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9 The mGon khang of dPe thub (Spituk): A Rare Example of 15th Century Tibetan Painting from Ladakh

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Chapter Summary

According to the Chronicles of Ladakh, dPe thub monastery was founded by 'Od lde, the ruler of Gu ge. All that remains of this first monastery are the two caves known as Brag khung kha ba chen, 'Snowy Caves', which lie near the monastery in the village on the far bank of the Indus, and the outer shell of the mGon khang. The fortunes of the monastery of dPe thub were later restored under the ruler Grags 'bum lde, a builder of temples who was renowned for having contributed greatly to the spiritual renaissance of Ladakh after a period of complex political and religious fluctuations. His reign lasted roughly from 1450 to 1490, and he therefore ordered dPe thub to be rebuilt in the late 15th century. The paintings in the mGon khang in dPe thub have been executed by artists from Western Tibet.

Keywords: Brag khung kha ba chen; dPe thub; Ladakh; mGon khang; Western Tibet



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