Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tibetan weights and measures


A Tibetan bre measure










A Tibetan scale








Thursday, November 26, 2009

Random notes on kha-btags





Although everyone who knows Tibet and Tibetans knows the use of the kha btags, but there is still more to explore about them. In Tibetan texts we find besides the simple kha btags also the kha btags mthing khra, the btsun btags, the zing btags, and the bkra shis kha btags. Other types are mda' rgyal kha btags and chod dar kha btags.


mda' rgyal kha btags
(Photograph kindly provided by
John Vincent Bellezza)


To what these names refer could be either the material of which the kha btags is made (ding phon kha btags), the place of origin (pi cing kha btags), the colour and design (kha btags mthing khra) or the occasion and purpose when it is given.


ding phon kha btags
kha btags kun bzang mchod sprin ma
kha btags che legs
kha btags dkar mthing
kha btags dkyus legs
kha btags 'dom 'khor ma
kha btags ma rig gnyid sangs ma [che legs]
kha btags nyin padma
kha btags nyin bde ma [che ba]
kha btags dkon cog rin chen ma [che legs]
kha btags rtags brgyad nyin bde ma
kha btags nyin bde chung ba
kha btags yi ge ma [che legs]
kha btags nyin bde ma tshos sna lnga nas
kha btags 'khor lo ma [che legs]
kha btags rnam dbang ma
kha btags dbang ldan ma
kha btags rnam bcu dbang ldan ma [che legs dmar po]
kha btags gser par ma
kha btags pA tse
mda' dar kha btags che legs
mda' dar kha btags gos dmar
nang cing kha btags
nor bu cha bdun gyi ri mo yod pa'i kha btags
pho brang kha btags [khra bo]
pi cing kha btags
rnam gzhag kha btags 
bsod nams kha btags (bsod btags)
gser gyi rtags brgyad yod pa'i kha btags
rtags brgyad kha btags
snyan shal kha btags
dben rtsa kha btags


kha btags dkar dmar sngo gsum
kha btags dkar ser
kha btags tshon sna lnga
kha btags tshos kha sna tshogs
kha btags sngon po yi ge ma [che ba]
kha btags ljang gu zung 'brel yi ge ma [che ba]

All these names are collected from 1) the Fifth Dalai Lama's autobiography, 2) the regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho's 'Dzam gling rgyan gcig dkar chag, 3) the Seventh Dalai Lama's collection of letters


I have found some new species in documents from the 19th century:


nang mdzod
bar mdzod
phyi mdzod
san shi
a she
lha sku ma
chos 'don
srid bde
srid bde ser po
bkra shis kha btags dkar po

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some Tibetan Place Names




The following list of Tibetan place names [in Wylie transliteration] has been taken from Choephel's [chos 'phel] Gangs can bod kyi gnas bshad lam yig gsar ma, vol. 1 = lho kha khul gyi gnas yig. [[ISBN 7-105-05049-7]]


gong dkar rdzong khongs
tshe chu sgrub sde
gong dkar bshad sgrub gling
sngon gyi gong dkar rdzong shul
bde chen chos 'khor
rnam rab dvags po grva tshang
rva smad dgon
rdo rje brag
jo bo 'bum pa
pha dam pa sangs rgyas kyi dgon pa
bdun phud chos 'khor
gsung rab gling
dga' tshal ma Ni lha khang
'bum dang

gra nang rdzong khongs
mtsho rgyal lha khang
mngag sgra dgon
tshar gseb ri khrod
sgrag yang rdzong
rdzong sku 'bum
gra thang dgon
byams pa gling
ri bo rnam rgyal
dga' tshal sbug
stod grong dgon
o rgyan gling
dar rgyas chos gling
sdings po che
snye mdo dgon
smin grol gling
tshong 'dus grva tshang
bsam yas dgon
g.ya' ma lung
mchims phu
gsang sngags chos 'khor gling

sne gdong rdzong khongs
bya sa lha khang
dga' ldan chos 'khor gling
lnga mchod grva tshang
'bras bu gling
gsang sngags gzim spyil
sne gdong rtse tshogs pa
ban tshang dgon
khra 'brug
ri bo chos gling
yum bu brla mkhar
rtag spyan 'bum pa
chos sdi gong
g.ya' bzang dgon
rgya bza' khang
bkra shis chos sde
ras chung phug
bai ro phug
rgod thang 'bum pa
tshe chu 'bum pa
shel brag
btsan thang
ke ru lha khang
bkra shis do kha


