Information in this post is drawn from published sources and Kham Aid Foundation archives.
For nearly three centuries, the Derge Parkhang, or Printing House, (Tib: སྡེ་དགེ་པར་ཁང། Ch: Dege yinjing yuan 德格印经院) has served as a repository of Tibetan literary and religious culture like no other in the Tibetan cultural region. Established in 1729 and constructed in stages through 1750, the Parkhang houses over two hundred thousand hand-carved wooden blocks for printing works on philosophy, religion, and other topics, as well as images ranging from intricately detailed deities to simpler illustrations accompanying text. These blocks continue to be used in time-honored fashion to print traditional loose-leaf volumes venerated by Buddhists and studied by scholars throughout Tibet and elsewhere.
As the largest of three major traditional printing houses within the Tibetan regions of China, the Derge Printing House (DPH) is an important repository of the teachings of philosophers both inside and outside Tibet. It is also the only traditional printing house within the Tibetan cultural region to preserve texts from the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya orders of Tibetan Buddhism, lineages that have been largely displaced by the dominant Geluk sect over most of the plateau. Formally known as the Derge Sutra Printing House and Tibetan Culture House, the Parkhang has also been named a National Protected Heritage Site by the Chinese government and is protected under Chinese law.
Because the great majority of Tibetan writings are religious in nature, the DPH was sacred from its inception. As a result, the three-story, 5,886 square-meter edifice includes two chambers where Buddhist rites are performed. These rooms were elaborately decorated with approximately 170 square meters of murals, some of which survive today. As rare and exquisite examples of the Karma Gadris style, these three-hundred-year-old murals provide a glimpse into the development of Tibetan art and the history of Buddhist representation.
Derge county is situated in the southeastern Tibetan plateau, in the People’s Republic of China, in Sichuan province immediately to the east of its border with Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Derge County, meaning “land of benevolence” in Tibetan, lies within the Kandze (Ch:Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The region has a long history of Buddhist literature, art, and learning, and is considered one of the three main centers of Tibetan intellectual culture. The printing house rests within the county seat, Gönchen (དགོན་ཆེན།. Ch: Gengqingzhen 更庆镇), a town of about 10,000 inhabitants1 that sits at an elevation of 3,100 meters, surrounded by steep mountains.
Derge may be reached by road from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. In the 1990s, the trip required three days and entailed summiting several formidable mountain passes, the highest of which is Tro La (4916 m). Now, thanks to transportation improvements, the same road trip takes about a day and a half; also, there is also an airport in neighboring Kandze (Ch: Ganzi) County and a tunnel beneath Tro La. Within Derge County are fifty-seven established monasteries, representing the four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, Tibet’s indigenous animist faith.
Derge has an agrarian economy centered on subsistence agriculture and herding. Many rural people also earn cash from the sale of caterpillar fungus, a medicinal product that is gathered wild in the highlands. The region receives heavy subsidies from China’s central government to sustain public services such as roads and schools.
The building and locations of its murals
The entire building, which faces south, is about 50 meters long by 30 meters wide by 15 meters tall.2 The building plan has a classic courtyard-style arrangement with an ornate entrance at the center of the southern facade. The exterior walls are made of rammed earth, up to 150 cm thick at the base, and in 1991 were buttressed by a low encircling wall of stone blocks. From the outside, the front and rear elevations have windows; the east and west walls have none. The roof is flat but broken by several smaller structures such as lanterns, drop-ceiling skylights, and chimneys.
The building houses the printing block library, workshop, and various other rooms that support the printing process. It also houses two sizable chambers that are purely religious in appearance and function. I am here terming them “chapels,” to distinguish them from the assembly halls found in free-standing temples, for the Parkhang chapels lack many of the accouterments such as an ornate central altar that are typical of the larger spaces.
