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Scheier-Dolberg Derge Printing House

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1 Treasure Ho use o f T ibet an Cu lt ure: Cano nizat io n, Pr int ing, and Po wer in t he Derge Pr int ing Ho use by Jo sep h Scheier-Do lberg Submitted to the Committee on Regional Studies—East Asia in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the A.M. degree in Regional Studies—East Asia Harvard University Approved _________________________ Cambridge, Massachusetts May 2nd, 2005 2 CONVENTIONS OF ROMANIZATION I have employed the Wylie system of romanization to transcribe Tibetan wor
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  1Treasure House of Tibetan Culture:Canonization, Printing, and Power in the Derge Printing HousebyJoseph Scheier-DolbergSubmitted to the Committee on Regional Studies—East Asiain partial fulfillment of the requirementsfor the A.M. degree in Regional Studies—East AsiaHarvard UniversityApproved _________________________Cambridge, MassachusettsMay 2 nd , 2005  2 CONVENTIONS OF ROMANIZATION I have employed the Wylie system of romanization to transcribe Tibetan wordsand names. In rare cases that are repeated extensively throughout the following study, Ihave used simplified, phonetic romanization for the sake of clarity and cleanliness withinthe text (e.g. Sde dge is rendered as Derge throughout; bsTan pa Tshe ring is rendered asTenpa Tsering throughout; bka’ ‘gyur and bstan ‘gyur are rendered as Kanjur and Tanjurthroughout.) In such cases, the complete Wylie romanization will be offered in thefootnotes upon first appearance of the name. Following general convention, I have insome cases used popular English spellings, such as “Lhasa”.For Chinese, I have employed the Pinyin system of romanization throughout,except in direct quotes from other sources. Pinyin romanization is followed upon firstappearance of a term or name by the Chinese characters where needed. Chinese termsother than proper names are italicized throughout the study, with the exception of theterm tusi   土司 , which will receive such treatment only upon its first appearance. Becausethe term tusi is used so extensively throughout the paper, I have opted to leave itunitalicized, for the sake of cleanliness within the text.  3 CONTENTS Conventions of Romanization.................................................................... i INTRODUCTION ................................................................................. 41.   CANONIZATION, PRINTING, AND POWER .............................. 101.1 Canonization, Printing, and Power in China............................. 131.2 Canonization, Printing, and Power in Tibet.............................. 262.   THE TUMULT OF THE HISTORICAL MOMENT............................ 522.1 Derge—A Kingdom in the Margins......................................... 532.2 Tumult in Central Tibet............................................................ 592.3 The Effects of Central Tibetan Instability on Kham................. 682.4 Direct Links Between Tenpa Tsering and the Qing Government 743.   THE DERGE PRINTING HOUSE AND ITS KANJUR .................. 873.1 Architectural History of the Printing House............................. 873.2 The Administration of the Printing House................................ 903.3 The Derge Kanjur ............................................................... 92CONCLUSION ..................................................................................... 99Bibliography ......................................................................................... 108  4 INTRODUCTION In 1729, the ruler of the small Derge 1 kingdom in Eastern Tibet, Tenpa Tsering, 2  commissioned the construction of a large-scale xylographic printing house in the seat of his kingdom. Along with the construction of the printing house, Tenpa Tsering orderedthat a new edition of the Kanjur—the section of the bipartite Tibetan Buddhist canoncontaining the words of the Buddhas—be undertaken, and he employed some of theforemost Eastern Tibetan intellectuals of the time in its compilation. Tenpa Tsering andhis successors complimented this canonical collection with xylograph editions of a widerange of Tibetan literature—religious works of the four major schools of TibetanBuddhism and the Bonpo tradition, along with works on philosophy, medicine, and artround out a collection that today comprises over 270,000 printing blocks. In addition tothese textual xylographs, the rulers of the Derge kingdom filled the stacks of the printinghouse with large format picture blocks, allowing for images of deities, great teachers, andreligious diagrams to be printed in an efficient fashion with standard results.As imprints from the Derge xylographs made their way into libraries in Tibet and,eventually, abroad, the reputation of the small semi-independent kingdom that producedthem grew in strength. Josef Kolmaš, one of the first Western scholars to devotesignificant attention to Derge and its cultural output, states in his Genealogy of the Kingsof Derge that “we can even say without exaggeration that if Derge became famous in the 1 Tibetan: Sde dge; Chinese: Dege 德格 , De’erge 得爾格 , Dege 的革 or De’ergete 德爾格忒 . 2 Tibetan: Bstan pa Tshe ring; Chinese: Dengba Zeren 登巴泽仁 , Queji Dengba Zeren 却吉 · 登巴泽仁 ,Danba Celing 丹巴策凌 , or Danba Celun 丹巴測倫 .
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