|Published:||September 01, 2008|
The second of a trilogy of studies of life-cycle rituals in Nepal, conducted under the auspices of the Collaborative Research Centre "Dynamics of Ritual," is presented by the authors, architectural historian Niels Gutschow and indologist Axel Michaels. There is documentation of the initiation of both Hindu and Buddhist Newar boys and girls in the Kathmandu Valley. The book's first section introduces Newar ritual components, Bhaktapur's geographic setting, and the hierarchy of ritual specialists. These topics are represented through 21 maps. The second section includes in-depth descriptions of the girl's marriage with the bel fruit, the girl's seclusion, the boy's initiation with the loincloth (in Buddhist and Hindu contexts), the boy's first feeding of solid food, birthday rituals, and pre-puberty rituals like the first shaving of the hair. A DVD contains footage of three boys being initiated (Kaytapuja) and one girl getting married (Ihi). The textual tradition, which the Brahmin priest utilized to direct the rites, is presented in the third section. To show how these texts can be used in various situations, two of these texts have been altered and translated.