Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Mysterious Whitehead

In considering the history of ideas, I maintain that the notion of ‘mere knowledge’ is a high abstraction which we should dismiss from our minds. Knowledge is always accompanied with accessories of emotion and purpose.
— Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas, 1933.

In the heart of Armenia, both corporeal and spiritual, stands the Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, about 1700 years old, and founded on a still more ancient fire altar. Although not so well known to the world at large, it is a very holy place for Armenian Christians, more or less equivalent to the Vatican for Roman Catholics or the Jokhang for Tibetan Buddhists. Inside a tower attached to the Cathedral is a large bell with a Tibetan inscription. I haven’t yet been able to see a photograph of the letters, but hope to before long. It isn’t certain when the bell came to Armenia, but it is at least possible that it was supplied at the time the bell towers were built. The main bell tower was finished in 1657 by the Catholicos Yakob, and was further decorated in 1664. Soon after, in 1682, three further bell towers were added by Catholicos Eliazar. I’m told the Tibetan bell was still there last summer.

In the heart of the old city of Lhasa still today lies the Buddhist ‘Cathedral’ known abroad as the Jokhang. Carbon datings have apparently confirmed that the main wooden structure of the Jokhang really does date back to its founding in the first half of the seventh century during the reign of Emperor Songtsen Gampo, who died in 649 give or take a year. As strange as this might sound, there is or was a Christian bell, minus its clapper, hanging in the vestibule of the Jokhang, although at the moment it may lie in storage. It was left as a relic of the Capuchin missionaries, who kept a chapel in Lhasa during the first half of the 18th century.

L. Austine Waddell was a member, the chief medical officer, of the Younghusband Expedition that made war on Tibet in 1904 for its apparent refusal to communicate. To quote Younghusband himself, “to impress them ... that they should no longer look upon us as people to be roughly and rigidly excluded, but, on the contrary, respected and welcomed.” Making war in order to be welcomed is an interesting concept indeed. While in Lhasa Waddell was especially keen to find the site of the Capuchin chapel. The Capuchins first arrived in Lhasa in 1707 and came and went until their chapel was destroyed in 1745. Its bell must have been moved to the Jokhang. Waddell says:

“One of the interesting old memories of Lhasa is the community of the Capuchin fathers that lived here for so many years about two centuries ago, and were given a tract of land where they built a chapel, to which the Grand Lama and the Governors seem to have paid friendly visits. I made repeated attempts to ascertain the site of this chapel [It was on a piece of land called Shar gyud Na-gar or Sha-ch'en Naga, which seems to have been near Ramoché temple] with absolutely no definite result, no vestiges of any such building, nor of even the traditions of ‘White’ Lamas, were elicited.”

The Latin inscription on the bell? TE DEUM LAUDAMUS TE DOMINUM. These are the first words of the well-known liturgical hymn Te Deum, the first sentence of which may be translated, “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.” Tibet was no stranger to bells. Bells with Tibetan-language inscriptions were being made inside Tibet, no doubt employing Chinese expertise, already in the late 8th and early 9th century, as we know from bells surviving in Yerpa, Samye and Trandruk (their Tibetan inscriptions were studied by Hugh Richardson).

