Klöster und Feste

Lamayuru (Yuru Kabgyat) - Hemis Tsechu - Shashukul Gustor - Phyang Tsedup - Karsha Gustor - Korzok Gustor - Trak Tok Tsechu - Sani Nasryal - Diskit Gustor - Thikse Gustor - Chemre Angchok - Padum Gustor - Spituk Gustor - Likir ( Dosmoche) - Stok Guru Tsechu (Orakel) - Matho Nagrang (Oracles)

Mittwoch, 29. Juli 2015

"Die Welt des Schattentheaters" im Lindenmuseum Stuttgart, 3.Oktober 2015 bis 10. April 2016

Das Linden-Museum Stuttgart präsentiert vom 3. Oktober 2015 bis zum 10. April 2016 die Ausstellung "Die Welt des Schattentheaters". Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Traditionen des Schattentheaters und die Faszination, die diese Kunst von China über Südasien und den Orient bis hin nach Europa ausübt.

Kriegerin, China, Provinz Sichuan, um 1900, Slg. Eger, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 108170

Das geheimnisvolle Zusammenspiel von Licht und Schatten hat Menschen seit jeher in seinen Bann gezogen. Als kulturelle Ausdrucksformen dieser Faszination haben sich vor allem in asiatischen Ländern wie China, Indonesien und Indien reiche Traditionen des Schattentheaters entwickelt. Die Ausstellung zeigt anhand hochkarätiger Sammlungen die engen Verbindungen der Schattentheater-Traditionen Asiens und des Orients bis hin nach Europa.

Neben den Gemeinsamkeiten in Aufführungsprinzipien, Aspekten des Erzählens oder der Typologie der Figuren, rücken regionale Besonderheiten des Schattentheaters in den Fokus: In Indien, auf Java und in Thailand ist das Schattentheater im Rahmen von Tempelfesten auch zeremonielle Handlung, erzählt große Epen wie das Ramayana und ist bis heute Teil der kulturellen Identität. In China nimmt es Elemente der chinesischen Oper wie Musik, Kostüme und Masken auf und wird zu einem Gesamterlebnis in künstlerischer Vollendung, während es im Orient vor allem als Spiegel der Gesellschaft war und das Publikum mit viel Witz und Humor im gemeinsamen Lachen vereinte.

Schattenspielfigur (Prabu Kresna), Indonesien, Java, Ende 19. Jh., Slg. Buchner, 
Copyright Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 24907-6

Die Ausstellung zeigt bislang nicht präsentierte Stücke und wieder entdeckte Schätze der Sammlung des Linden-Museums. Zu nennen sind die Altbestände an südostasiatischen Figuren, die chinesischen Figuren der Sammlung Eger und die einzigartigen ägyptischen Figuren der Sammlung Kahle - die ältesten bekannten Schattenspielfiguren der islamischen Welt. Jüngere Sammlungen wie die indischen Figuren der Sammlung Seltmann und die türkischen Figuren des bekannten Meisters Ragip Tugtekin (1891 – 1982) ergänzen diese alten Bestände ebenbürtig.

Sichtbar wird die künstlerische Meisterschaft und ästhetische Qualität der beeindruckenden Schattenspielfiguren, die Künstler wie Franz Marc inspirierte, und auch noch heute fasziniert. Die Begeisterung für das Schattentheater in Europa, die im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts einen letzten Höhepunkt erreichte und die Weiterentwicklung zum zeitgenössischen Schattentheater, dargestellt mit Leihgaben des Internationalen Schattentheater Zentrums Schwäbisch Gmünd, sind ebenfalls Themen der Ausstellung.

Schattenspielfigur (Raden Arjuna), Indonesien, Java, Ende 19. Jh., Slg. Buchner, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 24908-3

Stimmungsvolle Inszenierungen erwecken Erzähltraditionen zum Leben und verbinden sie mit Musik, Gesang, Bild und Film. Mitmach-Elemente zur „Faszination Schatten“ bieten Jung und Alt ein Ausstellungserlebnis für alle Sinne. Die Ausstellung wird von einem facettenreichen Begleit-programm umrahmt.

