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Catalog Data

Filmmaker, anthropologist:
Bishop, John and Naomi  Search this
Bishop, Naomi  Search this
Physical description:
reference 10 video cassettes (5 hours) sound color 3/4 inch
master 10 video reels (5 hours) sound color one inch
archival original 10 film reels (10,800 feet ) sound color 16mm
Pulayas  Search this
Helambu Valley  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)
Collection descriptions
Nepal, Helambu Valley
Supplementary materials: audio tapes, 35mm slides, b&w stills
title supplied by Archives staff (unpublished work)--archival collection
Annotated by John Bishop, documentary filmmaker, Naomi Bishop, anthropologist, John Homiak, Human Studies Film Archives and Nogabu, cultural informant from Melemchi. Footage complements [Melemchi Village, 1989]
Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee
John and Naomi Bishop, filmmaker and ethnographer, respectively.
Full film record documents the cultural ecology of a Sherpa village at the head of the Helembu Valley, Nepal. Footage begins with shots of Rhesus monkeys at the Buddhist shrine of Swayambanath in Kathmandu valley as part of research project observing the behavior of temple monkeys. Footage in the Melemchi village focuses on both subsistence and religious aspects of Helembu Sherpa culture. Documentation of subsistence includes herding and domestic activities of the Sherpa patrilineal households; harvesting changa, the high altitude barley from which the staple food, thombu is made; women threshing wheat in fields; women dairying in family pastures; spinnig lambs wool; weaving jackets; grindng grain and flour on the grindstone; women making yoghurt, butter and cheese; weaving bamboo mats. Documentation of religious and ritual depicts the coexistence of Buddhist and local Bon animist practices; a Nyin Lo ceremony conducted by a bombo (shaman) to exorcise bad spirits; the the torma (a ritual object representing a temporary house for the gods); man in trance drumming and calling spirits; chicken sacrifice; beating a woman with steamed branches to expunge the evil spirits from her; a Mikha Kyurgen puja done to reverse the negative effects of gossiping; the TupuTsezchu Festival, one of four festivals held annually in Melemchi to commemorate the work of Guru Rempeche, the Bodhisattva who brought Buddhism to Tibet; the Nara festival which honors the founding of the gomba(local Buddhist temple); the decapitation ofa yak as an offering. Also documented is the funerary practice composed of the procession where the deceased is carried in a chair to the funeral ground for cremation. Sequences also depict men carving decorations for the woodwork adorning houses; an arranged marriage; Sherpa man teaching a class to young students; playing the "adorje," a trumpet made out of a human thigh bone; lama reading Tibetan texts.
Repository Loc.:
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD
Language and culture  Search this
Temples--prayer wheels  Search this
Harvests--barley  Search this
Barley--method of harvest  Search this
Animal husbandry--milking--cows  Search this
Seances--spirit mediums--ritual  Search this
Mediums--ritual--spirit communication  Search this
Spirits--mediums--communication with  Search this
Ritual--spirit mediums--seances  Search this
Chanting--as part of ritual  Search this
Musical instruments--drums--cymbals--horns--bells  Search this
Agriculture--corn--barley--grains  Search this
Food preparation--churning butter--cheese  Search this
Altars--seances  Search this
Animal sacrifice--as part of ritual  Search this
Purification--ritual  Search this
Mills--grinding flour--water driven  Search this
Weaving--wool--looms  Search this
Pastoral activities--herding--miling--grazing  Search this
Bells--for keeping birds from crops  Search this
Quarrying--boulders--for building stones  Search this
Mortuary practices--pallequin--procession--cremation  Search this
Funerals--cremation  Search this
Priest--lama--chanting  Search this
Temple--gompa--ceremony  Search this
Bread--ceremonial Nara bread--gompa  Search this
Dancing--ritual--social  Search this
Woodworking--carving  Search this
Altars--gompa  Search this
Flags--prayer flags--raising of  Search this
Potatoes--cultivation of  Search this
Shrines--gompa  Search this
Local number:
HSFA 1987.7.1
Restrictions & Rights:
Information on reproduction and fees available from Human Studies Film Archives
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives