Dorje Shunu's Fight

2008 - 2012

dorje shunu's fight

A Limited Edition Portfolio
Thoughts Over


Luigi Fieni

The portfolio was shot in Lo Manthang, Mustang, Nepal, between 2008 and 2012. It is based on the three-day religious dance festival known as Teji and the photos were taken every year during the same performance.

It is not a reportage and it does not want to describe all the sequence of the dances. It tries to narrate the emotional journey the dancers and the onlookers witness and feel during the festival. It is about energy, it is about spirits, it is about belief.

Three days, three parts:

The Invocation
The Fighting
The Killing


Teji Festival is the most important festival of Lo, celebrated by all locals of the region in a courtyard by the palace. The festival is based on the myth of deity Dorju Shunu who was reborn in order to defeat the demons and evil forces that created hell and suffering on earth. Through the power of his dances and the variety of forms he takes, he is able to defeat the demons and thereby bring peace and prosperity to the country. Thus, the festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

During the three day masked dance festival, Dorje Shunnu reveals his various forms, and an ancient thangka of Padmasambhava is unfolded. For the people of Mustang Teji is not only a time of celebration but also a religious pilgrimage for believers summon from all over the region to take part to the ceremony.

It is believed that simply attending Teji will bring merit to those who observe. An accomplished monk is chosen as the key dancer and leader of the ceremony, regarded as the deity Dorje Shunu who slays the demon and wards off all evil. He must have special initiations, be well versed in scripture and particular dance steps and recite passages during the trance. He must go on a three-month solitary retreat remaining in isolation to prepare his mind and purify himself reciting mantras. Like an ancient passion play, brilliant masked dancers leap in brocade costumes as the mesmerized audience watches on rapt as evil is defeated.


Archival Prints are available in the following LE sizes:

40 by 60 cm ( ~16 by 24 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
60 by 90 cm ( ~24 by 36 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
100 by 150 cm ( ~39 by 59 in ) : Limited Edition of 5 + 1 AP