Die Ausstellung steht unter Schirmherrschaft der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission. Kooperations-partner der Ausstellung sind das Internationale Schattentheater Zentrum und das 10. Internationale Schattentheater Festival Schwäbisch Gmünd, das vom 9. bis 15. Oktober 2015 stattfindet.

Pausenzeichen (Gunungan), Java, Madura, Ende 19. Jh., Anfang 20. Jh., Slg. Thomann, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 100604-3

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Linden-Museum Stuttgart Hegelplatz 1, 70174 Stuttgart, Tel. 0711.2022-3 ǀ Fax 0711.2022-590 ǀ mail@lindenmuseum.de

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Katalog
192 Seiten, zahlr. Abb., € 22,90 (erhältlich ab Oktober) 
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Deutschen Bahn
 

Bruhannale, Südindien, 20. Jh., Slg. Seltmann, Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart: Foto A. Dreyer

Save the date:
Pressekonferenz mit Ausstellungsrundgang: Donnerstag, 1. Oktober, 11 Uhr
(Einladung folgt im September)
Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar



Freitag, 24. Juli 2015

The Power of Masks Exhibition March 13, 2015 – February 8, 2016

Becoming Another illuminates the common threads and distinct differences in mask traditions from Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, Japan, and the North-West Coast tribes of North America. Featuring masks used in shamanistic practices, communal rituals, and theatrical performances, this exhibition speaks to the human impulse to transform one’s identity.


 New York, NY, October 28, 2014 — Across culture and time, masks have served to imbue power, transform identity, and connect people with each other and with their sense of the divine and the spiritual. In spring 2015, the Rubin Museum of Art will delve into the significance of masks to peoples across the globe, showcasing their diverse uses and meanings, in the exhibition Becoming Another: The Power of Masks. On view March 13, 2015 – February 8, 2016, the exhibition will highlight stunning masks and costumes from across the globe, including Siberia, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Japan, and the Northwest Coast of America, examining the striking similarities and distinct differences in practices across these distinct cultures.

Featuring nearly 100 masks ranging from the 15th – 20th centuries, the exhibition is organized around three predominant cultural practices: shamanism, communal ritual, and theatrical performance. The shaman medium uses a mask to communicate with or take on the identity of a supernatural entity. In communal ritual, masks are used as part of a broader social function to achieve a benefit for the group. Masks are also an important aspect of storytelling, whether an oral tradition or a theatrical performance. For many cultures, these uses are fluid and intermingled and the exhibition will explore the juxtapositions created by these diverse functions as well as the implications on both individual and communal identity.

“The Rubin Museum of Art holds a rich collection of visually-arresting masks and costumes from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, many of which are rarely exhibited. We are very much looking forward to sharing this lesser-known aspect of our collection with our diverse audiences,” said Patrick Sears, the Rubin Museum’s Executive Director. “The broad scope of the exhibition, drawn both from our collection and other important collections around the world, highlights the
universality and timelessness of masks and we look forward to seeing them engage
our visitors’ imaginations.”

Curated by Jan Van Alphen, the Rubin Museum’s Director of Exhibitions, Collections,
and Research, the exhibition guides visitors through a geographic and functionfocused
narrative. Several small groupings of masks explore cross-cultural
similarities and differences in both form and type. The exhibition also features three
exquisite full costumes paired with masks, including a shaman’s costume, an oracle
costume, and a Cham dance costume.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

 A bear/land otter mask of Tlingit origin from the 19th century. The mask is
exemplary of those used by shamans of the Northwest Coast of America in
connecting with animal spirits. During a performance, a shaman would seek
the help of or take the identity of the spirit—sometimes changing identities
several times throughout by changing masks.

