Documentation of Chödzong Temple
During the 2021 field research campaign Christian Luczanits has been invited by the Norbusum Foundation to document the collection of remote Chödzong Monastery. Built around a 15th century painted cave housing impressive images of protector deities documented earlier, the monastery has been built on a cliff in an uninhabited valley four hours horse ride from Lo Manthang, the historic capital of Mustang (Fig. 1).
Chödzong’s small collection of images and books has always been exposed to the danger of being taken and sold illicitly. It is said, that its distinctive sculpture of Milarepa, an 11th century Tibetan hermit, has been taken multiple times, but was returned again when misfortune hit the takers (Fig. 2). To the surprise of everyone, the documented objects included 12th century sculptures and book covers.
The monastery is taken care of by the Chödzong Gönpa Management Committee based in Lo Manthang in cooperation with the local Ngakpa community, a group of tantric practitioners. This year's visit was joined by many of the community to perform the yearly ritual for the protector deities of the cave (Fig. 3).