An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Deb-ther dmar-po (Hongce 紅冊)

Jul 11, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Deb-ther dmar-po "Red Annals", in Mongolian Hu-lan deb-ther, in Chinese Hongce 紅冊 or Hongshi 紅史, is a history of China from the viewpoint of a Tibetan noble named Kun dga' rdo rje (pronounced Künga Dorje, Chinese Gongge Duo'erzhi 公哥朵兒只, 1309-1364). The book was written in Tibetan, but bore a Mongolian title.

Beginning with the origin of Buddhism in India and some Buddhist dynasties in India, Künga Dorje describes the Chinese dynasties from the Zhou 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) to the downfall of Song 宋 (960-1279). He then proceeds to China's neighbours who had established Chinese-style states, like the Western Xia 西夏 (1038-1227), as well as the and the Mongols from their origin to the end of the Yuan dynasty 元 (1279-1368).

The last part of this chapter must have been written by another person - Künga Dorje died just before the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644) was founded. The central part of the book is nevertheless the history of Tibet from the early kings to the transmission of Buddhism and the development of the Tibetan schools of Buddhism.

The Deb-ther dmar-po is divided either into 26 or 8 parts - depending on the edition.

Künga Dorje retired from his office as commander of the Chaliba brigade (Chaliba wanhu 搽里八萬户 or Caiba wanhu 蔡巴萬户) in 1352 and started compilingseveral historical books about Tibetan history which are very important for the historiography of Tibet (Tubo 吐蕃) in its early centuries.

A Chinese translation was created by Chen Qingying 陳慶英 and Zhou Runnian 周潤年 (1988), Hongshi 紅史 (Lhasa: Xizang renmin chubanshe), and an English one by Mitsushima Tadasu 光嶌督 (1985), Bonkyō Ramakyō shiryō ni yoru Toban no kenkyū ボン教・ラマ教史料による吐蕃の研究 ('A Study of T'u-fan [Tubo] based on the Historical Sources of Bonism and Lamaism') (Kyoto: Seibundo).

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