'phyongs rgyas rdzong khongs
dpa' bo dgon
thang po che
tshe ring ljongs
dpal ri dgon
srong btsan lha khang
ri bo bde chen
spyan g.yas
lam rim dgon

zangs ri rdzong khongs
gdan sa mthil
zangs ri mkhar dmar
rdzings phyi
bsam gling dgon
chos bsam
'ol dga' chos lung
'chad dkar chos sde
lba nag chos khang

chu gsum rdzong khongs
ri sgo chos sde
mdo mkhar chos sde
bla 'dren dgon
dga' rnam rgyal
rgya ri dgon
klog chos sde dgon
e sgre dgon pa
stod gzigs

rgya tshva rdzong khongs
dvags po bshad sgrub gling
chos 'khor rgyal
lha mo'i bla mtsho
rva sgreng 'khrungs khang
dvags lha sgam po

lhun rtse rdzong khongs
mkhar steng dgon
gsang sngags chos gling
tsa ri
bra 'or dgon
rti'u ra dgon
zangs chen dgon
dre'u lhas dgon
ri thang dgon

mthso sna rdzong khongs
dgon pa rtse

mtsho smad rdzong khongs
smra bo lcog
gnas gzhi dgon

lho brag rdzong khongs
thig phyi dgon
spro ba dgon
mkhar chu dgon
lha khang
sras mkhar dgu thog
gro bo lung
chos sde dgon

sna mkhar rtse rdzong khongs
brag ra dgon
stag lung dgon
chos sde dgon
bsam sdings dgon





The following list of Tibetan place names [in Wylie transliteration] has been taken from Choephel's [chos 'phel] Gangs can bod kyi gnas bshad lam yig gsar ma, vol. 2 = lha sa khul gyi gnas yig. [[ISBN 7-105-06422-6]]

grong khyer lha sa
po ta la
lha sa gtsug lag khang
ra mo che
tshe dpag lha khang
rje 'bum sgang
rgyud smad pa
rme ru dgon gsar
bstan rgyas gling
rme ru rnying pa
karma shag
yul ring lha khang
mtshams khang dgon
phyogs bzhi'i rigs gsum mgon po'i lha khang
rab gsal btsan khang
spro bde khang gsar
bzhi sde
tshe smon gling
brag lha klu sgug
lcag po ri
kun bde gling
bar ma ri
nor bu gling ka
rdzong rgyab klu khang
'bras spungs dgon
gnas chung grva tshang
lha lung ri khrod
dgon pa gsar ri khrod
brag ri ri khrod
gar ri dgon
pha bong kha
chu bzang ri khrod
se ra dgon
grva bzhi dgon
ke'u tshang nub ri khrod
rva kha brag
phur bu lcog
mkhar rdo ri khrod
gnas sgo gdong
ne phyung ri
ri brgya bsam gtan gling
tshal gung thang
tshe mchog gling


stod lung bde chen rdzong
sangs rgyas dgon pa
rnam rgyal ser khang
gsang phu dgon pa
nyi ma thang
spe ser dgon
stag lung brag
gzhong pa lha chu
skyor mo lung
dga' gdong dgon
ra tsha dgon
spar phu dgon
mtshur phu dgon
gnas nang dgon
snyan dgon pa
mtsho smad dgon pa
lam pa dgon pa
rva skor dgon pa
chu bzang dgon pa
g.yu thog dgon pa
stod lung chu tshan
sding kha dgon
phyir mig lung
mkha' lung ri khrod


