Date: Iron Sheep year, 8th month, 20th day, Tuesday (1871)
Lines: 10
Script: ’khyug


Two Tepas have forcibly appropriated the sum of money that Lama Tshewang Bumpa was due to collect as the beneficiary of a rotating fund. To justify this appropriation they have produced documents proving that Lama Tshewang Bumpa has inherited unpaid debts from the time of his grandparents. The prospect of a legal battle has been averted, and thanks to successful mediation the lama agrees to the Tepas keeping the proportion of the rotating fund that corresponds to the amount of money he owes them.



1. lcag mo lug lo’i zla 8 tshes 20 re za 3 kar rma bher rtsis shar pa’i nyin | rted pa ’du

2. tshe dbang dang tshe dbang rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis nas tshog gnaṃ bla ’brang du | me me tshe dbang ang rgyal

3. dang i bhi yees (ye shes) ang gnyis dang | ma zad a khublaṃ (bla ma) rig ldan la sngon cha med pa’i bu lon yod

4. zer nas blaṃ (bla ma) tshe dbang ’buṃ pa’i ’bru skor gyi dngul 90rted ’du li tshe dbang dang tshe dbang rgyo^ṃ (rgya mtsho)

5. gnyis nas zung bar rten nas | khrim rar slebs rgyu byas kyang | thar blaṃ (bla ma) mthuob (mthu thob) dang rted pa

6. phur ba gnyis kyi bar sduṃ byas nas | tshogs gnaṃ bla ’brang la rted ’du li tshe dbang tshe dbang

7. rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis kyi bu lon spyi phogs ltas nas dngul 80 byang nas ’dam cigs kyang ma las pa’i

8. phar ka rti krad pa yin | ’du li tsha zo 14 dang pad ma rii^n (rig ’dzin) lags nas byang nas thugs rtags chod

9. nas {1} gnaṃ la sprin med sa la bud med kyi phar kad rti krad pa ’du li tshe dbang | tshe dbang

10. rgyo^m (rgya mtsho) gnyis kyi rtags X X | don bya de’i phya spang bar mi 2 dang | pad ma rig ’dzin yod pa’i rtags |


1. lcags mo; re gza’; skar ma be rdzi 2. bla brang 5. bzhung bar; khrims rar 7. bu lon ci phog bltas; sbyangs nas ṭam gcig kyang 8. pharkati sprad pa; tshwa zo; lag nas sbyangs; thugs thag chod 9. pharkati sprad pa 10. cha dpang bar


Tuesday, the 20th day in the 8th month of an Iron Sheep year, the day of be rdzi rising. An acknowledgement by two Tepas, Duli Tshewang and Tshewang Gyatso, of the settlement of debts owed to them by Lama Tshewang Bumpa of Tshognam. The latter was unaware that his grandparents, Tshewang Angyal and Yeshe Angmo, as well as his paternal uncle Lama Rigden, were indebted to the two Tepas. The latter have attempted to retrieve the debt by force, by appropriating the sum of 90 rupees that the lama should have collected as the beneficiary of a rotating fund (’bru ’khor). The matter was about to go to court, but Lama Thutob and the Tepa Phurpa intervened as intermediaries. At the priestly estate of Tshognam, the two creditors were able to determine (presumably by being shown the loan receipt) exactly how much money they were owed. The lama paid 80 rupees, and the Tepas issue this receipt (phar ka sti < Nep. pharkati) to the effect that not even one small coin was outstanding.

A certain Pema Rigdzin also paid Duli [Tshewang?] 14 zo ba of salt that he owed him and the matter has been closed for good. Duli Tshewang and Tshewang Gyatso sets their marks to confirm that a receipt for which there are no clouds in the sky, and no dust on the ground, has been issued. The witness and the mediator, as well as Pema Rigdzin, set their marks.


Rotating funds (line 6, ’bru skor < ’bru ’khor) are even now a common practice in Mustang as a method of generating capital. In a typical case, someone with urgent need of money will initiate a fund by inviting people, usually from a number of different villages, to join the fund. (In modern times they include people who may be resident in different continents, and have to be represented by proxies at gatherings of the fund.) The initial sum to be contributed by each member is agreed at the outset, and this sum increases at each meeting of the fund, generally at six-monthly intervals. The person who collects the fund (sdud mi) on each subsequent occasion is determined by rolling dice, but in certain cases members who are in need of cash may be allowed to bid for the right. As in the case of this document, different funds are generally identified by the name of the initiator (slang mi). The term for rotating fund, ’bru ’khor, suggests that they may originally have involved grain (’bru) rather than cash, though funds involving livestock are also reported to have operated in certain communities in the past. (For a general study of rotating funds in Nepal see Messerschmidt 1978, and for the case of southern Mustang in particular see Lamas 228-37.)


Line 1, bher rtsis shar pa’i nyin, “the day of be rdzi rising”: bher rtsis (< be rdzi) is an alternative name for snar ma, the third of the lunar mansions (Sk. kttikā).