4.30 Tuesday 3 June in the Mond Building Seminar Room
University of Arizona
Text and texture: Buddhist Scriptures and Tibetan Papermaking Traditions in Light of New Discoveries
Tibetans established their own papermaking tradition and created a unique type of paper by using an individual ‘floating’ mould, which is placed on a water surface such as lake, pond, river, or puddle. The specificity of Tibetan papermaking lies in the properties of native plants, the living conditions of peoples dwelling on the world’s highest plateau, and aspects of Tibetan culture that together create a distinctive craft. The high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau and the extremes of its climate make the vegetation distinctive from all other areas of Asia.
This seminar will discuss the distinctive features of Tibetan papermaking technology and properties of Tibetan paper. The talk will be illustrated with examples from still extant papermaking workshops in Central Tibet and the results of the fibre analyses of recently collected papermaking plants and selected Tibetan books from the region. Among others under discussion will be paper identified in Puri Collection manuscripts (now preserved in Tibet University Library) dated as early as ninth century and paper in the earliest surviving xylograph book from Central Tibet dated to 1407 printed under the auspices of the scholar Bo dong phyogs las rnam rgyal (1376–1451).
Mond Building Seminar Room
Tuesday 27 May 2014
University of Cambridge
Mix and Match: Integration of Religious Practices Among Inner Mongols in Contemporary China
Religious practices of present day Inner Mongols have a trend of integration of Buddhist, shamanic and popular religious elements as well as Mongolian and Chinese religious elements. Due to the lack of powerful religious institution like Buddhism in the past, people are free to mix and match any religious elements depending on their individual needs. Due to this, some interesting features are forming in each traditional religious form which is supposed to be unacceptable according to traditional norms.
This paper aims to investigate the formation of this phenomenon in its socio-political, economic and cultural context where Inner Mongols situate and the underlying cultural logic of this mix and match.
A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF
Thursday 15 May 2014, 12.00–1.00
Jargal Dambadarjaa – Economist and Columnist
Current Political and Economic Challenges in Mongolia
Mond Building Seminar Room
Tuesday 13 May 2014
Benedikte Møller Kristensen
University of Copenhagen
Lawless Lives in the Taiga of Black Powers: Shamanism, Law and Fear among the Duha Tuvinian Reindeer Nomads of Northern Mongolia
During the last two decades the hunting laws of Mongolia have increasingly become tightened creating a general fear among the Duha of the potential legal consequences of engaging in hunting, which today plays a crucial role in their very subsistence and livelihood. Yet, though rangers and border guards frequently seize Duha poachers and illegal border crossers, they are seldom arrested and in the cases where they are, and are brought to court, they are rarely sentenced. In the paper I discuss how the common Mongolian image of the Duha as dangerous shamans and the Duha convicts imitation of this image – alongside other factors such as friendship and bribery – give rise to a general fear of the Duha, which limits officials’ actual enforcement of the Mongolian law among the Duha. Finally it discusses how the general fear of the Duha both enable the Duha to circumvent national laws and trap them in a position as lawless and criminals within the Mongolian state.
(The paper is a draft to one of my chapters of my PHD thesis on how the Duha engage their shamanic tradition to sense, control and challenge their own history, being and lives in local and national landscapes.)