The Cult of Boudhanath Stupa/Jarung Khashar Suvraga in Mongolia: Texts, Images, and Architectural Replicas
- Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 8, Number 2, November 2019
- pp. 368-425
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
The cult of the Nepalese stupa of Boudhanath (Tib. Jarung khashor/Bya rung kha shor, Mo. Jarung khashar) was very popular in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Mongolia, especially in Buryatia. Testaments to its popularity include the translation into Mongolian of a famous Tibetan guidebook to Boudhanath, a corpus of Mongolian oral narratives, the many thangkas and amulets depicting Boudhanath stupa along with a Tibetan prayer, and the existence of architectural replicas in Mongolia, probably to create surrogate pilgrimages to Boudhanath. How was Nepalese architecture transmitted to Mongolia? This article focuses on these architectural replicas in an attempt to understand whether the differences between the "original" structure and the Mongol replicas are due to local techniques and materials, the impossibility of studying the original, or distortions induced by the mode of transmission. Has the original building been reinterpreted to the point of transforming its meaning, and were the architectural replicas accompanied by the cult practices associated with it?