 Shaman’s costume and attire from Mongolia from the early 20th century.
This costume set features helping spirits rendered in metal and fabric and
includes feathered headgear, drum, and boots. It is representative of basic
shaman attire across Mongolia and Siberia.

 Transformation mask by the artist Tsungani from the Northwest Coast,
1979. Transformation masks are the most typical and impressive masks of
the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast. These masks consist of several
layers of collapsible masks that can be unfolded throughout a performance to
represent different personalities.

 Mask of wrathful Gonpo protector from Tibet, date unknown. During
communal rituals, including those performed in Tibetan Buddhist
monasteries, wrathful deities such as the Gonpo are staged in whirling dance
performances as protectors of the community.

 Padmasambhava as Nyima Ozer from Bhutan, 18th–19th century.
Famous historical figures in Himalayan Buddhism appear in different forms in
storytelling and theatric performances. Nyima Ozer is one of eight
manifestations of Padmasambhava, the Indian teacher who brought
Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century.

 Mask possibly of Usofuki, a character in Japanese Kyogen plays, 18th–
19th century. In Japan several theatrical forms of drama developed from
medieval rituals and storytelling. Among them is Kyogen—traditional comic
theater. Mask sculpting for these performances requires high craftsmanship
in wood with minute details distinguishing the differences in facial expression
and meanings.

Exhibition Organization and Credits

Becoming Another: The Power of Masks is curated by Jan Van Alphen, the Rubin Museum of Art’s Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Research.

The exhibition is made possible by loans from the following institutions and lenders:
The Brooklyn Museum, The Newark Museum, American Museum of Natural History, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology – Harvard University, Museum aan de Stroom-Antwerp MAS, the Bruce Miller Collection, and several private American and European collections.

About the Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art is an arts oasis and cultural hub in New York City’s vibrant Chelsea neighborhood that inspires visitors to make powerful connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions. With a diverse array of thought-provoking exhibitions and programs—including films, concerts, and on-stage conversations—the Rubin provides immersive experiences that encourage personal discoveries and spark new ways of seeing the world. Emphasizing cross-cultural connections, the Rubin is a space to contemplate the big questions that extend across history and span human cultures.

For further information and images, please contact:

Robin Carol
Public Relations and Marketing Manager
Rubin Museum of Art
212-620-5000 x213
rcarol@rubinmuseum.org

Image credit: Mask of Begtse; Mongolia; early 20th century; papier-mâché, coral, metal, fabric; Rubin Museum of Art; C2006.41.1; (HAR 65692).

Source: http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/becoming-another

Mittwoch, 8. Juli 2015

Schedule for Kalachakra initiation 2016

The Kalachakra initiation 2016 is scheduled to be held in Bodh Gaya in India from the 14th to 25th of January 2016. The programme would be presided by his Holiness the Dalai Lama himself and will witness enthusiastic participants from all around the world.

The initiation is held in order to empower the pupils of Buddhism to practice the famous Buddhist treatise known as the Kalachakra Tantra and in that process attain the status of Buddhahood. Held over a period of 12 days, the initiation ceremony is expect to draw crowds in the thousands.

Days 1, 2 and 3 (Jan 14 – Jan 16) involve initial preparations for the Kalachakra ritual. During each of these days, monks would perform prayers which are expected to run for even 3 to 5 hours. Apart from prayers teaching sessions for the disciples and an Earth ritual dance would also be held.

Days 4, 5 and 6 (Jan 17 – Jan 19), preliminary teaching sessions would be held in the mornings followed by prayer sessions in the afternoons.
 
Day 7 (Jan 20), monks clad in beautiful traditional Buddhist attire will perform the Kalachakra ritual offering dance. During the dance, they chant mantras and a few Tibetan songs as well.

Day 8 (Jan 21), a four-hour long self-generation session is held in the morning after which the pupils undergo the preliminary preparation steps necessary for the initiation.

