Sunday, January 16, 2005

Muli Lama-King, 1924

muli king, originally uploaded by jiulong.

The name of this lama ruler was Chote Chaba. He was both the head lama and ruler of the small Muli kingdom in its semi-autonomous days of the early 20th century.

Here he is on his throne in his Muli palace. Behind him is a mural of Hoshang, the "Laughing Buddha".

Chote Chaba ruled Muli in an autocratic and eccentric way. He forced the peasants to kowtow to him and kept them enslaved through high interest loans and confiscation of land and kidnapping family members. He had his subjects thrown into a nightmarish dungeon in stocks for minor infractions of his petty rules.

And yet Rock found him to be almost child-like in his ways of the world. Chote Chaba kept the mummified body of his uncle in his room, and he believed thunder was made by dragons in the clouds. He thought Washington DC was near Beijing, and was unaware of events such as the First World War or aeroplanes.

Chote Chaba was murdered in the 1930s by soldiers of a Chinese warlord who he had previously double crossed and ambushed while travelling through Muli territory.

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