Department of Anthropology

Intermedia Workshop: The Vulture Project...

Fri, April 29, 2011 | SAC 4.120

12:00 PM

Russell Bush (RTF) will workshop: “The Vulture Project: Documentary Film”

For thousands of years, life in the windswept grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau has fostered a unique relationship between man and the natural world. In it, pragmatism, spirituality and ecological integrity are woven so tightly, their edges bleed together. This is illustrated in the startlingly intimate relationship between the Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps Himalayensis) and the Tibetan people in the event of “Jhator”.

While drawing nourishment for themselves and sustenance for the next generation, the Griffons regularly consume human dead in this burial ritual. In this Buddhist practice the body of the deceased is left undisturbed for three days. It is then ritually prepared, transported to sacred burial grounds in the highest hillsides in the world, and offered to the Griffons. Jhator has been the standard of burial amongst Tibetans for millennia, but with the modernization of Western China and dwindling Griffon populations, it is beginning to happen less and less.

Part of the Intermedia Laboratory's Informal Workshop Series, presented by Cultural Forms & Anthropology.

Bookmark and Share