The walls at either side of the Parkhang’s grand entrance and the ceiling above it are decorated with murals that appear to date from the early 1990s, when extensive repairs were made to the building. On the north side of the courtyard, at ground level, is a covered arcade held up by twelve pillars. Visitors in April 1991 noted that the arcade’s rear wall, which is 240 cm thick at the base and holds up the upper floors of the building, was covered with beautifully painted but damaged murals, which were in the process of being removed.3 These murals were subsequently repainted. On the third floor of the main part of the building is an archive where the printing blocks are stored; these rooms are also said to have once been decorated with murals, although I personally have never noticed them and do not know if they remain extant.4
Murals are also found in each of the two chapels. The East Chapel is about 2.45 meters above ground level and is accessed via stairs leading from the courtyard. This room is 21.2 x 14 meters in size and has four rows of eight pillars holding up the ceiling and floors above. All of the original wall paintings in the East Chapel have been lost; it contains only murals dating from 1992 and also some bare walls where even the new paintings did not survive.
The West Chapel is also raised above ground level and is accessed from the courtyard. This hall is 24 x 14 meters in size. Like the East Chapel, it has four rows of eight pillars, and its perimeter is lined with clay statues. The West Chapel contains some murals believed to date from the original construction of the DPH. From an art history perspective, the West Chapel is the most important part of the complex.
Significance of the murals
The Derge Printing House was the crown jewel of an empire ruled by “Dharma-King” Tenba Tsering (1678-1738), who expanded the Derge chiefdom from the narrow valley of the Ser River to include the five chiefdoms of Derge, Sershul, Pelyul, Dongpu, and Dengke,5 an empire said to encompass 70,000 families.6 During that period, Derge was a flourishing center of art, where the New Menri tradition and Karma Gadris “Encampment” style of painting were practiced and perfected. Artistic innovation was one of the hallmarks of the kingdom, and paintings from this region show influences not present in other areas of the Tibetan cultural region.
Mural work was common in Derge; up until 1950, it’s likely that all large, affluent monasteries had decorated walls in their main assembly halls. Today, however, surviving examples are few and far between. The best preserved murals are found at Pewar (Ch: Baiya) Monastery, in an isolated valley several hours’ travel from the Printing House. These murals, miraculously untouched by the scourge of the Cultural Revolution, were successfully restored in a four-year program led by Kham Aid Foundation and completed in 1998.7 Aside from this amazingly intact collection, most of Kham’s artistic heritage was willfully destroyed, succumbed to the ravages of time, or sacrificed in the name of reconstruction. Wall paintings at famous monasteries such as Palpung, Dzogchen, Shechen, and Dzongsar have been entirely lost. The DPH and Pewar are therefore the only sites in Kham known to me where wall paintings from the 18th century C.E are preserved.
Professor Yang Jiaming, a prominent scholar of Tibetan architectural and cultural history,8 writes: “All the paintings are works of the Karma Gadris school, except one Green Tara belonging to the early Men [Menri] school. As to the artistic style of the paintings, as summarized by Situ Chökyi Jungné (si tu chos kyi ‘byung gnas), the stroke and color application of the Karma Gadris school has absorbed the style of fine brushwork painting of the inland [Chinese interior] while applying Indian painting style in the layout of the spacial environment. In general, they have succeeded the tradition of the Men[ri] and Qin schools, having at the same time the advantages of the above three styles and clear features of their own. For instance, their human profiling is rich, and coloring [is] clear-cut and elegant, to give the whole painting a strong subject sense.”9
Beyond their rarity and intrinsic worth as beautifully-executed works of religious devotion, the Parkhang murals may hold clues about the place and era in which they were painted–clues that may not be unlocked for some time to come.
Materials and techniques
The information in this section comes from a report by conservator Sandro Baroni, who visited the DPH in the summer of 2000 and kindly provided a condition assessment to Kham Aid Foundation.
