Sunday, 3 January 2021


Law & the Tibetan Empire

an exploration of a Tibetan manuscript @ British Library

by Charles Manson
(Bodleian Libraries & British Library)

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Dr Camillo Formigatti presentation @ British Library

Last February, 7-8 (2020)

@ the British Library conference on Buddhism:

Unlocking Buddhist Written Heritage

Dr Camillo Formigatti, 

John Clay Sanskrit Librarian 

@ Bodleian Libraries,

gave a presentation entitled

Translating Manuscripts from Sanskrit 
to Tibet and Vice-versa

The link below has his presentation as a video - 
the PowerPoint file synchronised with the sound recording:

In the 13th century, parallel to the emergence of Sa skya power in Tibet, the southern kingdom of Mang yul Gung thang witnessed a flourishing cultural activity. Particularly fruitful was the cultural exchange with Nepal under the aegis of Kublai Khan’s advisor’s ’Phags-pa Blo-gros-rgyal mtshan. The activity of two translators stands out for its huge cultural impact in pre-modern and modern Tibet. The Tibetan lo tsā ba Shong ston Rdo rje rgyal mtshan and the (probably) Nepalese paṇḍit Lakmīkara translated together several Sanskrit works into Tibetan, creating a new literary language. After a very brief introduction delineating the historical contours of Tibetan translations, the paper will focus on the context of translations from Sanskrit into Tibetan and the cultural exchange between Tibet and Nepal during this period.

Monday, 8 June 2020

11 June, on Zoom

Updated release

Dan Martin & Yael Bentor's very useful 

Tibetan Histories: 
a Bibliography of Tibetan-Language Historical Works

has been updated and put online,
dedicated to the memory of E. Gene Smith

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Karchak @ Bodleian

Link to catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts and xylographs:

Further details of Driver Collection being added during Lockdown 2020 -
updates will be posted

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

John Stapleton Driver collection

Driver Collection of Tibetan manuscripts & xylograph prints update:

today (20.11.18) 'first scope' listing of 465 Tibetan smaller manuscripts was finished. 

Next move is on to 135 larger manuscripts and xylograph prints of the Collection.
(sample 'Ri chos' retreat advice manuscript below)

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Law & The Tibetan Empire - MS Or.53521

Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo with Queens Wencheng and Bhrikuti in Mani Kabum, (British Library, Tib CC.125)
Image: Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo
with Queens Wencheng and Bhrikuti,
illustrated in Mani Kabum, (British Library, Tib CC.125)

link to audio recording
Law & The Tibetan Empire - as seen in manuscript Or.5351

How did Emperor Songtsen Gampo influence the development of Tibetan law?
An examination of the evidence from a previously unstudied
manuscript copy of  a 14th-century history.
A primary figure of interest in Tibetan ‘medieval’ law has been the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo (7th century CE). Several Tibetan historical texts of the post-imperial period in the 10–14th centuries provide references to Songtsen Gampo’s Buddhist influences in the development of Tibetan law.  One such text is the mid-14th-century Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long, also known as The Mirror Illuminating the Royal Genealogies (Sorensen, 1994), composed by a Tibetan cleric, Lama Dampa Sonam Gyelsten.The British Library has a manuscript example [OR.5351] of this work, date of creation as yet not determined, which was collected by Dr. Waddell and bought from him in May 1898, several years before the Younghusband Expedition, a British invasion of Tibet (1904). Apparently this manuscript has not been studied by Western scholars. The presentation will look at the structure of the manuscript contents and pay attention to some of the passages that make references to Tibetan law of the Tibetan Empire period (7th–9th centuries).