In the Earth Dragon year of 1688 CE, a Tibetan lam-yig, a road-pass or ‘letter of safe conduct,’ was issued by the Tibetan government. The recipient is therein named as Mgo-dkar I-wang-na. Mgo-dkar means a ‘Whitehead,’ a term that is in itself rather mysterious, whose name was I-wang-na. We know that I-wang-na represents the name Hovhannes, the Armenian form of Johannes, or ‘John.’ One person named Hovhannes son of David was present in Lhasa from 1686 to 1692. He was probably just one in a string of Armenian merchants, all working for the same trading company, one that kept an office in Lhasa from sometime in the 1660’s until the Dzungar invasion of 1717. The trading company had its center in the town of New Julfa, close to the city of Isfahan in Iran. New Julfa was a town created in 1605 by Shah 'Abbas (re. 1587-1629) after he moved his capital to Isfahan in order to house Armenian silk merchants and artisans that he forcibly removed from Old Julfa (see Aslanian, etc.). These Armenians were no doubt largely responsible for the marvelous tile-work that is still Isfahan’s crowning glory. Their trade network soon extended deep into Russia reaching as far as Sweden and Amsterdam. They by turns competed with and cooperated with the East India Company (with the picture complicated by the Dutch, Portuguese and others) at trading ports from Persia to Bengal. We know the names of some other Tibet-based Armenians, including one by the name of Dawith who assisted the Capuchin missionaries that arrived in Lhasa in 1707 by acting as their interpreter and locating suitable lodgings for them. The reason Hovhannes is better known than all the others is because we have a ledger in which he recorded his business transactions, one that has been published.

As Richardson astutely observed, it hardly seems possible that a lam-yig dated 1688, one which clearly indicates a journey from Lhasa to India, would have been issued to our Hovhannes son of David, since he left Lhasa only in 1692. His ledger mentions that while in Lhasa he did business with yet another Armenian ‘John,’one named Hovhannes son of Sarkis (equivalent to Sergius). Which Hovhannes was the travel document meant for? I really don’t know, but it does seem to me that Hovhannes son of David could have intended to return to India in 1688, and received the lam-yig, but in the end had to postpone his trip. The ledger of Hovhannes son of David survived (in Portugal) because of his contacts with the Europeans in India who took an interest in it (their obvious interest being in pursuing their own trade interests in Tibet). I imagine the lam-yig, which we know belonged to one John Evans before he passed it on to Hyde, would have been preserved for more or less the same reasons.

By the way, this lam-yig is the very first Tibetan-language document that was made available through publication in Europe. The book in which it appeared is by the famous Iranologist Thomas Hyde (1636-1703), Professor of Hebrew and Arabic at Oxford and inventor of the word cuneiform. It saw light in the year 1700. Its longer title is Historia religionis veterum Persarum, eorumque magorum: ubi etiam nova Abrahami, & Mithræ, & Vestæ, & Manetis, &c. historia, atque angelorum officia & præfecturæ ex veterum Persarum sententia: item, perfarum annus ... Zoroastris vita, ejusque et aliorum vaticinia de Messiah è Persarum aliorumque monumentis eruuntur, primitiæ opiniones de Deo & de hominum origine referantur, originale Orientalis Sibyllæ mysterium recluditur, atque magorum Liber Sad-der, Zorastris præcepta seu religionis canones continens, è Persico traductus exhibetur: dantur veterum Persarum scripturæ & linguæ, ut hæ jam primo Europæ producantur & literato orbi postliminio reddantur, specimina: de Persiæ ejusdemque linguæ nominbus, déque hujus dialectis & à moderna differentiis strictim agitur.

Are you still with me? I realize that was a lot of Latin for most of us. Today we just don’t make titles like we once did. The Tibetan document, in cursive script, was engraved and published in this book about Persia as a curiosity only. Hyde knew a number of languages, but Tibetan was not among them. He could make neither heads nor tails out of it. He even thought that it had to be read from right to left, like Persian.

When the lam-yig was published once again in 1833 by the famed Hungarian Tibetologist Alexander Csoma de Körös (Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, 1784-1842), he interpreted Mgo-dkar as meaning literally Whitehead, but what is more Mohammedan (or, as we more appropriately say today, Muslim). I can’t be entirely sure that Csoma was mistaken on this point. It is true that during the Fifth Dalai Lama’s time there is plentiful evidence for the presence of Muslims in Lhasa, who were generally called ‘Kashmiris’ (in Tibetan, Kha-che; actually, I’m uncertain when Lhasa people first started calling only Muslims ‘Kashmiris’ since it was sometimes applied to Buddhists from Kashmir as well). There are stories circulated in some Muslim communities that the Great Fifth Dalai Lama actually converted to Islam, unlikely as that seems (see Gaborieau).