The techniques used to apply paintings to the walls of the Parkhang began with the rammed earth walls that enclose each of the two chapels.10 To prepare a flat and stable surface for the murals, the walls were coated with a mixture of clay, grass, straw, crushed stones and fragments of dead branches. After this layer had dried, another layer of fine clay, a few millimeters thick, was applied and flattened using flat tools and stones. The clay was coated with a glue-like sealant to decrease its absorbency; then a white primer was applied, half a millimeter thick, composed of calcium carbonate with added silicate or chalk, mixed with a binder.
Following application of the white primer, the surface was subdivided into squares and portions by the artist in order to be painted. The borders of these areas were usually marked using ochre and a brush or they were engraved using a sharpened instrument, such as a nail or the point of a horn. The vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, and particularly the outlines of the largest figures, were drawn using a stylus or a brush, taut threads, and compasses. Then, the figures were sketched in yellowish ochre according to patterns whose dimensions and proportions are established by tradition according to precise geometrical standards.
In defective areas where the painting had been lost, Mr. Baroni found that the stratigraphy of the paintings was clearly visible without the need of specific analyses or probing. He noted that the binder applied to white priming layer seemed quite sensitive to water, and that it was composed mostly of proteins, likely coming from glues obtained from hides or cartilage. The binder also contained traces of carbohydrates, likely obtained from starch (cereal flour) or natural rubber. In a manner similar to the primer, the pigments were mixed with binder composed of proteins and a smaller amount of carbohydrates.
The actual painting was carried out in phases on the prepared surface. The first step in the execution of a figure consisted in the application of a layer surrounding the figures, followed by the background painting of primary colors for complexions, clothes and backgrounds. The next phase was to render the volumes. Finally, details were defined such as eyes, mouth and nose, together with the ornamental patterns of the clothes.
In the end, the last contours were traced using dark, often black, colors. Although the patterns are fixed by tradition, Mr. Baroni nevertheless detected some differences within the paintings and noticed substantial variations from both a technical and an artistic point of view. His observations suggest that the work of two or more different master artists can be distinguished in the finished paintings.
With the permission of the DPH Director, Mr. Baroni collected flakes of paint that had fallen to the floor for analysis. The materials identified in the pigments are shown in the table below:
Orpiment (Arsenic trisulphide)
Not surprisingly, Mr. Baroni didn’t find any flakes of gold leaf lying on the floor, although it’s clear that gold was employed. These materials are consistent with those found at Pewar Monastery. The latter included ochre, earth colors, cinnabar, minium, azurite, malachite, traces of red Lac, metal lamina, and gold leaf.11
Kham Aid Foundation never had the opportunity to develop a complete catalog of the paintings’ contents, nor have I discovered one in the published materials available to me. Professor Yang Jiaming summarizes the contents as follows: “The subject-matters are mainly Buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, and dharma-dharakas, etc. Representative works include The Sakya Buddha in the lower storey of the grand sutra hall and The Buddhist Stories in the lower storey of the lesser Sutra hall.” 12. His book shows numerous photos of paintings, but does not describe where they are located in the building. Those photos depicting paintings that appear to be original (and therefore located in the West Chapel) are captioned as follows:13
- White Protective Vajra dgon dkar yid bshin nor bu
- The Great Kubera dgon khar gi ldebs brus las rnam sras skya brgyad
- The Buddha of All Vision mdzad brgya dpag bsam ‘khyi shir gi cha shas
- The Protecting Deity with Treasured Rod gur gyi mgon po
- The Protective Ekazazhi e ka dza ti
- The Kamadhatu Apsara ‘dod khams bdag mo
- The Auspicious Protective Deity dpal mgon shal
- The Cintamani Protective Deity mgon po deng
- The Bahya-artha Yamaraja gshin rze chhos rgyal
The general appearance of the DPH murals is consistent with the paintings at Pewar, suggesting that the same artists were responsible for both.
