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V. Publication of Ancient Tibetan Books and Documents
2003/10/27

In China, the ancient books and documents on Tibetan study written in characters of different nationalities are numerous. In the 1920s and 1930s, some scholars had planned to sort out these materials systematically. However, owing to lack of necessary conditions, their hope died quietly.

After the founding of New China, particularly in the last decade, the related research bodies at both state and local levels have done much to save, categorize and publish ancient books and documents on Tibetan Studies. By the end of the 1980s, ancient Tibetan books published in China totaled over 200 kinds, with more than one million copies. These include not only famous historical works as Green History, Red History, The Wiseman Xerab, Records of Royal Rulers in Tibet, The Lang Family, and Sakw Genealogy, but also a large number of representative works on religion, literature, poetry, artistic theory, grammar and so on. Some scientific documents, such as Four Medical Codes and Classics of Calendar Calculation were also published and available to the world.

Besides the original Tibetan works, a large batch of Tibetan historical materials, such as Selected Official Documents From Tibetan Historical Archives, Selected Ancient Tibetan Laws and Regulations and Selected Tibetan Historical Materials Series were completed and published. Some important historical documents originally preserved only in original Tibetan historical books were also included in these publications.

Tibetan Tripitaka, including the Kanjur (the translated scriptures), and the Tanjur (the translated elucidating treaties), are an encyclopedias of traditional Tibetan study. In 1987, the Center for Tibetan Study of China set up the Bureau for Correcting Tibetan Tripitaka in Chengdu. The duty of this working body was to read different editions and then compare and correct them. These efforts would finally result in the publication of an authoritative Tibetan Tripitaka (Revised Edition) of 158 volumes in deluxe edition of 16 mo, which is expected to be a perfect combination of the published Chinese Great Scriptures in Chinese. This work is currently under way. The first volume of Tibetan Tripitaka is scheduled to be published by the China Tibetology Publishing House sometime later this year.

While successfully categorizing and publishing historical documents in Tibetan, a similar work on those materials written in Chinese has also achieved considerable success. To date, the published historical documents in Chinese total about two hundred and cover the period from the Tang Dynasty to the Republic of China. They include historical records, dossiers, memorials to the throne, surveys, local annals, travelogues, and notes and diaries. Some are exceptionally rare; Historical Materials About Tubo Quoted from ''The Complete Tang Prose'' and "The complete Tang Poetry'', Tubo History as a Mirror, Tibetan Historical Materials From ''Records of the Ming Dvnasty'' , Tibetan Historical Materials From ''Records of the Qing Dynasty'' , Memorials to the Throne From Local Tibetan Government, Dossiers About the Situations on the Borders of Sichuan and Yunnan in Late Qing Dynasty, Telegrams on Tibetan Affairs in 1912 , Selected Documents on the Death and Funeral Service of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Reincarnation of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Selected Dossiers About Ninth Panchen Lama's Activities in Inland China and the Obstructions He Met When Returning Tibet, and Reports From Huang Musong, Wu Zhongxin , Zhao Shouyu and Dai Chuanxian on Their Duties of Dealing With Tibetan Affairs, all are vitally important materials for Tibetan Study.

Thanks to the close cooperation and joint efforts of those involved units, the work of translating historical documents between Chinese and Tibetan has also been undertaken smoothly.

Equally important is the publishing of ancient books and documents in both Chinese and Tibetan so that this irreplaceable material is not lost. It has not only provided interested scholars with rich historical materials, but also given convincing evidence to expose the plot of ''Tibet's Independence'' and safeguard China's unification. At the same time, it also protects an important historical cultural heritage. According to a concerned personnel in Tibet, in the past, many valuable works had only one or two handwritten copies. They were printed on wood -blocks, and their distribution was strictly limited. Even in modern time, the local Tibetan government locked the historical documents in dark rooms. Ordinary people were not permitted to read them without charge. Only after the founding of new China were these works, for the first time, publicly published and widely distributed. They have returned to the hands of all Tibetans.








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