Days 9, 10 and 11 (Jan 22 – Jan 24), are the most important days of the entire ceremony – the actual Kalachakra initiation. Intense self-generation prayers that run for more than four hours are held on every morning and the initiation process is held every afternoon. Monastic prayer, dance and sacred rituals combine together to form a mellifluous interlude in the build-up to one of the biggest ceremonies of Buddhist religion.

Day 12 (Jan 25), a prayer ceremony would be held wishing long life for his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the participants. His Holiness will then be presented with prayers, offerings and dances by the devotees.

Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar


Long-life empowerment ceremony in Kalachakra initiation 2016

Kalachakra initiation is a very important ceremony in Buddhist tradition. It is an intense process of prayers, rituals and rites through which pupils are empowered to attain Buddhahood. The initiation is given by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the entire ceremony lasts for 12 days.

Usually the final day of the Kalachakra initiation is dedicated to a long-life empowerment ceremony. Prayers are given so that his Holiness and all the participants may all have a very long, happy and fulfilling life.

According to Buddhist traditions, it is believed that if a spiritual leader dies it is because inhabitants of another realm want him to come and share his wisdom and knowledge with them. In order to postpone this moment and lengthen his stay on this world, special prayers and offerings are made on the final day.

The image of Goddess Tara
Goddess Tara

The three deities associated with long life are Amitayus, White Tara and Ushnishavijaya. Among these deities,  Tara is associated with purity and the special quality of removing obstacles in people’s lives and thereby enhancing the quality and longevity of their life. It is on this deity that the Kalachakra empowerment rituals are usually performed.

Once the empowerment ceremony is completed, long-life offerings are made to the Dalai Lama. The offering involves chanting of a lineage prayer and a show of respect by the Monks and the Oracles. It is quite common to see a few devotees get possessed during this event and such devotees to get an opportunity to pay their respects to his Holiness. Members of various communities too take this opportunity to give offerings to his Holiness.

The ceremony witnesses participants from all around the world. The last Kalachakra initiation was held in Ladakh in northern India and was attended by over 150000 people. The next Kalachakra initiation is scheduled to be held from 14 to 25 January, 2016 in Bodh Gaya , India. You too can participate in the Kalachakra initiation and the long-life empowerment ceremony.

Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar



Donnerstag, 18. Juni 2015

Invitation for the Fourth International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, 23-30, August, 2015

Greetings from the Himalayas!

The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) was founded in the year 1986. Since then it is devoted to the service of humanity based on universal compassion and love as expounded by Lord Buddha.
                       
The International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh (IFBHL) has been one of our major activities since its inception in 2012. The primary objective of the Festival is to create awareness, showcase and preserve the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Himalayas. Eminent scholars, politicians, social and religious heads from different countries lend distinction to the event by their august presence and enthusiastic participation every year. The Festival brings together seekers of truth and lovers of peace from all over the world.
The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre will be hosting the 4th International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh from 22nd to 30th August, 2015. The festival focuses on showcasing, conserving and preserving the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh.

This year, the main theme of the festival will be ‘responsible and sustainable tourism’. Over the last few decades, tourism has become an important component of the Ladakhi economy. It has also been an important driver of social and cultural change. The 4th edition of the festival will facilitate discussions to explore how tourism can be harmonized with Ladakhi heritage preservation.

As with the previous editions of the International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, the 4th edition will include International cultural performances, the International Buddhist Film Festival, Seminars, Meditation Sessions and Cultural Tours to different regions of Ladakh, witnessing the Holy mask-dance by the monks of the Hemis Monastery, special session on Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh by UNESCO experts etc. The 4th edition of the festival will include special Yoga Sessions by the world renowned Yoga master – Swami Baba Ramdev of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar to encourage physical and mental well-being.

