| articles

Back to main article

Preface and Table of Contents

Below are found the Preface and table of contents of the symposium volume containing “Christians in the Malla Court”: Siegfried Lienhard, editor, 1996. Change and Continuity - Studies in Nepalese Culture of Kathmandu Valley, Edizioni Dell'Orso (Torino: CESMEO)


This publication contains the papers read during the International Conference-Seminar of Nepalese Studies, which was held in Stockholm from June 9th to 12th, 1987. It was attended by thirty-five scholars from various countries (Australia, Finland, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Sweden and the USA) and presented and discussed thirty-one papers. Their central theme, "Change and Continuity in the Nepalese Culture of the Kathmandu Valley", is reflected in the title o f this volume. The conference, convened by the editor o f these proceedings, was sponsored by the Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies (Copenhagen) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Stockholm), though additional grants were received also from the Swedish Institute in Stockholm and the Swedish Ministry of Education. We record our gratitude to all these institutions.

The participants of the Conference-Seminar were Prof. Michael Allen (Sydney), Ian Alsop (Kathmandu), Fil.kand. Leif Asplund (Stockholm), Prof. Heinz Bechert (Göttingen), Dr. Raimund O.A. Becker-Ritterspach (Lübeck), Prof. Ernest Bender (Philadelphia), Dr. Horst Brinkhaus (Hamburg), Prof. Ter Ellingson (Seattle), Dr. David Gellner (Oxford), Dr. Ingemar Grandin (Linköping), Dr. John N. Gray (Adelaide), Dr. Niels Gutschow (Abtsteinach), Dr. Reinhard Herdick (Munich), Prof. Linda Iltis (Seattle), Prof. Hiroshi Ishii (Tokyo), Prof. Folke Josephson (Gothenburg), Dr. Vivienne Kondos (Sydney), Dr. Todd T. Lewis (New York), Prof. Siegfried Lienhard (Stockholm), Dr. John K. Locke, S.J. (Kathmandu), Prof. Kamal Prakash Malla (Kathmandu), Fil-kand. Roberto Menkes (Stockholm-Rio de Janeiro), Prof. Axel Michaels (Kiel, now Berne), Dr. Pirkko Moisala (Helsinki), Dr. Ulrike Miiller-Boker (Giessen), Prof. Luciano Petech (Rome), Dr. Declan Quigley (Canzbridge), Prof. Theodore Riccardi Jr. (New York), Dr. Mary Shepherd Slusser (Washington, D.C.), Dr. William L. Smith (Stockholm), Dr. Carl Suneson (Stockholm), Dr. Gerard Toffin (Paris), Dr. Gautam Vajracharya (Madison), Dr. Anne Vergati (Paris) and Dr. Gert-Matthias Wegner (Lübeck). Though Dr. Jens-Uwe Hartmann (Göttingen), who was also invited, could not participate in the conference, his paper also is included in this volume.

In order to facilitate the use of the various articles, the whole corpus of contributions has been grouped in eight sections into which they naturally fall with regard to their subject. In several cases it was difficult to decide the most appropriate section, as some articles could be assigned to one section as well as to another as, for example, Anthropology (II) and Religion (V) or, to a lesser extent, History (IV) and Religion (V). I, therefore, hope that the authors will forgive me if they find their own contribution elsewhere than expected. One article (25) is given in an abbreviated version, since the author wished to present its full text in another publication.

In the Stockholm Conference-Seminar equal attention was, of course, paid to both ethnic groups living in the Kathmandu Valley, (1) the Parbatiyas, the mother tongue of whom is Nepali, an Indo-Aryan idiom, and (2) the Newars, who speak a Tibeto-Burmese language, Newari. The work was divided into several sections which, as the conference was interdisciplinary, covered a wide range of topics including religious, anthropological, historical and geographic studies as well as literature, art and architecture. The final meeting was devoted to problems of Nepalese music. The majority of the papers shed light on specific instances of continuity and change, be they in social life and religion, art, music or literature. In order to avoid printing errors, terms, names and quotations from New Indo-Aryan languages have not been rendered in a uniform way but follow the transliteration system adopted by the respective author.

As Nepal remained closed to the outside world until the year 1951 and only an exceedingly limited number of foreigners was permitted to enter the country, relatively little research could be pursued in Nepal up to the middle of this century. The Danish scholar Hans Jørgensen (1 886-1 954)) in order to quote one example only, did pioneer work in exploring the Newari language and literature, but, though highly respected by all Newars, he was never able to visit the country himself. More fortunate was, as we know, the great French indologist Sylvain Lévi (1863-1935) who, after having spent at least a short time in Nepal, published his momentous work, Lé Nepal - Étude historique d'un royaume hindou, 3 volumes, Paris 1905-1908, which remains to this day one of the most reliable handbooks on Nepalese history. However, with the termination of a hundred years of Rana rule in 1951, things suddenly changed. As the Himalayan kingdom now opened its frontier to visitors from abroad, not only tourists invaded the country, but a fair number of scholars representing the humanities, social and natural sciences started to pursue field-work in Nepal as well. There can be no doubt that the results of the investigations carried out by both individuals and institutions during the last four decades have considerably deepened our knowledge of this friendly Himalayun country. In 1981, the Gerrnan Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) established as one of its major projects the Nepal Research Programme (Schwerpunkt-Programn 'Nepal-Forschung', 1981-1991). It united a group of scholars who have been carrying out research in varous areas of Nepal from 1981 onward, mainly in the fields of linguistics, Newar Buddhism, Hinduism, ritual, art, architecture, music, anthropology and geography. A similar programme, devoted to anthropological studies, the Équipe de Recherche 299 (Milieux, Societe et Culture en Himalaya), was institutionalized at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S.) in Paris.

