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7 The Iconography and the Historical Context of the Drinking Scene in the Dukhang at Alchi, Ladakh

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Chapter Summary

The Dukhang or Assembly Hall at the monastic complex of Alchi is dated to c. 050 CE by inscriptional evidence and is thus the earliest temple on the site. The inscriptions are, largely religious in content and contain very little historical information regarding the founding of the Dukhang. David Snellgrove and Tadeusz Skorupski did the pioneering work on the Alchi temples, including the Dukhang and The Royal Drinking Scene and their results were published in The Cultural Heritage of Ladakh (1977), Volume 1. The drinking scene is subjected to comparative iconographical analysis, together with available historical information to suggest an ethnic origin for the mural's participants in historical context. The Royal Drinking Scene is a foundation scene, painted at the time when the temple was built. The mural depicts a woman offering a drinking vessel to the centrally seated man.

Keywords: Alchi; David Snellgrove; Dukhang; Royal Drinking Scene; Tadeusz Skorupski



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