Here is what the travel document says. I’m not sure of some of the readings (there are several mispellings of key words), and will not attempt a full translation (Csoma de Körös made a translation, but it isn’t always reliable, as Wylie has pointed out).

chos 'khor dpal gyi lha sa nas / rgya gar 'phags yul bar gyi lam du 'khod pa'i / ser skya drag zhan lha sde mi sde / rdzong bsdad [=sdod] gnyer las 'dzin / sog bod hor 'brog / ir 'chi'i 'brul [='grul] 'grims / lam 'phrangs bsrung bkag / rgan mi dmangs / bya ba zhi drag gis snye slebs bcas mtha' dag la springs pa / lha sa phun tshogs lcang lo can gyi 'gron po mgo dkar i wang na can mi bzhi zhon khal bcu drug bcas nyi kho'i [=nyer mkho'i] tshong gyur grubs nas rang yul du log 'gro bar / rta'ur [=rta 'ul] gyi[s] mtshon gang spyi'i sar dog gnas su gang 'gro las / sne gor 'phrog bcom sogs gnod 'gal du log par 'phro brtan ma byid par phar phyir du bde bar 'grims chug / zhes sa 'brug zla tshes la / lugs gnyis kyi mdun sa chos 'khor chen po dpal gyi lha sa nas bris / [smaller letters:] bod sa'i zla 'dres med cing lo thog mi khal gyi 'khri sgrub khri byung phyin bde bar 'gril chug / [attached official seal in an illegible script that looks like 'Phags-pa]

To give a précis of this typically verbose official document: It is addressed to everyone, regardless of who they might be, situated along the route from Lhasa to India. It asks them to assist by such means as supplying horses to, and not hindering the progress of, the Whitehead I-wang-na, four riders altogether who were guests of the Puntsog Changlochen in Lhasa, who have finished selling their stock (?), and are now on a return journey to their own country, bringing with them sixteen loads [of merchandise].

What does Whitehead mean? In this particular context it was applied to an Armenian merchant, but there is good reason to think that it is a larger or more flexible category than that. Listen to what the Jesuit Tibet-missionary Ippolito Desideri says (De Filippi’s book, An Account of Tibet, p. 211): “We European Missionaries are regarded and respected as Lamas, and are called Gogar Ki Lama (Go-kar, ‘white head’), or European Lamas, and we are acknowledged as spiritual directors and masters of our Law, and as monks, because we are not married.”

If you check the “Index of Tibetan Words” at p. 461, you see a comment next to the entry for “Gokar Ki Lama,” which says that Carlo Puini (in his Italian edition of Desideri's work) had also suggested mGo-'khor, ‘confused, absent-minded head,’ which is rather funny, huh! Desideri certainly heard the term in reference to himself, and understood it to mean European, not muddle-brain. That much ought to be perfectly clear.

I’ve once noticed a place where mgo-dkar is used as one of several things that characterize old people, hence ‘grey hair.’ And I think in general it means people with light-colored hair, just as mgo-nag, a much more frequent term, means people with dark/black hair (and not *literally* heads). Armenians do tend to be dark-haired, but there are among them some with lighter hair. I imagine even in cases where it appears in Tibetan names (like Mgo-dkar-ba), it probably means the same thing.

In the first volume of the Regent’s three-volume biography of the Fifth Dalai Lama, we read:
“Not only the countries of the mgo-dkar such as Yer-khin (=Yarkand) and Bu-rug (?) which were under the power of these [western Mongols or Oirats], but also [the lands of] the kings of Russia (Rgya-ser) and India — in brief, most of Jambudvipa — were covered by the light of the religion and government of this All-Knowing One and the Wheel of profound (=Nirvanic) and extensive (sangsaric) religion was turned [there].” (Changed only slightly from p. 274 of Ahmad's translation.)
This passage makes it sound like Whitehead means someone from Yarkand and points further west, but not including Russia.

Take down from your shelf if you are so fortunate as to have it Ho-Chin Yang, The Annals of Kokonor, and check page 70, where there is a fairly long discussion of mgo-dkar. Yang’s general conclusion is that it just means Muslim. Evidently Tucci once said it means the Chahars.

In the first volume, back side of folio number 184, of the three-volume autobiography of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, in a part corresponding to the year 1652, is this passage, which I located easily in the digital version of the text made by Christoph Cüppers and Tsering Lama (Lumbini):

zi ling mkhar nas mgo dkar jan co dpon g.yog lnga bcu tsam 'ongs pa'i kha btags brgya bam gsum / gos yug bdun / rta sga ma gnyis / sbag ja brgyad / shing 'bras ro phun sum tshogs pa khal gsum gyi phyag rten dang bcas rgya lugs kyi phyag dang zhe sa gzengs bstod byed / lha gang yin dris par gnam yin zer ba dbang phyug dang khyab 'jug lta bur skyabs su song bar brten nyi zlas mtshon par phyag byed pa zhig yod tshod du 'dug pas / zla ba nyi ma rlung sa mkha' / zhes snyan dngags me long nas bshad pa dang mthun par snang.

To paraphrase, it says that a Whitehead named Jan-co, chief and attendants altogether numbering about fifty, came from Xining Fort and made offerings of [1] three packages of one hundred offering scarves (katags), [2] seven bolts of silk, [3] two horse saddles, [4] eight bricks of tea, and [5] three bushels of some very tasty fruits. They performed obeisance and offered pleasantries in the Chinese style. Upon being asked what their deity was, they said it was the sky, which would certainly seem like bowing toward something marked by the sun and moon, relying on going for refuge to something like Ishvara or Vishnu. It seems like what is taught in the Poetry Mirror [of Dandin], “Moon, sun, wind, earth, sky.”

Sorry if I'm paraphrasing on the fly, without any real carefulness. Communications were not good, obviously, but I wonder if these might have been Christians in the court of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. ‘Lord of Heaven’ was after all the term then used in Chinese (Tianzhu) to refer to the Christian deity. Here it looks as if His Holiness took them to be primitive nature worshippers. The visit occurred just a few years too early to be the Austrian Jesuit John Grueber. He came to Tibet in 1661, and he did come by the same route, through “Sining-fu.”

I really don’t know who Jan-co was. He could have been a European, an Armenian, or even, I suppose, a Central Asian Muslim. A study of all the usages of the term Whitehead by the Fifth Dalai Lama and his Lhasa contemporaries ought to be done, since His and their understandings are the ones that have to be followed by us in pursuit of Jan-co.

One possibility that at least vaguely suits the sound of Jan-co would be Johann Schall (full name: Johann Adam Schall von Bell). His life falls within the correct time frame (1591-1666). This Jesuit astronomer, while native to Cologne, was a Chinese civil servant of the first rank, belonged to and eventually headed the Imperial Board of Astronomy. His being an astronomer, I suppose, could have contributed to the impression of sky worship. And Schall was very highly Sinicized, perfectly capable of kowtowing and exchanging courtly pleasantries in the Chinese style. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to look into much of the literature, the greatest problem is that I haven’t seen one bit of evidence that he ever visited Tibet. He is known to have stayed in Singan-fu (Singan-fu means the capital of Shensi province, once the capital of China known as Chang-an, and nowadays as Xi'an, so please don’t confuse it with Sining-fu) earlier on, during the years 1627-1630. In 1652, the church he founded in Peking was completed, so he had other things on his plate. And there’s the question of time, since the Peking-to-Xining-to-Lhasa route would have taken several months each way in those days — about two months just to get from Peking to the Sino-Tibetan frontier post of Sining-fu (see Yamaguchi's article). The trip was known to be extremely arduous, and cases are known of people who died of exhaustion at the end of it. Besides, Schall was personally responsible for getting imperial approval for Grueber’s trip to Tibet. It is difficult to imagine that Schall made it to Lhasa before Grueber, when history gives all the credit for this accomplishment to the latter.