The articles published here bear witness to the richness and, at the same time, uniqueness of the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley. The volume, it is hoped, will offer a good survey of the present state of Nepalese Studies.

"Continuity and Change - Studies in the Nepalese Culture of the Kathmandu Valley" could not have been printed so attractively without the generous support so readily lended to us from the Centro Piemontese di Studi sul Medio ed Estremo Oriente (CESMEO) in Turin. We express our sincere thanks to its President, Professor Oscar Botto, and we are also grateful to Dr. Irma Piovano, Director of the CESMEO, for her unhesitating consent to include this volume in the Collana di Studi Orientali directed by her.

Siegfried Lienhard


by Siegfried Lienhard

1. Theodore Riccardi Jr.: Change and Continuity in the Kathmandu Valley: The Archaeological Perspective

2. John N. Gray: The Parbatiya Household in the Kathmandu Valley: Context for Continuity and Change
3. Hiroshi T. Ishii: Sanā-guṭhis (funeral organizations) in a Newar Village: Characteristics and Change
4. Kamal P. Malla: Vestiges of Totemism in Newar Society
5. Declan Quigley: Social Mobility and Social Fragmentation in the Newar Caste System
6. Gérard Toffin: Tribal Brahmans? The Case of the Rājopādhyāya of Nepal

7. Ulrike Müller-Böker: Traditional Technology in the Kathmandu Valley: The Utilization of the Soils and Sediments

8. Ian Alsop: Christians at the Malla Court: The Capuchin 'piccolo libro'
9. Horst Brinkhaus: Tolerance and Syncretism in the Religious History of the Kathmandu Valley
10. Todd T. Lewis: A Chronology of Newar-Tibetan Relations in the Kathmandu Valley
11. Luciano Petech: Chinese and Tibetan Materials on the Nepalese Quinquennial Missions
12. Gautam Vajracharya: The Locales of Mānagṛha and Kailāsakūṭa-bhavana: Old Problem, New Approach

a) Buddhism
13. Michael Allen: Procession and Pilgrimage in Newar Religion
14. David N. Gellner: 'The Perfection of Wisdom': A Text and Its Uses in Kwā Bahā, Lalitpur
15. Siegfried Lienhard: On Some Key-Terms in Newar Buddhism
16. John K. Locke, S.J.: Buddhist Themes on the Toranas of Newar Monasteries

b) Hinduism
17. Niels Gutschow: Bisketjātrā of Bhaktapur-Continuity and Change of an Urban Ritual
18. Linda L. Iltis: Women, Pilgrimage, Power and the Concept of Place in the Swasthānī Vrata
19. Axel Michaels: Śivarātri at Deopatan
20. Anne Vergati: Commemorating the Killing of the Serpents or the Founding of the town of Bhaktapur

c) Jainism
21. Ernest Bender: Nepal - The Jain Connection

d) Contemporary Buddhist Movements
22. Jens-Uwe Hartmann: Cultural Change Through Substitution: Ordination Versus Initiation in Newar Buddhism
23. Heinz Bechert: The Original Buddha and the Recent Buddha: A Preliminary Report on Buddhism in a Gurung Community

24. William L. Smith: Two Nepalese Versions of the Mahīrāvaṇa Tale
25. Carl Suneson: The Kṛṣṇacaritra - Some Observations on a Classical Nevāri Drama

26. Raimund O.A. Becker-Ritterspach: Ḍhunġe-Dhārās in the Kathmandu Valley - Continuity and Development of Architectural Design
27. Reinhard Herdick: Naikāp - A Settlement Determined by Newar Changes Its Sacred Forms
28. Mary Shepherd Slusser: Preliminary Notes on an India-Import Scroll from Nepal

29. Ter Ellingson: The Matemathics of Newar Buddhist Music
30. Ingemar Grandin: Expression of Ethnicity and Politics in Bhajan Singing. Some Preliminary Results on the Assimilation of Modern Mediated Music in a Traditional Newar Community
31. Pirkko Moisala: Urbanisation of Gurung Culture and Identity - A Study of Gurung Music in Kathmandu
32. Gert-Matthias Wegner: Music and Death - Sībājā of the Newar Butchers


Back to main article | articles