List of Curios No 156:
The following description from Charles Bell's 'List of Curios' dated 30th January 1913 and described to him by Barmiak Lama. It reads: ' Thigh bone trumpet, 14" long, bound with brass at one end and leather and brass at the other. Known as Kang-tung. Use different from 82 and 155 (other trumpets in his collection). This kang-tung is used by Lamas of Nying-ma, Kar-gyu and other sects, except Gelukpa, which do not use it much, for calling demons. The Lama at the same time rattles a large damaru (drum) in his left hand. He calls the demons thus to cremation grounds and lets them feed apparently but nor really, on his body. He then preaches to them on the wickedness of their ways and tries to persuade them to give up evil doing. When he has done this at a hundred cremation grounds or grounds where corpses are burnt or given to birds, he is qualified to visit sick persons. To these he calls the demons, gives them an apparent but not real, meal on the sick man's body and then sends them away and the sick man recovers. When calling the demons he recites prayers exhorting them to give up their evil ways, that they may go to the god's world, and warning them that otherwise they will go to hell (nya-la).
Curator's note: Well documented item acquired by Charles Bell who was the Political Officer for the Himalayan Region first posted to Darjeeling in 1900. Acquired before 1913, when the item was written up in Bell's List of Curio's. Bell acquired a number of unprovenanced Tibetan religious items from traders operating in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong markets. Item acquired by NML in 1988 following a long term loan dating from 1950.
Written by Emma Martin