Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Choni (Jone, Zhuoni,卓尼) monastery, then and now.

Namse, wealth god, originally uploaded by jiulong.

The following few posts show how the monastery at Choni has changed since 1925, when Joseph Rock visited on his way to Amnyi Machen. At that time, Choni was one of the major Tibetan monasteries in Gansu, and was also the scene for a murderous war between Tibetans and "Mohammedans". Joseph Rock befriended the hereditary local prince and had an extended stay at Choni while he photographed the many "devil dances". He wrote about it in the 1928 issue of National Geographic magazine. The pictures here are taken from that article. They are crude photocopies, hence the quality is not that good.

The Black Hat leader makes his entrance. The Cham-s'homa or New Dance originated 200 years later than the ancient pantomime Cham-nygyon-wa. The performers wear beautiful costumes and ornate headgear, but no masks. The damce is celebrtated the day before and the day after the Festival of Tsongkapa. As photographed in Choni monastery, Gansu, 1925 by Joseph Rock

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