BIOGRAPHY - John Vincent Bellezza



JOHN VINCENT BELLEZZA, is a cultural historian and explorer; Visiting Scholar with the East Asia Center of the University of Virginia; member of the Bon Translation Project, Oxford University; and Tibetanist with the Istituto Shang Shung, Italy. He speaks Tibetan, Hindi, Western Pahari, Urdu, Nepali, and Spanish.

Bellezza has been exploring Tibet and the Great Western Himalaya since 1983, collecting ethnographic data on various tribes of the region. Since the early 1990s he has specialized in pre-Buddhist Tibetan culture. His intensive study of ancient texts (many housed in the Triten Norbutse Bön Monastery), interviews with over 5,000 Tibetan elders, villagers and sherpas, and his first stage archaeological expeditions (actual excavations are not yet legally permitted) have resulted in groundbreaking discoveries about the ancient Zhang Zhung.

Bellezza has pursued an interdisciplinary approach to his research in archaeological, ethnographic and textual studies. His achievements include:

•  Extended field trips in the north and west of the High Plateau. He has documented over 500 pre-Buddhist archaeological sites, including fortresses, temples, castles, graves, villages, necropolis, rock shelters and rock art (pictographs, petroglyphs, monoliths) and mapped more than 1500 tombs in what he believes to be a royal cemetery.
•  Collected over 100 texts concerned with indigenous religious traditions.
•  Compiled and analyzed ancient customs and traditions preserved in the oral tradition.

He has published numerous articles and three scholarly books on his findings, and gifted the Tibet Museum in Lhasa with an Iron Age bronze bridle, a superb artifact that demonstrates the sophisticated culture of the period. It has been Bellezza’s extended pioneering efforts in the High Plateau area of the Western Himalaya that have unlocked the secrets of ancient Tibet and convinced the scientific and academic community of the existence of the Zhang Zhung Empire.

CURRICULUM VITAE


Books by John Vincent Bellezza:

DIVINE DYADS: ANCIENT CIVILIZATION (LTWA 1997);

ANTIQUITIES OF NORTHERN TIBET: ARCHAEOLOGICAL - Discoveries on the High Plateau (Adroit 2001)

ANTIQUITIES OF UPPER TIBET - Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Sites on the High Plateau (Adroit 2002)
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Books To Which John Bellezza Contributed:

Chan, Victor, TIBET HANDBOOK;

Swift, Hugh, TREKKING IN THE HIMALAYA AND HIGH KARAKORUM;

Batchelor, Stephen, TIBET HANDBOOK;

Armington, Stan, LONELY PLANET BHUTAN;

LONELY PLANET TREKKING IN NEPAL;

Others In writing; a book about thogchas
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Other Writings:

"Quest for the Four Fountains of Tibet," Himal, Jan 1993
"Thogchags," Arts of Asia, May/June 1998;
"Pre-history of Tibet," Himal, December 1999;
"High Country Culture," Discovering Archaeology, May/June 1999 (many other Himal articles);
"Elders of Tibet," The Mirror, Spring 2000;
The Mirror, 1997, 1998;
East and West ;
"Bon Rock Paintings at Gnam mtsho: Glimpses of the Ancient Religion of Northern Tibet," Rock Art Research, May 2000
"Findings of the Changthang Circuit Expedition," Kailash: A Journal of Himalayan Studies, Vol. XIX, no. 1-2 (2000)
Review of Environment, Pastoral Economy and Material Culture by S. Jones, The Tibet Journal, Spring 2000
High-Country Culture: A Civilization Flourished in the Himalayas Before Buddhism Arrived, Discovering Archaeology, May-June 1999


LANGUAGES:
Tibetan, Hindi, Western Pahari, Urdu, Nepali