Wollein (2017), The Mūl Dīpaṅkara shrine

Andrea Wollein. 2017. ‘An ethnographic study of the Mūl Dīpaṅkara shrine in Bhaktapur (Nepal): the relationship between people and place’. University of Vienna: M.A. thesis (Masterstudium Kultur u. Gesellschaft des neuzeitlichen Südasiens). 189 pp., 87 figures. [official notice] [author: facebook]

Mul Dipankara
Wollein (2017:165) fig.74: The tilted face of the Mūl Dīpaṅkara. Photo by the author (August 2016).

Abstract: This thesis presents locality specific research in the form of an ethnography that draws both from fieldwork and published scholarly literature. The inter-disciplinary research is contextualized within the wider field of South Asian Studies and pertains to Himalayan, Buddhist and Newar Studies as well as to Tibetology. It is specifically concerned with the socioreligious dimension of Newar Buddhist monasteries (Skrt. vihāra, New. bāhā and bahī), the Buddhist deity Dīpaṅkara and the configuration of the relationship between the two of them as found in the setting of the Mūl Dīpaṅkara shrine in Bhaktapur. Continue reading “Wollein (2017), The Mūl Dīpaṅkara shrine”

Fürer-Haimendorf Collection, SOAS

Saptavidhānottarapūjā performed by Badrīratna Vajrācārya, 1957 CE
A slew of photographs taken by the late anthropologist Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf (1909–1995) have been placed in an online digital archive hosted by SOAS. Hundreds of these photographs are purposive records of Newar life, taken just after the opening of Nepal to foreign visitors in the late 1950s. Shown here is a worship of Āryatārā performed in Kathmandu by Badrīratna Vajrācārya who, although a well-known figure in Kathmandu, is not identified by name in the archive.

Dozens of other Himalayan and South Asian ethnic groups are represented in the collection, which is a real mine of information for researchers in the field, well worth the cost of digitization. The copyrights — yes, they still matter — are reserved by SOAS and Nicholas Haimendorf.

Link: Fürer-Haimendorf collection, SOAS (at digital.info.soas.ac.uk/).

Benke, ‘The Śūdrācāraśiromaṇi of Kṛṣṇa Śeṣa’ (2010)

Theodore Benke. The Śūdrācāraśiromaṇi of Kṛṣṇa Śeṣa: A 16th Century Manual of Dharma for Śūdras. PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2010. [abstract & official site / PDF]

From the abstract

“From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century C.E., a śāstra of a new type on the topic of Śūdras was composed and circulated among Dharmaśāstrins. […] Śūdradharma texts were one response of the Brahmin intellectual elite to the challenges to traditional dharma and dominance arising from the changing socio-economic conditions of Sultanate and Mughal India. They represent a shift in Dharmashastric discourse from the ritual exclusion of Śūdras as the sign of their social subjection to fuller integration into the Brahmanical fold. […] These śūdradharma texts were primarily concerned with the ritual life of Śūdras—the rites, sacraments, and forms of religious knowledge to which they were entitled in śruti and smṛti. But they also included expositions on the generation of Śūdra jātis according to the theory of varṇasaṅkara and descriptions of the ways of life and occupations of Śūdras. This is a study and translation of one of these texts, the Śūdrācāraśiromaṇi of Kṛṣṇa Śeṣa, among the most brilliant and eminent paṇḍits of late medieval Sanskrit, celebrated as both grammarian and poet.”