul song tho la). Most of the beneficiaries have Nepali names; thus one entry concerns 10 rupees to a colonel of Tansen (l.2 btang shing dkar snel). Sums have also been spent in Kathmandu, Thak and a certain amount has also been given to the Nobleman (ga ga) Gung rgyal. It is the name of the latter that makes it possible to identify this Water Sheep year as 1823 (see HMA/Te/Tib/61).

HMA/ TE / TIB / 63

Date (not clear): Tiger year, month (not given), 18th day

Lines: 17

Script: ’khyug

Short transliteration
1. gtso ’dzin (mchog gi) mnga’ khul glo smad yul rgan po dar po mtshos ba’i rgan mis mangs – (yig ge)
17. rang rnams phrim ’og ’dus lugs ci zang byes zhes rten lha gos bcas glo stos mngal ’bang nas stag zla ba’i tshes 18 la phul pa dge

Letter sent from Upper Lo to “the headmen and ordinary people, foremost among whom (mtshos < gtsos) is the Headman Dar po, of the land of Lower Lo, the realm (mnga’ khul) of the excellent chieftain (gtso ’dzin)”, thanking the addressees for their earlier letter, and con- cerning trade regulations between trading partners (l. 5 kha ya) Upper Lo, Lower Lo, Thag, Som and Nyeshang. Various taxes (l. 5 dza gha < Nep. jaga) are to be paid at Chongkhor, Kag etc.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 64

Date: none given

Lines: 16

Script: tshugs



1. si ri si ri ma ha ra dza’i mor
2. nor ’chang ba’i dkyil ’khor ’dzin cing [1S] bzhu spro ba | glo bo stod snga zhabs rnams la phul ba | deng sang tshang ma ’[g]o
3. kham zla nang ltar gsal ba spro | ’dir yang snga ’kho bzhin yod | ch[e]d don | byang lam kor bdu zla bdus la snga lo byang la phyin kyang khri med byas
4. nas | ba mar nas chir slogs byas min | khyed rang nas shes sal dang | lhag bar | dbyar phyag | gun phyags phul bar | ’di nas mi stang kyangs
5. bzhugs bdun bar gsal med bdu zhag nas phyir log yong byung bas | da’ cha pon bo ka’ yi cad | ma lo rtsag gi rgyan ba’i mthogs | lga
6. bdus la | byang la yong nges yin bas | tshe gon yig phyi kor ||||||| las lhag ba tshes gon yig cha yin man shes gsal dang
7. bskag mda’ ir ras kyil ba’i kor bdu | ’di kha’i (slo bo) smad pon khri thogs ba’i byang la ’bri shes mar len ba
8. byang gi | shes len ma’i kyil dug bas | de don pon bo nas kag dug ’gru dam nged bkyis byas ba med zhin | khyed stod nas khag byas ma byas
9. khyed rang khyen | ’grog ba bab dus | spung kyogs lag kyogs gong men | sngar khyun med ba’i lam bar the se gyab ba’i don | (glo bo) stod smad | spang be nya’
10 dbyam rtags bdu | bka’ bros mdzad bar | dkar tshogs la byon zin (yi ge) phul yod bkyang | bsal ma byung | lhag don | khyed la tsha yod na nged la
11. bru yod bas | gong zhes dang | ston snga phyi kor bdu ’di khar yong nas su slogs shad gyu yod ba dang khyed mi ser bsil bor thor kyon | bkag mda’
12. ni dang chos khor mda’ ni bkag rol yin man nged la guys med ’di kha nas khri med byi ri rna tshogs byung ba | mi ngo sprod byed gyu yod zhin
13. pp ’kha’ sngon (yi ge) phul ba zin da cha’ ’u rang mnga’ zhab gnyis sa tsham gang ’du pheb lugs mdzad pa’i gsal phya dang | de kab sung
14. bros zhib gsal yong ba mdzod | zhes sten lha gos cas sa ga’i tshes 27 phul | {2S} yang khyar ma thus pa zur du gsal zhu sngar khyun
15. med par sa phya gang yin du chang tshong rtsug gan de srol ji dra yin dang ma zad bal bor—sku mdun du thag chod nas khur cang mes gos (thams cad)
16. cang gyi yod pa la ’di khar ’di nas zo ba tsugs nas zo nas lan dus par | ’de rnams kyang khyed rnams 2is dgong bar ’jags bzhas zhib sal nges ’char yod ba mdzod


