Tibetan Texts > Deb Ther Sngon Po (blue Annals) > Reference Resources - The Blue Annals > Place Names Cited in Blue Annals ta-tha-da-na > Derge

Return to Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Week 4

Derge from the Tibetan Renaissance Seminar

Alison Melnick

Derge County (sde dge dzong) is located on the far western edge of Sichuan province, near the Jinsha river and the Sichuan-TAR border. Derge is part of what is today Sichuan's Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (dkar mdzes bod rigs rang skyong khu). Culturally, Derge falls within the Kham (khams) region of Tibet, and has been ruled for most of its history by the Gar clan. The mGar famimly is thought to be descended from Songtsen Gampo's minister Gartang Tsanyul zung (mgar stang btsan yul bzung). The most famous institution in Derge Town is its wood block printing house and monastery (sde dge phar khang) which has been printing since the early 18th century. The printing house was also founded by the mGar family. It is best known for its editions of the Kangyur and Tengyur. Also located in Derge county is Palpung (dpal spungs chos 'khor gling), a Karma Kagyupa (kar ma bka' brgyud pa) monastery and the seat of the Tai Situ Lamas. Gesar of Ling is believed to have been born near Derge. According to Kolmas, "Derge … was for a long time one of the largest states of the borderland between Tibet and China, enjoying the reputation of a political and cultural center for the whole of Eastern Tibet…" (pg. 119) He explains that the rulers of Derge were almost continuously part of the same genealogy, and provides a timeline that goes back to at least the 12th century, although not much information is provided prior to the period of Sakya Pandita.

For a detailed history, see Kolmas, Josef (1969) A Genealogy of the Kings of Derge: sde-dge'i rgyal-rabs. Oriental Institute in Academia: Prague. and Kolmas: "Dezhung Rinpoche's summary and continuation of the Sde-dge'i rgyal-rabs".Acta Orientalia Vol. 42, no.1 (1988) pp. 119-153.

For more information on Derge and Kham in general, see Gardner, Alexander "Khams pa Histories: Visions of People, Place, and Authority." In The Tibet Journal Vol. XXVIII, no. 3 Autumn 2003

See also TBRC, (Derge is #G1657, Palpung is #G36), and Khamaid: external link: For a map of the region see external link:

Information taken from above listed sources, Wikipedia, TBRC, and general knowledge.

back to Alison Melnick