The events of the festival will be held in different parts of Leh town and areas around it including the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre campus, Hemis Monastery and Pethub (Spituk) Monastery.

Several dignitaries have already confirmed their participation in the festival. This includes several Rinpoches and leaders of other religions, Yoga masters, scholars, diplomats and government officials. In addition, a cultural troupe from Thailand has also confirmed their participation in the festival.

The festival is open to everyone interested in learning and contributing to the preservation of Ladakh’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

As a well-wisher and supporter of MIMC, you are warmly invited to participate and enjoy the fabulous programs of the unique festival.
For more information and registration details, please contact us via email at ifbhl.mimc@gmail.com
or via telephone +91-1982-264372

Yours sincerely in the service of humanity,
 
Bhikkhu Sanghasena.
Chairman, IFBHL 2015
Founder President, MIMC, Leh


Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar


Mittwoch, 3. Juni 2015

“Wasted Lives: A Critical Analysis of China’s Campaign to End Tibetan Pastoralist Lifeways,” launched globally on 30 May 2015 in Delhi.

LAUNCH OF PRO-PASTORALIST REPORT ON TIBETAN NOMADS UNDER CHINA’S POLICY OF CLOSING PASTURELANDS UPRIVER FROM INDIA

New voices out of Tibet and China, converging on a new understanding of why nomadic pastoralism is what suits the Tibetan Plateau best, feature in a new report, “Wasted Lives: A Critical Analysis of China’s Campaign to End Tibetan Pastoralist Lifeways,” launched globally on 30 May 2015 in Delhi. 
Stories about Tibet usually feature predictable language. Seldom are Tibetan voices heard. This report is fresh, and full of new ideas, new facts, new voices and an original synthesis of a wide range of sources. Far from being only a story of loss, Chinese and Tibetan scientists now agree on a new paradigm, restoring pastoral mobility as the key to success, conservation and productivity across a vast rangeland in the sky, the Tibetan Plateau.
In this report, Tibetan nomadic pastoralists speak up, about China’s policy of removing them to concrete block settlements on urban fringes, where thousands of years of accumulated knowledge of rangeland and livestock breeding becomes useless, redundant and wasted.
The pastoralists of the Tibetan Plateau, though we so seldom hear their voices, have much to say in defence of their skills, lands and livelihoods, having learned to make habitable a huge plateau now being depopulated.
This co-publication, by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Development (TCHRD), and the League for Pastoral Peoples (LPP) is a call for China to reconsider the current policy of “close pasture to grow more grass” (tuimu huancao in Chinese) which is removing productive pastoralists from the production landscapes of Tibet.
The Tibetan Plateau, 79% the size of the whole of India, is the source of the great rivers of Asia. Those rivers flow from their glacial sources across the pastures and alpine meadows, their purity and environmental services sustained by millions of pastoralists. Now the pastoralists are blamed for degradation which is actually due to mistaken policies of constricting herds and herders to small plots, that are compulsorily fenced, and policies of encouraging mobile pastoralists to settle permanently. Tibet is now losing its food security, and its pastoralists are now welfare dependants leading meaningless lives, with no entry into modern income sources.
This report presents detailed evidence that China fails to understand its grasslands, and has made successive policy mistakes over decades, culminating in the current crisis.
Neighbouring countries, including India, are at risk. Where there are no longer local populations to defend their land, miners move in, legal and illegal, to strip Tibet of its many minerals, usually unaccountably and with no concern for environmental impacts. When mineral wastes get into the rivers, they flow towards India and Bangladesh down the Brahmaputra and its many Tibetan tributaries. These rivers naturally carry a tolerable baseload of metals, any increase is dangerous.
Tibet and India are not only immediate neighbours; both are milk cultures, civilisations based on a shared intimacy and respect for the cow (in Tibetan dri, the female yak) and dairy civilisations share a respect for nature not always found elsewhere.
This is a pro-pastoralist book. India is used to debating whether public policy succeeds in being pro-farmer. Beyond the farmland is the dryland, upland pastoral land, which is surprisingly productive, and sustainable, in the right, skilled hands. The pastoralists of the Tibetan Plateau, and India, have bred animals specifically suited to local conditions, creating a bank of genetic resources, local specialty products and a global trade in luxury fine wools. Yet China persists in treating its pastoralists as ignorant, backward and primitive, to be blamed for rangeland degradation that originates in top-down policies created in distant cities. China needs policies that are pro-pastoralist, instead of blaming the victims of policies that have driven herders into poverty and now widespread exclusion and displacement from their ancestral lands and livelihoods.
This report was compiled by Gabriel Lafitte, who drew together all available information, and testimony of Tibetan pastoralists, in a thoroughly referenced, comprehensive account of how this tragedy originated, and what alternatives are available. Gabriel Lafitte is editor of a blog on the nomads of Tibet, www.rukor.org  and author of Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource nationalism on the Roof of the World (Zed Books, 2013).
Keynote speaker at the launch is Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, of the League for Pastoral Peoples, who is deeply familiar with the pastoralists of India and elsewhere, and their indigenous knowledge as keepers of genetic diversity the world may well need in a time of accelerating climate change.
Mr Tempa Tsering, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi will chair the discussion during the launch.
This report was commissioned by TCHRD, the only human rights monitoring agency set up and run by Tibetans, and TCHRD Executive Director Tsering Tsomo will be available to media at the launch.
  --
Tsering Tsomo (Ms)
Executive Director
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Top Floor, Narthang Building
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala - 176215
Himachal Pradesh, India