An open letter from a trader to the people of Upper Lo and Baragaon. The meaning of the letter is difficult to understand. The writer’s provenance, “Tshe gon”, is not clear, but may denote Tshe rog [dgon pa] in Panchgaon. The writer is complaining that, in the course of a trading trip to the north he was stopped at Samar and held there for seven days, with no response to his written inquiry, before being sent south again. Furthermore, his merchandise of cotton was confiscated at the checkpost in Kag. We, he says—referring to the business community of southern Mustang?—have grain to trade with the north and have not blocked its passage: this has been done by the lords of Baragaon. The addressees will know for themselves whether the passage of salt from the north has been interrupted. The writer has been unable to go to the north to make his winter and summer tributes to the King of Lo, or to visit the herders where his yaks are kept in order to collect his butter.
      The significance of the document’s title is not clear. Ma ha ra dza would normally be reserved for the King of Nepal (Maharaja), while mor is used in other documents to represent the Nepali term [lal]mohar, a royal edict.

HMA/ TE / TIB / 65

Date: Iron Horse year, 4th month, 16th day (1870)

Lines: 19

Script: ’khyug ma tshugs; title in dbu can


1. (title) lcag ’rta lo yi sku zha[b]s skya gan pa gnam la gn[ang ba’i] rgan gya yod ’dzin du bris ba zhu leg pa shog
2. si ri Zrgyal zhab (rin po che)
3. mi rje sku zhabs rtsa rda bhir kyi zhabs drung nas blo smad sgan pa gnam la kha 1 lce gnyis dmar po rjen log snyog ba ’ding log dran pa sar skye mi ngan
4. dzug thad dkon mchog spang ’tsug thogs nas rgan rgya gnang pa la | shar phyog (rdo rje) (mkha’ ’gro) | lho phyog (rin po che) (mkha’ ’gro) | nub phyogs padma (mkha’ ’gro) | byang phyogs las
5. kyi (mkha’ ’gro) | dbus phyog (sangs rgyas) (mkha’ ’gro) la sogs pa’i phyogs bzhi tshams ’rgyad kyi (dkon mchogs) spang ’tsug thogs nas | rting ri yul ba rtsos pa’i tshe dbang (lhun grub) rtang yed yul
6. ba rtsos pa’i skre (chos skyabs) | tshug pa yul ba rtsos pa’i nam kha | gya ga yul ba ’tsos pa’i ’du li skyabs | sa dmar yul ba ’tsos pa’i zla ba | ’tsang li yul
7. ba rtsos pa’i (chos skyabs) | rted pa yul ba ’tsos pa’i tshe dbang tshe ri | spu a yul ba ’tsos pa’i spen pa tshe ri | rdzong pa yul ba rtsos pa’i spen pa | chos
8. ’khor yul ba rtsos pa’i (bkra shis) | spu rang yul ba rtsos pa’i tshe dbang bsam grub | rdzar yul ba rtsos pa’i ka lu | khye ga yul ba rtsos pa’i dpal sang |
9. tshe ring klu rag yul ba rtsos pa’i (g.yung drung) bon skyab | dang dkar rdzong sa yul ba ’tsos pa’i ji rta bram | phan leg yul ba ’tsos pa’i tha ru | spags gling
10. yul ba rtsos pa’i (nyi ma) bsam sgrub | skag pa yul ba rtsos pa’i tshe dbang don sgrubs cas la sku zhabs kyi sku ’dung rab gnam stan bar la rgan rgya gnang pa
11. la | – – 1– pu rang lcag blo bo smad pa’i kyi ’dug zhus nas gnang sa byung na (ma tog) | gal srid phyi dgra nang dgra che bring cung gsum nas thon pa byung na | sku zhabs
12. dong du bzhug nas mnga’ zhabs skyabs du dad nas rdos lan rtang phyog gsung ba (ma tog) | nga yi mi ngan byed rgyu phar zhag nas mi nus zer ba zhal nas tshigs
13. zur tshams yang thon pa shar tshe – – 1 – an nang bzhin kyi bha dngul 100 cig nang phyo- gs gsung nas dgong gi (dkon mchogs) spang rtsug bzhin rgan gya gnang pa yin la zad
14. mnga’ zhabs nas skyang sa sgrul lo yi rgan rgya la mi nas sa lta bu’i las byas nas phyags rdam gnang pa byung na rgan pa mi dus de thog du shar shar su thad nas mi yong na | bha dngul 20 re khel dnge
15. dang gsung mol kyang yul gang yod du gleng mo byung kyang | sa sbrul lo yi rgan rgya nang bzhin la phya nas byas nas rtang ba (ma tog) {±6S} (seal superi mposed on deletion)