chu shur rdzong
snye thang sgrol ma lha khang
snye thang bkra shis sgang
ra stod dgon
gnam 'brug dgon
'jang dgon
'ur zhang dgon
shug gseb dgon
zangs yag brag
byang chub dgon
thar pa gling
chos 'khor yang rtse
skyid tshal dgon


snye mo rdzong
rgyas byed dgon
chos sde dgon
'gro ba mchod rten
ru dgon
bzang ri dgon
bai ro dgon


'dam gzhung rdzong
yangs pa can
sga lo dgon
la thog sgar pa
gnam mtsho
rkyang rag dgon
khang dmar dgon


lhun grub rdzong
grab gser dgon
khams lung ri khrod
chos sdings dgon
dga' ldan chos 'khor
lcags ri dgon
glang thang dgon
nA lendra
dpal ldan rtse
rag ma byams khang
grub rgyal dgon
lo tsA dgon
rgyal lha khang
spyan legs dgon
se smug dgon
na mo dgon
sne mo dgon
gzim khug dgon
bsam gtan steng
dgon pa gsar pa
lha mo khang
shar dgon
sna mkhar dgon
'bri lung dgon
rgya grags dgon
sne'u zur dgon
rin chen brag
po to dgon
brag rgyab dgon
stag lung dgon
rva sgreng dgon
bsam gtan gling dgon
jo gdan dgon
'ben rdza dgon


mal gro gung dkar rdzong
rtse zhol dgon
rdzong rtse dgon
nyi ma lcang rva bshad grva
yang ri sgar
g.ya' ma ri khrod
'bri gung mthil
gter sgro dgon
chos lung dgon
ma ra dgon
zhva lha khang
a yang dgon
thang skyabs dgon
ka tshal dgon
ru thog dgon
rin chen gling
spangs sa dgon
mkhar skya dgon
'chad ka dgon
rgyal steng dgon
dag pa dgon
theg chen bshad sgrub gling
rab rgyas gling


stag rtse rdzong
btsun mo tshal
la mo dgon
tsher gseb dgon
dga' ldan dgon
bde chen gsang sngags mkhar dgon
brag yer pa
'brom stod sku 'bum dgon
phag mo dgon
ba dgon pa
khyung tshang dgon
lo dgon pa
zhogs dgon


The following list of Tibetan place names [in Wylie transliteration] has been taken from Choephel's [chos 'phel] Gangs can bod kyi gnas bshad lam yig gsar ma, vol. 3 = gzhis rtse khul gyi gnas yig. [[ISBN 978-7-105-09225-3]]



rgyal rtse rdzong khongs
ra lung dgon
dben bdag dgon
gling bu dgon
sngon gyi rgyal rtse rdzong
rgyal rtse dpal 'khor chos sde
dpal 'khor chos sde'i mchod rten bkra shis sgo mang
dga' ru dgon
rgod lung ri khrod
rtse chen dgon
'brong rtse dgon
smyung gnas lha khang
theg mchog gling
klu ri dgon
myang mtsho dgon
rgyal smad dgon
dben rtsa dgon
bya khyung dgon
skyid sbug dgon


khang dmar rdzong khongs
gnas rnying dgon
gtsang sbra dgon
brag dmar dgon
dga' ldan chos gling
g.ye dmar dgon


gro mo rdzong khongs
sprin zam dgon
ri chung po to
gro mo dung dkar dgon
g.yu drung lha sde dgon
skyid tshal dgon
gro mo bka' brgyud dgon
kham bu chu tshan
dge ru dgon


gam pa rdzong khongs
mchod rten nyi ma dgon


gting skyes rdzong khongs
gzar chos 'khor dgon
dgon pa byang


ding ri rdzong khongs
ze dkar rdzong
sos snga chos sde
shel dkar chos sde
rong phu dgon
gangs ri jo mo glang ma
ding ri gla 'khor


gnya' lam rdzong khongs
dge steng dgon
gnya' lam 'phel rgyas gling


skyid rong rdzong khongs
rdzong dkar chos sde
brag dkar rta so
'phags pa dgon


sa dga' rdzong
shel ri dar rgyas gling


'brong pa rdzong khongs
skra bdun rtse


ngam ring rdzong khongs
lha brag dgon
'od gsal gling
bkra bzang dgon
ngam ring chos sde
gcung ri bo che dgon
bzang ldan dgon


lha rtse rdzong khongs
mngon dga' chos sde
bla ma thang stong
'dar grang mo che
thub bstan dge 'phel
dar rgyas gling
mu gu lung
dgon pa shar
bsam grub dgon gsar
lha rtse chos sde
phun tshogs gling
bo dong e dgon
byang shong dgon


bzhad mthong smon rdzong khongs
grva tshang dgon
steng dga' dgon
ri rgyal dgon


gzhis rtse rdzong khongs
bkra shis lhun po
bde chen skal bzang pho brang
rgyan gong
zha lu dgon
ri sbug dgon
snar thang dgon
ngor dgon
gser mdog can dgon
dben dgon


pa snam rdzong khongs
grangs med can dgon
bse brag sgrub sde
spos khang dgon
mdangs can dgon
dge lding dgon
dge 'phel gling
dga' sdong dgon


sa skya rdzong khongs
sa skya dgon
kha'u brag rdzong
o rgyan lha khang
gangs can dgon


rnam gling rdzong khongs
shangs dga' ldan chos 'khor gling
rin chen sgang
bde chen rab rgyas
dgon pa gong
stag sna dgon
gzhong gzhong dgon
rtse gdong dgon
ru lag g.yu drung gling


rin spungs rdzong khongs
byams chen dgon
g.yu phu rdza lhung



The following list of Tibetan place names [in Wylie transliteration] has been taken from Choephel's [chos 'phel] Gangs can bod kyi gnas bshad lam yig gsar ma, vol. 4 = mnga' ris khul gyi gnas yig. [[ISBN 978-7-105-09794-4]]




spu hreng rdzong khongs
gsal ba lung
khrus sgo dgon
'khor chags dgon
dgung 'phur dgon
bshad 'phel gling
'go btsugs dgon
byi'u dgon
glang sna dgon
gangs ti se rgyal spyi'i sman rtsis khang
gangs rin po che
chos sku dgon
'bri rva dgon
rdzu 'phrul phug
ser lung dgon
rgyang grags dgon
dkar dung dga' ldan lha khang
nam mkha' khyung rdzong
rtse brgyad lha khang
log pa lha khang
rkang rtse'i rtsva phu lha khang
zhi sde lha sde dgon
bon ri dgon
bya skyibs dgon






rtsa mda' rdzong khongs
khyung lung dga' ldan lha rtse
gdong po rab brtan dgon
mda' pa bkra shis lhun po dgon
ma nam dgon
gu ge rgyal rabs kyi mkhar shul
mtho lding dgon
mkhar rtse jo bo og dkar dgon
phyi dbang dgon
dung dkar bkra shis chos gling dgon
gram lha khang
va chen phug
shang rab brtan byams pa gling
dga' ser bsam gtan dar rgyas gling
lhag pa dgon
mgon phug lha khang
snub bkra shis chos gling dgon
nyi dbang phug
lugs brag gdong mgnon dga' dgon
yib ri dgon
gser gti dam chos gling dgon
maNDal lha khang
gsum dkyil byang chub gling dgon
tsho rub lha khang
bar kyog phun tshogs rab brtan gling
mkhar rag lha khang
mar g.yang lha khang
gti g.yag lha khang
rad ni pad ma rmad byung gi gtsug lag khang
skyug pa lha khang
ri lde sgang dgon
rong chung phu ri dgon
ri ba lo tsA ba'i lha khang dkar po
ri ba bkra shis chos gling
ri pa'i ma Ni lha khang
zhi khro lha khang
chu gser lha khang
steng 'phags mthong ba don ldan
za rang bkra shis chos gling dgon
bye dkar rnam rgyal lha rtse dgon
bye dkar lha yul dgon
rtsa rang blos btang dgon
rdo gsham mug mkhar dgon






sgar rdzong khongs
bkra shis sgang dgon
pri ta pu ri
gu ru gyam
gyam smug lha khang
sgar mdun chu dgon






ru thog rdzong khongs
ru thog dgon
gud pa'i mtsher lung lha khang
dbod byung khul gyi gnas rnying khag
gtsag phu ma Ni lha khang






dge rgyas rdzong khongs
brag skya d
gon
klu khang dgon
mar mig dgon
gzhung pa'i skya bo lha khang






sger rtse rdzong khongs
bkra shis chos gling dgon
brag gyam dgon
bde chen dgon
stong tsho ma Ni lha khang






mtsho chen rdzong khongs
'bur dkar dgon
sman sdong dgon
mtsho chen jo mo dgon

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tea in Tibet

The following is just a short note on tea in 17th century Tibet and the use of different tea brands as salaries given by the central Tibetan government to officials and employees, such as local and foreign craftsmen.
When reading original Tibetan sources of the 17th century it becomes obvious that quite a number of different tea brands were circulating in Tibet. The following brands are collected from the writings of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) and the regent Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1653-1705):

nag po
nag gsar
tA tshang / tA tsha
se hrug
khyim 'jug
ya ju / yA ju / yag ju / yags ju = the quality of yA ju was superior to 'u zi.
spu ja / spus ja
sha shan
'u zi = was regarded as tea of normal quality: dkyus ja 'u zi
zi ling spu ja = quality tea from Ziling
sa'an tsha / san tshA
ya ju za'u 'dres pa = Yaju mixed with Za'u
hu ja / hu ja nag po
zi ling nag ja = black tea from Ziling
rgya ja nag po = Chinese black tea
shir ja / shi ra ja /
stod ja
'jang ja / 'jangs ja = green tea???
ping cing spu ja / pi cing spu ja = quality tea from Beijing
gnam ja
ja ldur
se ljang
sog ja = tea from Mongolia
sha phing / sha bing
shan ja = sha shan
seng ja

Except nag po and nag gsar (= nag po gsar pa) these names seem to be Chinese names and consequently we find many different spellings in Tibetan texts.

Some of these brands had a higher value than others and the price of the different tea brands was fixed according the Lhasa market price (khrom thang).

While searching Tibetan eTexts of the 16th and 18th century it turned out that the above-mentioned brands do not occur in those texts. But it should be kept in mind that the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) and in particular the regent Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1653-1705) were very precise in registering the different tea brands. Such matters were perhaps of no interest to other writers of earlier or later periods. May it be as it is, we think, that the list above can be used in dating documents from that period when other hints are missing. Such is the case with the She-bam-chen-mo, a collection of Tibetan legal material, from the second part of the 17th century.


The tea brand yA ju is recorded in the biography of PaN chen Dpal ldan ye shes (1738-1780), in the modern western book-style edition on p. 155 and elsewhere. Other tea brands in this biography are:

ljon ja (?)
rtse ja
gzhung ja 


In the Biography of Shakya mchog ldan we find two other tea brands (fol. 54b, 2-3):

ri shing
and
rkyang zi

rkyang zi seems to be "pure Zi ling tea"

(This reference was kindly provided by Volker Caumanns.)

More will follow in due course.




Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sitahu


A sample of a glegs thag
from Thailand

In their descriptions of precious Kanjur volumes, the Fifth Dalai Lama and the regent Sangs rgyas rgya mtsho call the rope [glegs thag], which holds the bookblock together, si ta hu. There are different spellings of this word:


si ta hu,
si tha hu,
si ta ho,
se ta hu, and
se ta ho.
This indicates that the word is a loan, perhaps from Mongolia or China.The colours of a si ta hu glegs thag are either red, white or blue. The colour green also occurs, but the colour which is mainly used is red.

The si ta hu is plaited [lhas ma].


The glegs thag is sometimes called sku chings [= waist belt].

[Kundeling Archives, Bonn University]
Document 012 1-2/#/33/6/4 > sdong lhas ser po'i glegs thag
Document 012 1-1/#/17/9/4 stong lhad ser po'i glegs thag

skyi rgya'i glegs thag are presumably made of leather


zhal khebs = cover (for thang sku or the first pages of handwritten books). As a cover of the first pages of highly decorated manuscripts (written for example in ink made of gold or silver) the zhal khebs can consist of several layers (brtsegs) from one to five (lnga brtsegs).
As for the material used as zhal khebs we find ding phon, gos chen, ling, bzang gos, and kha thi.


CRAFTSMEN

sngo bzo ba = workers who dye the paper (?)
bu lag = bu tsha lag do = young helper, (German: "Handlanger")
g.yer yig = calligraphy, stylish writing

gzi rgyab = to polish paper with a gzi-stone to give it a shean
ri mo 'dri gdan = drawing board
> She bam chen mo (17th century)

bu tsha lag do
> 5DL > zin tho 1652


MEASURES & WEIGHTS

Measurements and weights in Tibet were never completely standardized. Each time and location had its own system and even the centralised government of the Fifth Dalai Lama was not able to fix the measurements for all corners of the vast Tibetan plateau.

Length

sor = width of a finger
mtho = 8 sor, the fist with stretched thumb
rgyug mtho = 12 sor, a span

khru = cubit = 3 mtho = 2 rgyug mtho
'dom = 4 khru

1 'dom = 4 khru = 12 mtho = 96 sor

Analogous to rgyug mtho one can find rgyug 'dom, the fast way of measuring cloth by holding it between one's stretched arms.

Let's add a new reference to the mysterious Tibetan weights and measures : Gangs can rigs mdzod vol. 14, a collection of (obscure though beautiful) texts on bzo rig, pp. 81-82, : da ni snga phyi gzhal 'degs bshad pa rnams kyi tshad bshad par bya'o / 'dir bre srang gi tshad sman dpyad dang mthun pas / 'grel {pa} zla zer dang / sha li ho tra sogs las bshad pa mang yang / 'di ni gzhung tshad rang gis 'thus pas / de ni yul sa shed bzang [p. 82] ngan mnyam pa'i nas 'bru che drug la se ba re / se ba nyi shu la zho re ste / zho re la nas 'bru brgya dang nyi shu re yod la /


[[nas 'bru 6 = 1 se ba
se ba 20 = 1 zho
zho 1 = 20 x 6 = 120 nas 'bru]]


yang gzhung lugs snga ma la se ba nyer lnga rer 'gur zho re byed cing / phyis a bo snga 'dzoms kyis se ba sum cu re la zho re byas pa gzhung gi khrims zho zhes che tshad du grags pa dang / 
rgyud lugs la se ba nyer bzhir zho re byed cing / nas 'bru gsum la ra ti re dang / ra ti gnyis la se ba byed pa yod do / 
srang re la spor re yang zer / 
gzhal byed kyi tshad ni / nas 'bru che chung gnyis 'bring gnyis bcas drug 'di kham tshig 'bring gi tshal ya gang dang / kham tshal drug ltar tshal drug / bya mo 'bring gi sgo nga gang / bya rgod [sgo nga] drug la mkhar phul gang / mkhar phul drug la mkhar bre gang / mkhar bre nyi shu la mkhar khal gcig ste mkhar ru'i 'bo gang byed pa yin no //