Damage and subsequent repairs
During the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, the Derge Printing House ceased operation and was used by the local government as a hospital and warehouse. The clay-covered roof, which would normally require yearly reconditioning, was poorly maintained, and water seeped into the building fabric. The presence of water weakened the rammed earth walls and led to the formation of cracks. The moisture within the walls caused many problems for the murals that are detailed later in this post. Furthermore, fumes from stored chemicals caused the pigments to discolor, while workers carelessly gouged the walls with tools and the like, creating holes and pits in the painted surfaces.
In 1979 the DPH was restored to its original purpose: the printing of Tibetan texts. Printing blocks were brought out of hiding and restored to their proper places or re-carved where necessary. By 1987, the Parkhang was already attracting buyers from India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim.14 The government sponsored repairs, completed in stages from 1979 to 2004.15 The greatest amount of work was completed between 1987 and 1991 at a cost of 3.25 million yuan.16 It included replacement of nearly all interior timber members, bolstering of the exterior walls, replacement of the roof, addition of fire protection measures, installation of a drainage ditch, and paving of the circumambulating path and road outside the building.
I was personally acquainted with the foreman who led repairs to the building at that time, for he later worked on Kham Aid Foundation’s projects. Shongshong was a local Derge man, highly regarded for the depth of his knowledge of the traditional building techniques used in Derge, for which timber and clay were the principal materials. Although Shongshong was a master of these materials and the techniques employing them, he did not have, so far as I know, any formal training in historic preservation, nor did he have much exposure to construction techniques used outside the Tibetan cultural region.
He did not prepare blue prints or other measured drawings but instead used simple hand-drawn sketches to communicate to the workers what was needed. His decision to strengthen and stabilize the exterior walls was with an encircling . A deeply religious man, he asked for and received little cash compensation for his efforts to repair and revive Derge’s sacred sites. His selection as foreman reflects both the strong influence of the local government over the project at that time and the paucity of funds available to execute it.
When Shongshong and his crew of local builders began working, the paintings in the arcade were damaged but contained some intact portions. These paintings were removed and destroyed during the repair effort, although CERS documented that efforts were made to replicate their contents in the paintings that replaced them.17. Also, in 1992, the murals in the East Chapel were completely repainted. Meanwhile, in the West Chapel, in-painting and re-touching were performed to fill in gaps in the historic paintings. The intent of this work was not to “conserve” the paintings consistent with conservation principles as understood in the West. Instead, the intent was religious: to make whole the paintings’ damaged faces and symbols, so that worshippers could properly venerate them.
In 2001, Kham Aid Foundation was awarded a grant by the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. Together with other donors, the funds paid for a site survey performed by experts from the Sichuan Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute (Sichuan Sheng Wenwu Kaogu Yanjiu Yuan 四川省文物考古研究院). The result was a set of measured drawings and a detailed report, including a conservation plan that emphasized improvements to the building’s water resistance and management of runoff on and around the building.
At that time, it was clear that the biggest problem facing the DPH building and murals continued to be water infiltration. The building sits on a steep hill that brings a torrent of runoff, especially during the summer monsoon. The pavement at the northeast corner of the DPH is several feet higher than that of the southwest corner, and there was no drain on either the north or the east sides of the building. Drainage from the roof was also inadequate. As a result, rainwater was running into the foundation. This was manifested on the exterior as surface erosion, which had been repaired by application of a mud stucco. Water was being drawn up via capillary action into the walls, resulting in a visible band of dampness 1.5 to 2 meters from ground level on the eastern wall.
In 2004, the Sichuan Provincial Commission for Ethnic Affairs again allocated 1.6 million yuan for the protection and restoration of the DPH building, carved panels, and murals.18 Published information suggests that most if not all of the work accomplished with these funds was aimed at preservation and engraving of printing blocks for a Buddhist text known as the Kangyur.19. I have been unable to discover if any of these funds were used for the wall paintings. In 2007, it seemed that the condition of the wall paintings was little changed, although new columns had recently been installed in the West Chapel.
