Tibetan Weddings in Ne’u na Village
This second work in the ethnographic preservation of the traditions of Tibet follows the publication in 2008 of Life and Marriage in Skya rgya, a Tibetan Village.
The book has three distinct sections: a brief historical introduction to Ne’u na Village, a detailed, sequenced description of a generalized Ne’u na wedding accompanied by related songs and speeches, and three interlinked case studies breathing life into and bringing specificity to the description. As background information, the author discusses the ethnic composition of the village, which in addition to Amdo Tibetans comprises both Han Chinese and Hui Muslim families.
Through Tshe dbang rdo rje’s minute observation, description of pre-marriage deals and the actual wedding ceremony, readers can almost see it happening before their very eyes. Also, the detailed description of the actual wedding party as well as the careful rendering of each song, opens a door to the marriage ceremony. Song texts are given in free English translation, in oral Tibetan, literary Tibetan, IPA and as word by word renditions in English.
The third section contains the case studies. While the matchmaker in chapter three is a busy, anonymous figure shuttling messages and gifts between the prospective groom and bride’s families, the results of Bka’ dbang sgrol ma’s visit in chapter six to her younger sister sets off a chain of events that forever influence fundamental aspects of the family’s life.
The result is a multidisciplinary documentation of the wedding practices in the Amdo Tibetan village of Ne’u na, located in the present-day Qinghai (Mtsho sngon) Province, on the historical frontier between China and Tibet.