Religion and Beliefs
Since generations the Gelug family from the village of Suopo in the Danba Valley in Sichuan, China, owns a fortress tower and its adjacent buildings. Fortress towers, are thirty to fifty meters tall stone towers, hundreds of years old, their original use(s) unknown.
One of the rooms in a building adjacent to the Gelug's fortress tower, is a prayer room. The family's religion is Bon, and so is the prayer room.
Its current owner, Gelug Wang Du, states that his family's prayer room is the only one in the valley and wide surroundings that survived the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Gelug Wang Du's father, Gelug Jaiku, (now deceased) glued newspapers over all the walls early in the Cultural Revolution, covering the paintings, so as to make the place unrecognizable as a prayer room. He must have seen the writing on the wall of the Red Guards razing religious artefacts to the ground.
On the back wall there are nineteen water-colour painted panels with Bon (and Buddhist) images, three at eye level and sixteen at the bottom in two rows of eight.
The panels depict auspicious symbols. The ceiling is painted with black undulating, swirling, wavey lines suggesting clouds.
In itself he panels are not high art. The chapel's importance lies in the fact that it still exists and is undoubtedly representantative of a life style that died out recently.
In my presentation I will identify and describe the panels and relate them to common Bon and Buddhist iconography.