Cell: (91) 981-687-5856
Tel: (91)1892 - 223363, 229225
Fax: (91)1892 - 225874
Twitter: @arogaga
Skype: tsetsomohor
Website: www.tchrd.org

Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar


GLOBAL LAUNCH OF NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE DISAPPEARING NOMADS OF THE TIBETAN PLATEAU

Is there anything new that can be said about the disappearing nomads of Tibet? For years they have been removed from the plateau pastures that purify the great rivers of Asia, to be rehoused in concrete barracks, without their animals or livelihood. This is usually reported as coercion by a state determined to end nomadism. That has become a standard narrative. The alternative narrative, generated by China’s official media, is that the nomads are all voluntary ‘ecological migrants’ giving up their lands for the greater good of the planet, to allow degrading lands to become a wilderness of pristine grassland, to better protect those rivers watering almost all of Asia.

Correspondents, seldom allowed access to report from Tibetan pasture lands the size of Western Europe, can only choose which of these two narratives to run with. The result, for over a decade, has been a debate going round in circles: coercion or voluntary?

Wasted Lives: China’s campaign to end Tibetan nomadic lifeways cuts through these stereotypes and extremes, with a wealth of new evidence. This in-depth report, by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy and League for Pastoral Peoples takes the reader onto the pasture, to hear Tibetan voices. That is what has been strikingly missing till date.

Once we start to listen to what Tibetans can tell us, a new picture emerges, more complex and disturbing. The nomads tell of being pushed and pulled by a long history of official Chinese policies that aimed to intensify meat production while also conserving land and water. The unintended result of all the laws, regulations and instructions was to confine nomads to allocated parcels of land. Their customary mobility was restricted to areas compulsorily fenced, leaving nomads little flexibility, in an extreme climate, to maintain production on land that was thus pushed too hard, because choice was gone.

Not only did China’s sedentarisation policy perversely cause degradation, despite having quite different intentions, it also drove many nomads into poverty.

Land deteriorated, yak size shrank, land tenure was given and then taken away, with no social security to support nomads when natural disasters –blizzards and gales- strike.