Last known condition
In general, it is difficult to track changes in condition over time due to the difficulty of taking photos inside the temples. The county government usually prohibits photography inside assembly halls of the DPH and of Derge’s monasteries. Although I have been occasionally granted permission to take photos of the DPH chapels, my visits have been infrequent, and permission was not always forthcoming. Even when permitted, photography is technically challenging due to the low light and presence of numerous obstacles such as ceremonial items, columns, and statues. Consequently, the information I present here is based partly on photos and partly on observations by Kham Aid Foundation personnel and others such as Mr. Baroni.
In the East Chapel, virtually no original wall paintings have survived, and murals painted in 1992 are in poor condition. Thus, in the East Chapel, there is no point at attempting conservation, although it remains highly desirable to stop water infiltration so that new paintings can be applied and can endure.
At the time of my most recent visit in 2007, the surviving West Chapel paintings of the ancient cycle, which covered the whole of the southern and western walls of the room and were present as fragments on the remaining walls, were fairly well preserved, but in the chapel’s northwest corner, serious exfoliation was occurring from the base upwards. Rising damp was probably also causing salts present in the walls to crystallize behind the painted surface, contributing to more losses. Large portions in the northwest corner were peeling off, although at that time they remained attached to the portion above. In general, the portions that were peeling off were not original to the building but were replacements for the originals that had been lost earlier.
During his visit in 2000, Mr. Baroni observed cracks of various sizes in the superficial plaster layer, as well as blisters and deformations of the same layer, which also shows crumbling, instability, and loss of paint.20 Further deterioration of the paintings had been caused by biological or microbiological attacks, mechanical damage and abrasions, and splashes of lime or paint. He concluded that the main causes of damage were water infiltration, settling of the structure, and imprudent initiatives for maintenance and integrative restoration, particularly with respect to non-transpiring whitewashing or background preparation for the modern paintings.
In the West Chapel, Mr. Baroni observed that the surviving ancient paintings appeared to have been modified chromatically by a thick, semitransparent layer applied to the surface. This layer, probably of proteinaceous material, had been applied as a kind of varnish; it subsequently darkened and in some places had acquired a brown color. It was easily water-soluble, as was the rest of the painting, and it incorporated dust, soot, and greasy dirt. A similar coating was observed by Kham Aid Foundation personnel at Pewar Monastery.21
Throughout the surviving ancient murals, unskillful in-painting and retouching is evident. (See, for example, the Mahakala and Sakyamuni images). The use of modern tempera or gouache colors containing chemical synthetic pigments and cheap plaster (used as a base coat for the fresco painting) to fill in missing sections has resulted in repairs that are largely incompatible with the original colors and materials. In Mr. Baroni’s judgement, these interventions are, fortunately, easily reversible, and it is possible to remove them without causing further damage to the original, which, in some cases, might even be restored to what it was beneath the later additions.
Areas of the murals left untouched showed signs of severe water staining and, in certain areas, imminent delamination, thus threatening further loss of original material. Cracks present in the walls of both temples remained unchecked for activity (movement) and require consolidation in order to safeguard the building and ensure the preservation of the murals. As already mentioned, the main damage observed by Mr. Baroni was moisture infiltration through a capillary ascent from underground; this was particularly evident in the northern and eastern walls of the West Chapel. Here the ancient paintings were present only as fragments, and even the modern paintings hung in tatters, with large crumpled and detached pieces.
In the early 2000s, Kham Aid Foundation personnel observed that the ceilings of the upper floors showed signs of water damage. The wooden boards that constituted the ceilings were often discolored and, in some cases, even clearly rotted through from repeated wetting and drying. Wooden columns and their architraves had also suffered, perhaps in part to their own cyclical wetting and drying, and also to the increased weight of the soaked roof during the rainy season. This probably accounts for the decision to replace columns, resulting in work that I observed in 2007.
