Volume 5: Issue 2 Material Religion of High Altitude Ecologies

Guest edited by Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa and Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia in collaboration with MAVCOR Journal Editor Emily C. Floyd. The call for papers for this special issue invited scholars coming from diverse disciplines (religious studies, anthropology, archaeology, history of art, visual studies, etc) and working across a range of high altitude ecologies, from the Andes to the Himalayas and beyond, to consider how the specificities of these regions impact material and visual aspects of religious practice. This special issue is published on a rolling basis.

Essays Flying Conches in the High-Altitude Oceans of the Himalayas: Displaced Objects and Multiscalar Relations in the Mountains of Sikkim Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia and Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

Conch shells frequently appear as objects in religiously inspired artwork and shrines in Sikkim, west India. Their frequent appearance in material culture and invocation in Classical Tibetan-language literary culture is indicative of a rich repository of connections. This essay explores some of their many resonances, in particular their significance as indicators of ecological change in the Himalayas.

img Essays The Ritual Ascent at Mount Tlaloc, Mexico Catherine H. Popovici

Bridging ecology, ethnohistory, linguistics, and art historical inquiry, this article argues that the various forms of vegetation encountered along the slope of Mount Tlaloc during the ascension of the tlahtoque were of ritual significance within Nahua worldview.

Essays Gold Palaces: Merit, Beauty, and Perfection in the Cremation Structures of Monks in Northern Thailand Rebecca S. Hall

Cremation structures serve the utilitarian purpose of incinerating a corpse to aid transition from life to death, but in contemporary practice in Northern Thailand, opulent, golden-colored cremation structures called prasat sop also create a stunning sight that give local viewers a deeper understanding of all sentient beings’ connection to death.

Constellations Qoyllur rit’i: El señor de la Estrella de Nieve Raúl Montero Quispe

En 2012 empecé a hacer un registro gráfico del peregrinaje que poco a poco se convirtió en un proyecto fotográfico. Al intentar comprender este mundo sincrético, la fotografía me permitió plasmar y narrar lo que veía.

Constellations Qoyllur rit’i: The Lord of the Snow Star Raúl Montero Quispe

In 2012, I began to make a graphic record of the pilgrimage, which little by little evolved into a photographic project. In attempting to comprehend the syncretic world of the festival, photography allowed me to capture and narrate what I saw.

Essays The Book as a Generative Agent: The Buddhist Canon as a Community Member in Book Procession Rituals of the Himalayas Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

Known as the Bumkor, the books that make up the Bum are not just objects, but are generative, active agents that are capable of producing and renewing auspiciousness in the local human and nonhuman community that reside in the landscape.

img Essays Purifying Multispecies Relations in the Valley of Abundance: The Riwo Sangchö Ritual as Environmental History and Ethics in Sikkim Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia

The Riwo Sangchö is a ritual exchange that facilitates smoky relations between humans and spirits resident in landscapes around the world.