Books and Articles by the anthropologist Dr. Marietta Kind Furger

Since 1990 Marietta Kind has carried out research and lived for long periods of time in Dolpo. She was especially focussing on the local culture and the Bon tradition and wrote several books and articles on that. In the course of her fieldwork the idea of Tapriza School was born and followed up together with late Geshe Yungdrung Wangyal and Semduk Lama in Phoksumdo.

The reader is taken on a journey to Dolpo, one of Nepal’s remotest
Tibetan enclaves with a large community that follow the Bon religion.
The present ethnography regards the landscape of Dolpo as
the temporary result of an ongoing cumulative cultural process that
emerges from the interaction of the natural environment and the
communities that inhabit it and endow it with meaning. Pilgrimage
provides the key to structuring the book, which is based on anthropological
research and the study of the textual legacy. Along the
extensive and richly illustrated Bon pilgrimages through Dolpo, the
various strands of the written and the oral, the local and the general,
the past and present are unrolled step by step and woven into a
pattern that provides a first insight into the partial shift from a landscape
inhabited by territorial deities to a Bon landscape. In addition,
it presents an overview of the main protagonists who discovered the
sacred sites, opened pilgrimages, founded monasteries and disseminated
the crucial Bon teachings. A number of well-known
Tibetan figures emerge among these players thanks to translations
of biographies that have survived in rare and unpublished manuscripts.
This book sheds light on how Bon religion emerged in Dolpo
and has remained alive.

The anthropologist Marietta Kind gained her PhD at the Universities of
Zurich and Oxford. She has worked as a lecturer and research fellow at
the Ethnographic Museum of Zurich University. With her Tapriza NGO she
supports a school in Dolpo and the cultural heritage of this region. Her
latest research project at Bern University is concerned with second generation
Tibetans in Switzerland and their relation to Buddhism.

Bookreview by Alex McKay in Asian Ethnology

This book takes us to an ancient enclave of Tibetan culture in Nepal - the region of Dolpo in the north-west. After outlining the key geographical, historical and religious features of the region, one exemplary case among the various ritual practices of the local Bon society is placed under closer scrutinity: The Mendrub ritual. The ceremony centres on a communal blessing bestowed by means of medicinal pills that have undergone ceremonial treatment during the ten days of the ritual. The benefits that can be gained by attending the ceremony and by consuming the consecrated medicine attract a large audience from all over Dolpo. Mask dances lead up to the climax of the initiation and blessing, which is followed by the social part of the festival with songs and village dances around the fire.

The study of Mendrub ritual reveals a fascinating interplay of religious practices, ranging from popular beliefs to monastic traditions in the Bon community of Dolpo. Furthermore, this account not only describes the ritual itself, it also gives a clear insight into the daily life of the local society.

The new second edition is available at Vajra Books. (

MARIETTA KIND further articles on Dolpo:
'Jag 'dul: A Bon Mountain Pilgrimage in Dolpo, Nepal. 2007. AMY HELLER &
GIACOMELLA OROFINO (EDS.): Discoveries in Western Tibet and the Western
Himalayas: Essays on History, Literature, Archaeology and Art.
Tibetan Studies:
Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan
Studies, Oxford, 2003: 199–214. Leiden: Brill.

Die Entführung der Berggöttin: Beseelte Landschaft, Heirat und Identität in Phoksumdo, Dolpo. 2003. Nepal Information, Nr. 91: 33–36.

The Abduction of the Divine Bride: Territory and Identity among the Bonpo Community in Phoksumdo, Dolpo. 2002. KATIA BUFFETRILLE & HILDEGARD
DIEMBERGER (EDS.): Territory and Identity in Tibet and the Himalayas, 271–
288, 346–347. Leiden: Brill.

Bonpo Monasteries and Temples of the Himalayan Region. 2003. SAMTEN G.
KARMAY & YASUHIKO NAGANO (EDS.): A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and
Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya,
669–752. Osaka: National Museum of
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