Despite successful restoration of parts of the building, according to the latest information available to me, the murals still face ongoing threats. I am not aware that any lasting solution has been found for the water issues that are slowly eroding the building and that prevent both new and old paintings from adhering well. As far as I know, a significant portion of the wall surface remains bare clay. These issues seemed comparatively stable up until 2007; however, what happened after that is not known.
In recent years, there has been an uptick in the annual rainfall experienced in Derge County.22 On the hillside above the DPH, it is likely that building improvements have reduced the water-absorbing capacity of the soil and increased the volume of runoff pouring directly into the plaza surrounding the DPH. The changing conditions mean that drainage interventions that once were sufficiently protective may not any longer be so.
Other cultural heritage conservation concerns
Besides the building itself and its wall paintings, the DPH is a vessel for preserving other signifiant cultural artifacts and practices. The most precious of these is the printing technique itself, which lies at the core of the institution’s mission. In 2006, China’s Ministry of Culture published an initial listing of 518 items of intangible cultural heritage that included the Tibetan engraving and printing techniques of the Dege Printing House. Three years later, the traditional practices of the DPH and two other organizations were further enshrined by UNESCO as representative of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage under the heading, “Chinese Engraving and Printing Techniques.”
Regarding the printing blocks themselves, they are a mixture of old and new, and are continually being replenished as they wear out. An inventory undertaken at some point prior to 2011 found a total of 228,814 plates, most of them textual but also including 376 pictorials.23 The collection includes the Kangyur (Buddhist canon), Tengyur (commentaries), and works of philosophy, medicine, history, biography, astrology, and other subjects.
For many years following its revival in 1980, the DPH purchased factory-made paper from Ya’an, but in 2000, the practice of traditional paper-making was revived in Derge. Regarding tangible culture, the DPH also possesses thangkas, statues, and other Buddhist artifacts of varying ages and provenance.
Framework for conservation and next steps
In 2000, the Sichuan Cultural Relics and Archeology Institute, under the supervision of the Sichuan Cultural Relics Bureau, issued the Tenth Five-Year Plan for the Protection of Cultural Relics of the Dege Scripture Printing Institute. Key elements included wall foundation reinforcement, groundwater and surface water treatment; safety and security; mural protection; beam framing and roof protection; and protection of the texts themselves. The plan also provided for continuation of the DPH’s core business of selling printed works as well as tourism development.24 Presumably, this plan was updated in subsequent five-year plans, although I do not have the details. As a national-level protected site, any activity at the DPH aimed at preserving or restoring its murals comes under the purview of the National Administration of Cultural Heritage.25
While I know that the Sichuan Cultural Relics and Archeology Institute made recommendations concerning drainage around the DPH and from its roof, I do not know if their recommendations were acted upon. The drainage problems must be resolved, as well as any structural damage caused by water penetration, or else work on the paintings could be wasted effort. Last I knew, the DPH was administered by the Derge County Religious Affairs Bureau, but the local management team has no authority to greenlight projects that significantly alter the building. My own experience suggests that any conservation and repair program undertaken in Derge requires the approval of authorities in Beijing as well as active cooperation from the Sichuan Bureau of Cultural Relics and the relevant prefectural and county officials. If any work is carried out by foreign nationals, the program will attract the interest of security organs, adding another layer of difficulty.
When the time comes for intervention to protect the remaining historic murals, I hope that the government will hire qualified and experienced conservators who can arrest the delamination of the painted layers, and remove past unskillful interventions such as the superficial coat of varnish. Given the importance the Parkhang as a place of active worship, I believe it is appropriate to replace lost portions with pigments that will blend in with the original work and to put up new, contextually-suitable paintings on the areas that are now bare clay, even if that is not a practice that would ordinarily be permitted under conservation principles as understood in the West. China’s National Administration of Cultural Heritage has carried out complex conservation programs in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute, and it no doubt has the capacity to develop and execute a suitable program of conservation at the DPH.