16. {±5S} (seal superimposed on deletion) sku zhabs (ga gas) kyang | phyi dgra nang dgra sogs dang i sar kyi dpon po sogs thon pa shar tshe | sku zhabs dang mnga’ zhabs zhal bros kyi thogs
17. nas | mnga’ zhabs sgyab du dang sku zhabs dong du bzhug pas | rdos lan rtang phyog gsung ba (ma tog) | sku zhabs nas khyed mnga’ zhabs la mi ngan 1S
18. pa dang | sgo yod mi nus gsung ba {shar} dang | gyab du sgyur ba sogs byung na | dgong gi (dkon mchog) spang tsug dang bha byang phyog gsung nas rgan rgya gnang pa yin don bya
19. de la sku dung rab nam zhug bar du mi gal gsung pa’i rgan rgya lcags rta zla 4 tshes 16 la (pho brang) skun skyabs gling nas gnang pa’i sku zhabs kyi phyags rtags (seal)

Iron Horse year. A document issued by the hereditary lord of Baragaon, Candra Bir, to the headmen of the enclave. The document opens with conventional expressions of unity and immutability—that there should not be two tongues in one mouth, the colour red should not change (to white), sediment should not be stirred up from the depths, memories should not be reawakened, etc. The witnesses invoked are the Three Jewels, the dakinis of the four cardinal directions and the centre, and the Three Jewels of the four cardinal directions and the four interstices. The members of the following communities—Tiri, Taye, Tshug, Gyaga Samar, Tsele, Te, Putra, Dzong, Chongkhor, Purang, Dzar, Khyenga, Lubrag, Dangkardzong, Phelag, Pagling and Kag—i.e., all the communities of Baragaon with the omission of Sangdag—who are led by their (named) headman, should be members of a single community, Lower Lo. If major, average or minor enemies from either outside or within should appear, the lord should stand in front with the subjects behind, and they should remonstrate [with these enemies]. If I should even mention as an aside that I am unwilling or unable to act, I shall, in conformity with the law, pay a fine of 100 rupees: I have issued this document in accordance with the wit- ness borne by the Triple Gem invoked above. Likewise, as for the subjects, if any headmen or officials, acting in such a way that they digress from the sealed document of the Earth Snake year (1869, i.e. last year) fail to come immediately following the issue of a sealed [summons], they shall pay a fine of 20 rupees each. Moreover, if there should be any argument [on the part of the lord, gsung mol] or [among the subjects, gleng mo] in any community, people should act in accordance with the sealed document that was issued in the Earth Snake year. And as for the noble lord: if any enemies from the outside or the inside, or the ‘lord of the i sar’, should arise, the lord [Candra Bir] and the subjects should hold a discussion, and on that basis, they should dispute [with these enemies] with the lord in front and the subjects behind him. If I, your lord, should reject my subjects in any way I shall pay my fine (bha byang phyog < ’ba’ sbyang chog) as specified above before the Triple Gem as my witness. I have issued a sealed document to this effect (earlier?), and now I issue this sealed document to state that I and my successors, as long as my lineage lasts, shall not diverge from this purpose. Issued in the Iron Horse year, on the sixteenth day of the 4th month, from Kun skyabs gling Palace. The lord sets his seal.

A clue to the circumstances that elicited this unusual expression is found in line 16: the “lord of the i sar” who is specified as a possible enemy of Baragaon. In 1856 the government of Nepal took away from the ruling family of Bargaon the right to collect taxes, and simultaneously deprived them of certain other privileges. The office was instead auctioned to a contractor (Nep. ijaradar) (Regmi 1978: 88). The expression “lord of the i sar” (i sar kyi dpon po) is almost certainly intended to render this Nepali term. The contractor, however, apparently engaged some other branch of the Baragaon aristocracy as his local agents, and the excesses of the latter prompted the people to protest directly to the government. The protest is recorded in a document, dated 1865, one copy of which was photographed in Dzong and another in Chongkhor. The text is apparently the Tibetan translation of a missive from Kathmandu (cited by Regmi ibid.: 88) which begins by quoting back to the addressees—the people of Baragaon—the details of the complaint which they originally lodged against the contractor and the ’new’ lords. While I hope to deal with this document at greater length in a future publication, a few examples will suffice for now to give an idea of the nature of Baragaon’s grievances. Among other things, the newcomers impose fines without prior consultation with local leaders; insist on payment of taxes in a more costly variety of barley than was customary; have prolonged from four to eight months the period during which the people must provide them with fodder and fuel; requisition animals for transport at unreasonably short notice; have extended the privilege of tax exemption to their own illegitimate children; demand the payment of fines in cash rather than a combination of cash and grain; have raised the fine for sleeping with low-caste Artisans from one rupee to eight rupees, and send their livestock into the fields before the harvesting. The ijara contract system was clearly against the interests of both the hereditary rulers of Baragaon and the subjects of the enclave, and the two factions, who were otherwise often at odds with each other, made common cause against it.