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Gate of the Ancestors

Gate of the Ancestors
Scale 1:4 162 x 108 cm

The clay effigy of a Grandfather figure steps towards the passageway of a gate building on the north-western edge of Tangbe village. The figure (wooden penis missing) is painted each year with natural clay colours, as is the freestanding Grandmother to the south of the village. The room above the passage contains a large prayerwheel. The Smaller prayer-wheels on the side are set to spin in the correct direction (clockwise) as one leaves the settlement, gaining merit for the journey. The grandfather guards against intruders from the north.

The walls of the 6.50-metre-long passage are of river rocks in mud mortar. The room above is of rammed earth, and the holes are left from the tie-rods used to construct the rammed earth walls.

Tangbe is one of three groups of villages on the eastern bank of the Kali Gandaki where people speak Seke, a subgroup of Tibeto-Burman.
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Copyright 1998 Robert Powell

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