Finally, there is the interesting problem that in the same year of 1652, the final nine months of the year, the Fifth Dalai Lama was traveling on an official state visit to Peking. Apparently included among the many gifts and offerings made during the visit, was this portrait sculpture of the Fifth Dalai Lama Himself that was presented to the Emperor:

Schall was certainly behind the astrological calculations that were used to persuade the Emperor that it would be unwise for him to do as he had planned and pass beyond the Great Wall to greet His Holiness (Norbu article). He was not alone in the opinion that this would be ‘going too far’ in terms of protocol. It’s possible (and I’m only saying that it’s possible) that Schall was sent on a semi-secret yet official mission to Lhasa as part of the on-going Sino-Tibetan negotiations over the arrangements surrounding His Holiness’ visit.

So in the end, I just have to say I don’t know a number of things. I’m not really sure who Jan-co was. I’m not sure what a Whitehead really was supposed to be in 17th-century Lhasa. I don’t know how or exactly when that Tibetan bell landed in Armenia. Not yet. As a conclusion, this has to be rather unsatisfying. But before signing off, let me return for a moment to the quote from Whitehead that for some mysterious reason heads this essay. I’m not sure I agree with him that emotions and interests are ‘accessories’ to knowledge. Far from being incidental ornaments, I would say they have a lot to do with the formation of the very categories that we make use of in the practice of our logics and then let pass for knowledge. Why are we interested? Or, since I’m not sure you are interested, better yet, Why am I interested? When the Nestorian inscriptions were rediscovered in China in 1625, the missionaries made a lot of hay out of them: “A proof of Chinese susceptibility to the Christian Truth... and a stimulus to missionary work” (Szczesniak). They were thinking, ‘Hey, look! You people have had Christianity for a very long time. So why not accept us now instead of putting obstacles in our way?’ It clearly suited their interests to link with the Nestorians, even while having full knowledge that Nestorian Christological doctrines were, in their own points of view, entirely heretical. Being a semi-Buddhist agnostic/gnostic with various other religious sources of inspiration (Christianity itself only sometimes among them), I really don't care to promote any specifically Christian interests. It is a little bit more difficult to blithely deny — given that I am in truth a primarily Anglo/Euro-type natively-born North American situated in the Middle East, one with some good Armenian acquaintances to boot — that some of my own personal interests could have motivated or framed the bits of research that have been done here. But bear in mind that sometimes the Tibetanist's lot is a lonely one, and we want to communicate to the society around us, to engage the attention and interest of even the more narrowly ethnocentric among us. But my present task as a Tibeto-logical thinker is a Tibeto-centric one. I hope I have succeeded in drawing up a small sketch that puts cracks in the stereotype of Tibet as a place cut off from the world. It's a country right here with us on the ground, living and breathing in our times. Just so or, well, nearly so, it was an integral and meaningful part of Eurasia during the rule of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama. Some degree and kind of globalisation was in process at that time. And that remains true even if, limiting ourselves to what has been said within the bounds of this essay, the international presence in Lhasa would seem to have been mostly mercantile and proselytizing in nature. If these interests were being played out on a less than even playing field, we cannot pretend that today that field is necessarily more even or equitable. We should not be quick to dismiss the past based on ill-considered assumptions that things have gotten better, or all that much better, meanwhile.

And finally, I hope Tibetans will find in these investigations a source of pride in the past and encouragement for the future. There is real reason to take pride in the pursuit of that admirable Buddhist virtue of tolerance (Tibetan zöpa, or kshanti in Sanskrit, one of those Paramitas that go far beyond the bounds of duty) that enabled Tibetan society in the 17th century to often welcome and sometimes embrace the strangers among them: the Armenians, the Muslims, and yes, the European Christian missionaries. Oh yes, you’re right, I neglected to mention the Chinese, Indians, Mongolians and Newars. Now that people from every culture are living in practically every country, it’s increasingly important that we look back to times like these and find out how, and just how well, they did it. It’s in our interests.

