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).

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