Tsongkha History and Historiography New Evidence and Reflections on Tibetan and Chinese Sources

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Penghao Sun



Almost no trace of the eleventh-century Tibetan kingdom of Tsongkha remains in extant Tibetan materials; to write its history, scholars have therefore had to rely almost exclusively on Chinese sources written during the Song dynasty. This paper identifies a hitherto undiscovered colophon preserved in the Tibetan Bud- dhist canon as belonging to a translation that was produced through the patronage of the Tsongkha royal court in 1068 or 1080. This colophon provides the Tibetan versions of the names of the Tsongkha king Dongzhan, the queen Xinmu, and their capital/palace. Not only does this new source offer us a valuable local insight into this mysterious Tibetan kingdom, it also raises questions concerning the perception of Tsongkha by Song Chinese literati and Central Tibetan clerics during and after the eleventh century. The paper proffers a description and interpretation of the ambivalent status held by this border region among its two neighboring regions.

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