Acknowledgements: Of the many who have met or joined me at some stage in my quest, I would like to single out Christoph Cüppers (Lumbini) and Sergio La Porta (Jerusalem) who offered information and suggestions for improvement via email while the writing was in progress.

§  §  §

Sources of information and suggestions for further reading:

Zahiruddin Ahmad, Sans-rGyas rGya-mTSHo, Life of the Fifth Dalai Lama: The Fourth Volume, Continuing the Third Volume, of the Ordinary, Outer Life, Entitled "The Fine Silken Dress," of My Own Gracious Lama, Nag dBan Blo-bZan rGya-mTSHo, Page 1a-Page 203a, International Academy of Indian Culture (New Delhi 1999).◊◊◊

Anonymous, Relics of the Catholic Mission in Tibet, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 17. Not seen.

Sebouh Aslanian, Social Capital, 'Trust' and the Role of Networks in Julfan Trade: Informal and Semi-Formal Institutions at Work, Journal of Global History, vol. 1 (2006), pp. 383-402.◊◊◊

Sebouh Aslanian, "The salt in a merchant's letter," the Art of Business Correspondence, Courier Networks and Their Role in Julfan Economy and Society, Journal of World History, forthcoming (Winter 2007). Not seen.

Sebouh Aslanian, Trade Diaspora Versus Colonial State: Armenian Merchants, the English East India Company, and the High Court of Admiralty in London, 1748-1752, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring 2004), pp. 37-100.◊◊◊

Vahé Baladouni & Margaret Makepeace, Armenian Merchants of the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries: English East India Company Sources, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. vol. 88, no. 5 (1998), pp. i-xxxvii, 1-294. Not seen.

Luce Boulnois, Musc, or et laine: le commerce à Lhasa au XVIIe siècle, contained in: Françoise Pommaret, Lhasa, lieu du divin: la capitale des Dalaï-Lama au 17e siècle, Éditions Olizane Geneva 1997), pp. 163-189.◊◊◊

Vahan Bourtian, International Trade and the Armenian Merchants in the Seventeenth Century, translated by Ara Ghazarian, Sterling Publishers (New Delhi 2004). Not seen.

Sushil Chaudhury, Trading Networks in a Traditional Diaspora: Armenians in India, ca. 1600-1800, paper submitted for presentation at the Session 10, "Diaspora Entrepreneurial Networks, ca. 1000-2000" of the XIIIth International Economic History Congress, Buenos Aires, 22-26 July 2002. Paper made available in PDF format on the internet.◊◊◊

B.E. Colless, The Traders of the Pearl: The Mercantile and Missionary Activities of Persian and Armenian Christians in East Asia VI: The Tibetan Plateau, Abr-Nahrain, vol. 15 (1974-5), pp. 6-17. Not seen.

J. Dauvillier, Les Arméniens en Chine et en Asie centrale au moyen âge, Mélanges de sinologie offerts à M.P. Demiéville (Paris 1974), pp. 1-17. Not seen.

Simon Digby, Some Asian Wanderers in Seventeenth Century India: An Examination of Sources in Persian, Studies in History, vol. 9, no. 2 (1993), pp. 247-264. Not seen.

Isrun Engelhardt, Between Tolerance & Dogmatism: Tibetan Reactions to the Capuchin Missionaries in Lhasa, 1707-1745, Zentralasiatische Studien, vol. 34 (2005). Not seen yet.

R.W. Ferrier, The Armenians and the East India Company in Persia in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries, The Economic History Review, n.s. vol. 26, no. 1 (1973), pp. 38-62.◊◊◊

Filippo de Filippi, ed., An Account of Tibet: The Travels of Ippolito Desideri of Pistoia S.J., 1712-1727, George Routledge & Sons (London 1932), especially p. 211.◊◊◊

Marc Gaborieau, ed., Tibetan Muslims, a special issue of Tibet Journal, vol. 20, no. 3 (Autumn 1995).◊◊◊

Samten Karmay, The Gold Seal: The Fifth Dalai Lama and Emperor Shun-chih, translated from French by Véronique Martin, contained in: The Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet, Mandala Book Point (Kathmandu 1998), pp. 518-522.◊◊◊

L. Kachikian & H.D. P'ap'azyan, ed., Hofhannes Ter Davtean Jughayetsu Hashvetumar'e [Accounting Ledger of Hovhannes Ter Davtean of Julfa], Metenadaran (Yerevan 1984). Not seen.

Levon Khachikian, Le registre d'un Marchand arménien en Perse, en Inde et au Tibet (1682-1693), Annales: économies, sociétés, civilisations, vol. 22, no. 2 (1967), pp. 231-278. Not seen.

Levon Khachikian, The Ledger of the Merchant Hovhannes of Joughayetsi, Journal of the Asiatic Society, 4th series, vol. 8, no. 3 (1966), pp. 153-186.

Athanasius Kircher, China Illustrata, with Sacred and Secular Monuments, Various Spectacles of Nature and Art and Other Memorabilia, translated from the Latin by Charles van Tuyl, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (Bloomington 1987). Original Latin edition: Amsterdam 1667.◊◊◊

Hsiao-ting Lin, When Christianity and Lamaism Met: The Changing Fortunes of Early Western Christian Missionaries in Tibet, Pacific Rim Report, no. 36 (December 2004).◊◊◊ Might be available via internet.

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, University of Chicago Press (Chicago 1998).

Clements R. Markham, Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa, Cosmo Publications (New Delhi 1989), first published in 1876.◊◊◊

Jamyang Norbu ('Jam-dbyans-nor-bu), A Jesuit Missionary Undermines the 5th Dalai Lama's Prestige, Lungta, vol. 11 (Winter 1998), p. 19.◊◊◊

Hugh E. Richardson, A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions, Royal Asiatic Society (London 1985).◊◊◊

Hugh E. Richardson, Armenians in India and Tibet, Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 1 (1981), pp. 63-67. Republished in Hugh Richardson, High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected Writings on Tibetan History and Culture, Serindia (London 1998), pp. 462-467.◊◊◊

Hugh E. Richardson, Reflections on a Tibetan Passport, contained in: Hugh Richardson, High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected Writings on Tibetan History and Culture, Serindia (London 1998), pp. 482-485. Originally published under this title: Reflections on "Translation of a Tibetan Passport Dated 1688 A.D." by Alexander Csoma de Körös, contained in: Louis Ligeti, ed., Tibetan and Buddhist Studies Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Csoma de Körös (Budapest 1984), pp. 211-214.◊◊◊

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Indian Intellectuals at the Court of the Fifth Dalai Lama, 1654-1681, a paper given at the symposium 'Tibet and Its Neighbours,' Harvard University, April 23-25, 2000.◊◊◊

Toni Schmid, A Tibetan Passport from 1714, Ethnology, vol. 6 (1954), pp. 57-60; also contained in: Contributions to Ethnography, Linguistics and History of Religion: Reports of the Scientific Expedition to the North-Western Provinces of China under the Leadership of Dr. Sven Hedin, Volume VIII: Ethnography 6, Statens Etnografiska Museum (Stockholm 1954), pp. 59-68.

Linda K. Steinmann, Shah 'Abbas and the Royal Silk trade 1599-1629, Bulletin, British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 14, o. 1 (1987), pp. 68-74.◊◊◊

Michael J. Sweet, Desparately Seeking Capuchins: Manoel Freyre's Report on the Tibets and Their Routes (Tibetorum ac eorum Relatio Viarum), Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, vol. 2 (August 2006), pp. 1-33.◊◊◊

Baleslaw Szczesniak, Athanasius Kircher's China Illustrata, Osiris, vol. 10 (1952), pp. 385-411.◊◊◊

Fulgentius Vannini, The Bell of Lhasa, Capuchin Ashram (Agra 1976). Not seen.