Poor people have few choices. When the cadres come to the village, and announce that a fixed percentage of the population must move to barracks on the edge of a distant town, it is the poor, the chronically ill and those hoping a distant school gives their children a chance, who are the first to move. Whether this is voluntary or coercive is not the point: China uses push and pull, incentives and disincentives, to implement its policy of grazing bans and closing the best pasture lands in Tibet, which are on the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers.

BEYOND THE SAME OLD

What emerges in this retelling is not only the grief of skilled pastoralists who now lead wasted lives, redundant to the requirements of China’s commoditised meat machine, but also their hopeful embrace of a new paradigm sweeping the pastoral lands of the world.
A scientific revolution has quietly gathered momentum. Wherever there are pastoralists, there is now a fresh understanding that, far from being to blame for desertification, there are skilful stewards of drylands whose willingness to maintain mobility enables them to live productively and in environmentally sustainable ways from uncertain, unpredictable climates. In China, the biggest grassland country in the world, there are now Chinese scientists speaking up at every opportunity for the new paradigm, explaining how the old paradigm, of sedentarising nomads, has caused only perverse, unintended outcomes, chiefly the land degradation that is blamed on ignorant, uncaring, selfish nomads.

So a new story emerges, and a convergence between Chinese science challenging orthodoxy, and the voices of the nomads, not only protesting at wasting their lives as urban fringe dwellers with no entry into the modern economy, but looking ahead to the new pro-pastoralist paradigm renewing their stewardship. The scientists and the nomads agree that Tibetan nomads successfully conserved for huge wildlife herds of antelope and gazelles, for the hardy grasses of the alpine meadows for the past 9000 years, while also being highly productive. It is possible to be both sustainable and productive, it is not necessary to choose one to the exclusion of the other, as is happening now when pasturelands are declared nature reserves and national parks, excluding on paper all human use, in practice allowing illegal miners into the emptied, depopulated landscapes.

Not only does this report cut through the voluntary vs coercive debate, it introduces us to the voices of a new generation of Tibetan researchers, on the pasture, able to analyse past policy failures and look ahead to the latest initiative, by charismatic lamas deeply trusted by the nomads, urging nomads to refrain from selling animals into the slaughterhouse meat commodity chain. This return to public life of the lamas, despite restrictions, gives direction to nomads, who vow, in public ceremonies, to forego the quick gains of commercial slaughter for the traditional nomadic virtues of keeping as many beloved animals on the hoof as possible.

There is much that is new in this report; plenty to chew on for those who would like to see the vast rangelands of the Tibetan Plateau for themselves but cannot get access. Here is a way beyond the stereotypes of noble ecological migrant vs passive victim of coercion. There is much to tell the world.

At the launch TCHRD Executive Director Tsering Tsomo and the report’s author Gabriel Lafitte along with Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson of League for Pastoral Peoples will be available for media Q&A.

Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Projects Coordinator of League for Pastoral Peoples, is a native of Germany but has been partly based in Rajasthan (India) since she met the Raika camel pastoralists during a research fellowship on camel socioeconomics and management systems in 1990/1991. Her academic background is in veterinary medicine and anthropology and her research has been supported by the German Research Foundation, National Geographic Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. She has more than 100 scientific publications in journals spanning various disciplines and published a number of monographs. She is also the author of the blog about pastotalists, called Animal Cultures.

Mr Gabriel Lafitte, Australian researcher and environmentalist, is editor of a blog on the nomads of Tibet, www.rukor.org  and author of Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource nationalism on the Roof of the World (Zed Books, 2013).

Date: 30 May 2015
Venue: Restro Bar, Foreign Correspondents Club, New Delhi
Time: 11 am – 1 pm
 
--
Tsering Tsomo (Ms)
Executive Director
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Top Floor, Narthang Building
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala - 176215
Himachal Pradesh, India

Cell: (91) 981-687-5856
Tel: (91)1892 - 223363, 229225
Fax: (91)1892 - 225874
Twitter: @arogaga
Skype: tsetsomohor
Website: www.tchrd.org

Julley

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar