The history of the book in Tibet involves more than literary
trends and trade routes. Functioning as material, intellectual, and
symbolic object, the book has been an instrumental tool in the
construction of Tibetan power and authority, and its history opens
a crucial window onto the cultural, intellectual, and economic life
of an immensely influential Buddhist society.
Spanning the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Kurtis R.
Schaeffer envisions the scholars and hermits, madmen and ministers,
kings and queens who produced Tibet's massive canons. He describes
how Tibetan scholars edited and printed works of religion,
literature, art, and science and what this indicates about the
interrelation of material and cultural practices. The Tibetan book
is at once the embodiment of the Buddha's voice, a principal means
of education, a source of tradition and authority, an economic
product, a finely crafted aesthetic object, a medium of Buddhist
written culture, and a symbol of the religion itself. Books stood
at the center of debates on the role of libraries in religious
institutions, the relative merits of oral and written teachings,
and the economy of religion in Tibet.
A meticulous study that draws on more than 150 understudied
Tibetan sources, The Culture of the Book in Tibet is the
first volume to trace this singular history. Through a single
object, Schaeffer accesses a greater understanding of the cultural
and social history of the Tibetan plateau.
Subjects: Language & Literature, History, Religion
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.