Mr. Baroni provided a report to Kham Aid Foundation presenting his technical recommendations.26 As he notes, it is absolutely important to prevent fires and keep out destructive pests such as rats. In meetings with local officials, Kham Aid Foundation has previously stressed the importance of a thoughtful and comprehensive visitor management plan; the threat of the DPH being “loved to death” has undoubtedly grown even more acute as access to the region has improved and domestic tourism has increased substantially.
While traditionally trained artists do not have the necessary knowledge to carry on the more technical aspects of the cleaning and consolidation work, they can and should play a role in the effort to reconstruct lost content. Of utmost importance is to carry out the work with respect for the religious feelings of the local community and the other indigenous stakeholders.
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Special thanks to Jonathan Bell, who led Kham Aid Foundation’s cultural heritage preservation program and spearheaded our efforts at the DPH.
- 2010 census
- Wong, How Man et al.,”Buddhist Monasteries of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Western Sichuan, China: A Project for Architectural Conservation Funded by the Getty Grant Program,” chapter 3.8, 1992, China Exploration and Research Society, collection of the Getty Conservation Institute (Los Angeles).
- Yang Jiaming 杨嘉铭, Dege Sutra Printing Academy 德格印经院, Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 2000, p. 51.
- Ibid., p. 49.
- Dege xianzhi 德格县志 [Annals of Dege County], Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 1995, p. 442.
- Logan, Pamela, Tibetan Rescue: The Extraordinary Quest to Save the Sacred Art Treasures of Tibet, Tuttle Publishing, 2002.
- Professor Yang passed away in 2020. A biography written by his widow is found here in Chinese and here in Google translation to English.
- Yang 2000, p. 51. I have copied verbatim this source’s included English translation except for the name Situ Chökyi Jungne, which I have taken from the Tibetan text on page 45.
- In the Tibetan cultural region, until the late 1990s, it was still possible to find traditional methods of construction actively used to construct new large buildings such as temples, but in the 21st century, cement has become the most common material, even for religious structures. Hence, techniques for painting rammed earth walls are little practiced in contemporary Tibet.
- Logan 2002, p. 387.
- Yang 2000, p. 51.
- Professor Yang’s book did not include the Sanskrit names for all of the images, and I chose not to attempt the translation myself and left unaltered the English representations in the book.
- Wong How Man, “Dege, A Tibetan Treasure House,” China Exploration & Research Society archives, 1987.
- Zhang Yunhe, “On the Development and Preservation of the Dege Sutra-Printing House in the New Era,” International Journal of Frontiers in Sociology (2020), ISSN 2706-6827 Vol. 2, Issue 3: 87-92, DOI: 10.25236/IJFS.2020.020311
- Yang Jiaming and Yang Yi 杨嘉铭, 杨艺, “Dangdai tiaojian xia dege yin jing yuan baohu yaolue 当代条件下德格印经院保护要略 [Outline of the protection of the Dege Scripture Printing House under contemporary conditions],” 2011. [Chinese Library Classification Number] G127 [Document Identification Code] A [Article Number] 1008-0139 (2011) 06-0050-7.
- Wong et al. 1992.
- Zhang 2020.
- Yang and Yang 2011.
- Baroni, Sandro, “Dege – Printing House” (archives of the Kham Aid Foundation, 2000).
- Logan 2002, p. 388.
- Tian Shufeng et al., “New insights into the occurrence of the Baige landslide along the Jinsha River in Tibet,” Landslides, 2020, DOI: 10.1007/s10346-020-01351-4.
- Yang and Yang, 2011.
- This office is part of and subordinate to China’s Ministry for Culture and Tourism.
- Baroni, Sandro, “Progetto di intervento e piano di conservazione” [Intervention and conservation plan], (archives of the Kham Aid Foundation, 2000)..