The main room inside the larger structure of the Lalung Serkhang is also called Serkhang (gSer-khang). It is only the latter room, measuring 5.65 by 5.2 metres and with a height of more than 4.5 metres, that will be discussed here. This room is virtually packed with sculptures covering three walls in complex configurations. The entrance wall (west wall) has only two gate-keepers guarding the door (> Lalung Serkhang sculpture gallery).
While the sculptures are largely original and well preserved, the painting on them is quite recent. Judging from the reports published, the whole temple was repainted at some point between 1926, the year that H. L. Shuttleworth and Joseph Gergan saw them, and 1933, when Tucci and Ghersi visited Lalung.
The Founding Inscription in the Lalung Serkhang is much better preserved than that at Nako, but despite several readings the concise seven-syllable verses are often incomprehensible. Here, too, no historical names have been identified to date, nor have I managed to identify the events mentioned.
While the repainting has not really affected the sculptures, the quality of the present murals is pitiful compared to the originals, which have only survived in a small section above the Founding Inscription to the left of the entrance. Nevertheless, the crude repainting apparently followed the original painting, as it can still be related to compositions found in the Alchi group of monuments.
The organisation of the sculptural decoration of the temple is unique. In general, it follows an iconographic principle suggested by Rob Linrothe for the Alchi Sumtseg: Buddha on the main wall, Bodhisattva on the wall to his right (left-hand wall), goddess (or rather female Bodhisattva) at the wall to his left (right-hand wall), and protective deity on the entrance wall.
The relationship of the Serkhang to the Vairocana Chapel, which is approximately 35 metres WNW of the Serkhang, is wholly obscure.
Page last updated: 13.04.2006