Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - In Search of the Land of Lang-ka : The Archaeology of Early Buddhism in Ladakh

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Silveroak I, Ground Floor

Since 2013 the Franco-Indian Archaeological Mission in Ladakh (Mission Archéologique Franco-Indienne au Ladakh, hence MAFIL) documented little known and mostly unknown Buddhist remains in Ladakh. These remains take the form of rock inscriptions, rock representations of stῡpas and deities as well as ruined monuments (stῡpas and temples). Paleographical and architectural analyzes, as well as C14 datings, enable us today to assign with certainty a late 8th-early 11th century period to most of the remains, a period of Ladakhi history for which we have very little sources. Locally, the introduction of Buddhism into Ladakh is traditionally associated with Rinchen Zangpo. This famous translator is one of the main characters of the Second Diffusion (byi dar) of Buddhism into Tibet that initiated in the Western Tibetan Kingdom (c.950-1050, also known as kingdoms of Guge-Purang). In Ladakh, the ruins of Nyarma temples are traditionally credited as the oldest Buddhist remains because their foundation is mentioned in Rinchen Zangpo’s biographies. However, according to the latter he founded at least one other temple in Ladakh near a town called Lang-ka. On the basis of the work conducted by the MAFIL at the sites of Tirisa (Nubra) and Leh Choskor, and taking into account other known textual mentions of the land of Lang-ka, we will propose a possible location of this so far unnoticed land. Thus, we will demonstrate the contribution of archaeology to the religious and political history of Ladakh.

Laurianne Bruneau

EPHE PSL Research University Paris 7, France

Presentation(s):

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Martin Vernier

University Paris Nanterre, France

Presentation(s):

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