L. Austine Waddell, Lhasa and Its Mysteries, with a Record of the Expedition of 1903-1904, John Murray (London 1905), especially pp. 10-11, 425.◊◊◊

C. Wessels, Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia, 1603-1721, Martinus Nijhoff (The Hague 1924).◊◊◊

Turrell V. Wylie, Notes on Csoma de Körös's Translation of a Tibetan Passport, contained in: Christopher I. Beckwith, ed., Silver on Lapis: Tibetan Literary Culture and History, The Tibet Society (Bloomington 1987), pp. 111-122.◊◊◊ Note that this publication is now available for free download in PDF format via the internet.

Turrell V. Wylie, Tibetan Passports: Their Function and Significance, Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 12, no. 2 (1968), pp. 149-152. Not available to me at the moment.

Zuiho Yamaguchi, Methods of Chronological Calculation in Tibetan Historical Sources, contained in: Louis Ligeti, ed., Tibetan and Buddhist Studies Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Alexander Csoma de Körös, Akadémia Kiadó (Budapest 1984), pp. 405-424. At page 411, note 20, is a long and interesting discussion of travel times between Chinese capitals, Amdo and Lhasa. It would take about 75 days of travel time between Lhasa and Kumbum Monastery in Amdo. But this seems to be based on the travel speeds of nobility and religious hierarchs. Envoys (perhaps 'pony express' type relays) could get messages from Lhasa to Peking in as little as 30 days, but even they would usually take between three and five months.

Ho-Chin Yang, The Annals of Kokonor, Uralic and Altaic Series no. 106, Indiana University (Bloomington 1969).◊◊◊

Francis Younghusband, The Geographical Results of the Tibet Mission, The Geographical Journal, vol. 25, no. 5 (May 1905), pp. 481-493, plus map.

Postscript: I'd just like to point out that an online resource has recently appeared. Here [I apologize for the lost link] you may find, in the third line beneath the red seal, the words Mgo-dkar Bla-ma, which is translated "Lama teste-bianchi" in the Italian translation. This document issued by the office of the Dalai Lama, is dated January 6, 1724, or, to give the date Tibetan style, the 11th day of the 12th month of the Water Hare year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Two Dedications

I plan to write something here soon, and I assure you it won't be mainly about politics. Still, I would like to start by dedicating this blog to Woeser, a young woman author of several books who has the name 'Od-gsal in Tibetan and Wei Se in Chinese. Her Tibetan name is the same as the word the Sikkimese teacher Kazi Dawa Samdup (or was it Evans-Wentz?), in the book entitled The Tibetan Book of the Dead, translated as Clear Light. It can probably be better translated as Luminosity. Her writings have been banned for telling the simple truth: that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is almost universally revered by Tibetans in Tibet, and his return is one of their greatest hopes. Although evident to anyone who has traveled in Tibet, this is an inconvenient truth for the authorities who have stripped her of her job and of her freedom of movement. Her two blogs called "Woesar Blog" and "Maroon Map" were recently closed down by the PRC authorities, for wishing His Holiness a happy birthday, among other things. I admire and respect her courage. May her light shine brightly. She is quite a fine writer. Sample some of her writings by following the links from here.

At the same time I would like to make a dedication to Drolma Kyab (Tibetan spelling Sgrol-ma-skyabs, 'Protection of Târâ'), a 30-year-old man who committed the crime of simply writing (not publishing) a book about Tibetan history. Unknown to the world, he was arrested in March 2005, and is set to serve out a ten-year prison sentence. Since I share his interest in Tibetan history, I have a special reason to make his plight more widely known, and by every means possible. May Târâ protect him. I will be traveling for the next six weeks, but by the time I get back I hope to have more to say on something besides the suppression of expression. I am lucky enough to live in a place other than the People's Republic of China, so I can express myself freely. Thank goodness (not Google) for that.

Monument at the site of the Nazi book burning in Berlin
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