Human Studies Film Archives

Guide to the Todd Lewis films of Asan Tol, 1987

Collection ID:
Lewis, Todd, 1952-
Physical Description:
9 Videocassettes (VHS)
15 hours 30 minutes
color sound
17 Videocassettes (U-matic)
sound annotations

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Full video record is a documentation project shot in a neighborhood (tol) of Kathmandu which derives its distinctive identity from its importance in the religious geography of the Kathmandu Valley. Shots document a "day in the life" of Asan Tol, a central marketplace bazaar intersected by six streets/lanes including sequenced views over twelve hour period of changing street traffic, vendors and merchants, ritual interactions between passersby and sacred cows which graze in the urban ecology, circumambulations of pedestrians around the Temple of Annapurna as they pass through the marketplace and offer ritual devotions; shots of festival processions as they pass through the square; ritual activity in the distinctive Newar courtyards known as "bahas" which are both residential and ritual spaces; religious observances in the Dagu baha--Buddhist offerings at ground level shrines (stupas, chaitryas) and at the kwapadyah (shrine/temple); shots in Asan Tol of religious festivals which transform the square into a theatrical space; Buddhist celebration of Pancadana (Feast day of the 5 gifts) during which voluntary associations give offerings to the Vajracarya (elite caste Buddhists); scenes of the Desan Festival during which blood sacrifices are made before the Temples of Annapurna; pilgrimages to Svayambu, an important Buddhist shrine, by musical groups known as bajams during the Buddhist month of Gulam (August); scenes in outlying rice paddy's in the Kathmandu valley--rice planting and cultivation; performance of the Mahakali dance in the Dagu baha (courtyard).
Supplementary material: sound recordings, annotations (recorded narratives)
Legacy keywords: Ritual offerings puja ; Bazaar markets ; Festivals religious Pachare Kathmandu ; Animal sacrifice Hinduism Kathmandu ; Markets Asan Tol Kathmandu ; Temples Annapurna Newar Buddhism ; Dance in festivals Pachare Kathmandu ; Drumming in festivals Pachare Kathmandu ; Shrines mobile Ratha Kathmandu ; Religion ritual devotion Bodhisattva Kathmandu ; Adornment for religious devotion tika Kathmandu ; Music musical groups bajans Kathmandu ; Shrines stupas chitya bahas Kathmandu ; Vendors Street sellers ; Houses courtyards bahas ; Rice planting cultivation of Kathmandu valley ; Alcohol as palliative to work ; Work groups women rice planting ; Tools hand hoe kodari ; Icons Buddah ; Celebrations Pancadana ; Architecture religious Buddhism Hinduism Kathmandu ; Ritual drama Mahakali dance Kathmandu ; Masks used in ritual drama Mahakali dance ; Language and culture

Custodial History
Previously titled "Asan Tol Project 1987."
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from Todd Lewis in 1989.
Processing Information
Titles are supplied by the archivist for untitled films.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
Todd Lewis films of Asan Tol, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution

More Information
Local Numbers
Local Numbers
HSFA 1989.5.1

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
South Asia Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nepal Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newar (Nepalese people) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Human Studies Film Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746