The Fabled Kingdom of Zhang Zhung. Part II
Light of Kailash Lecture 9: The Fabled Kingdom of Zhang Zhung in Tibet: Part II
Zhang Zhung was the most altitudinous civilization ever to have existed on Earth, and one of Eurasia’s greatest polities and cultural treasures in the Iron Age. The talk is based on three decades of intensive exploration and research by the author conducted on the highest and driest reaches of the Tibetan Plateau. The earliest Tibetan historical records (8th to 10th century CE) refer to a kingdom called Zhang Zhung in uppermost Tibet, which was defeated in the 640s CE by the king of central Tibet, Songtsen Gampo. Nowadays, in stark contrast, this vast upland territory is home to small groups of herders and farmers eking out a livelihood in one of the most austere environments on Earth. In the first part of the lecture, the author introduced the archaic fortresses, palaces and necropolises of Zhang Zhung. This second part completes the presentation by lavishly illustrating the highly impressive art, artefacts and traditions of Zhang Zhung, furnishing an intimate view of its people and workings. Don’t miss this talk illustrated with unique objects and art, some shown for the very first time to the world.
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About the Speaker
John Vincent Bellezza is an archaeologist and cultural historian specialized in the pre-Buddhist heritage of Tibet and the Western Himalaya. He obtained his PhD in anthropology from the University of Kent. Dr. Bellezza has lived in high Asia for three decades. Since 1992, he has comprehensively charted the monuments and rock art of the ancient Zhang Zhung and Sumpa proto-states, revealing the surprising level of cultural sophistication attained on the uppermost reaches of the Tibetan plateau more than 2000 years ago. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Bellezza has published fourteen books with major academic presses.