Local Histories


This section includes a range of local histories, including gazeteers (difang zhi and gaikuang 概況), field reports (diaocha ji), cultural and historical accounts (wenshi ziliao; Tib. rig gnas lo rgyus dpyad gzhi'i rgyu cha), and other local surveys.

Featured Resource

  • Benno R. Weiner, Official Chinese Sources on Recent Tibetan History: Local Gazetteers, Wenshi Ziliao, and CCP Histories.
    A critical and extensive survey of Chinese-language sources for the local histories of Tibetan areas in the People's Republic of China (PRC).  Benno Weiner is a Columbia University graduate student. Weiner Bibliography

Gazetteers

  • Gray Tuttle, A Guide to the Use of Chinese Gazetteers for Amdo [Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan].
    A detailed bibliography of gazeteers of Amdo, this survey illustrates the abundance of information about Tibetan culture, history, and institutions in these materials.  Tuttle Bibliography. For an  annotated article on Chinese-language gazeteers for Tibetan regions in the PRC, see Benno Weiner's listing above.
  • Walder, Andrew and Su, Yang. "The Cultural Revolution in the Countryside: Scope, Timing, and Human Impact," The China Quarterly, 2003, 74-99.
    An example of what can be extracted from these gazetteers, Walder and Su found remarkable disparities between the coverage of various areas, but also plenty of material to justify a careful study of these sources. One of the works to apply these resources in broader geographic sense is Tibet Outside the TAR (CD).

For examples of the important local historical uses these gazetteer can serve, see:

  • Elliot Sperling. "The Ho Clan of Ho-Chou: A Tibetan Family in Service to the Yüan and Ming Dynasties." In Indo-sino-tibetica: studi in onore di Luciano Petech. Roma: Bardi, 1990. 359-377.
  • ‑‑‑‑. 1997. “A Note on the Chi-kya Tribe and the Two Qi Clans in Amdo.” In Les habitants du Toit du monde, Samten Karmay and Phillipe Sagant, Eds. (Nanterre: Société d'ethnologie). pp. 111-124
  • Otosaka, Tomoko. "A Study of the Hong-hua-si Temple Regarding the Relationship between the dGe-Lugs-Pa and the Ming Dynasty." Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko. 52: 69-101. 33pp.

Collections of Tibetan Gazetteers in Chinese, Difang Zhi 地方志

  • Chen Zhanqi, ed. Xizang jiu fang zhi, 30 vols. Beijing: Quan guo tu shu guan wen xian suo wei fu zhi zhong xin, 2004.
  • Yazhou min zu kao gu cong kan亞洲民族考古叢刊.第4-5輯.
    Taiwan-published set of Republican (1911-1949) materials, especially on Kham (geography, folk customs, sacred geography [Xikang zhi zhen mi shuidao ji], and political matters).
  • Zhang Yuxin, ed. Zhongguo Xizang ji Gan Qing Chuan Dian Zang qu fang zhi hui bian中國西藏及甘青川滇藏区方志彙编. Beijing : Xue yuan chu ban she 2003. 54 vols, reproductions of Qing period gazetteers on Tibetan regions. 第1輯. 西藏地方通志(v. 1-5) -- 第2輯. 西藏廳縣志 (v. 6-8) -- 第3輯. 甘肅藏區及涉藏方志 (v. 9-32) -- 第4輯. 青海藏區及涉藏方志 (v. 33-36) -- 第5輯. 川滇藏區及涉藏方志 (v. 37-45) -- 第6輯. 藏區宗敎志, 語文志, 江河志文獻 (v. 46-52) -- 第7輯. 近現代學者編著涉藏志乗 (v. 53-54).
  • Guo jia tu shu guan fen guan bian ; [zhu bian Shi Guangming]. Qing dai bian jiang shi liao chao gao ben hui bian : (han shao shu min zu di qu). Beijing : Xian zhuang shu ju, 2003.
    Sources on the ethnic (minority nationalities) borderlands of the Qing dynasty. 50 v. Vol 1, with Table of Contents in Reference overflow, 250 level.
  • University of California Berkeley's collection of Tibetan Gazeteers
    Search the UC-Berkeley Library Catalogue for a wonderful collection of gazetteers, including Xian Zhi, and, impressively, an 80-odd volume set of Sheng Zhi with titles covering everything from politics to the economy, demographics, environment and so forth. Berkeley may be the only library in the world to hold some of these volumes, although UCLA, Harvard, Michigan and Hong Kong each have a selection.
  • Qinghai sheng qing yu fang zhi lists what appears to be all the fangzhi published between the late 1980s and the book's publication date in 1998.
    Many from the Berkeley collection post-date this.
  • Dkar mdzes. Ganzi zhou zhi bianji weiyuanhui. Ganzi zhou zhi. 2 vols. Chengdu: Sichuan minzu chubanshe. 1998.
  • Rnga ba.  Aba zhou zhi. 3 vols. 1994. Tables listing monasteries (only in Chinese), vol. 3,  pp. 2563-2577.
  • Rnga ba khul sa gnas lo rgyus [Aba zhou zhi—Gazetteer of Aba Prefecture]. Rnga ba khul sa gnas lo rgyus rtsom sgrig yu yon lhan khang. 1996. Tibetan for Vol. 1 only.
  • Qinghai sheng min wei shao shu min zu gu ji zheng li gui hua ban gong shi. Qinghai di fang jiu zhi wu zhong. Xining: Qinghai ren min chu ban she : Qinghai sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing, 1989.

Other Locally Focused Historical Resources

  • Mgo log rig gnas lo rgyus (v. 1-3)
    v. 1 Family (tshang) and tsho-ba histories; v. 2 Histories of Golok monasteries; v. 3 Mostly rnam thar.
  • Mgo log deb ther has a section: tsho ba'i grub tshul dang sypi tshogs kyi ngo bo.
  • Cairang Zhecang, ed. Qing dai Qinghai Menggu zu dang an shi liao ji bian. Xining Shi : Qinghai ren min chu ban she/ 1994.
    Yongzheng to Xuantong emperors' reigns. Good source for compiling a list of the Qinghai amban. See charts from 2nd year Xuantong era for information on the Mongol banners distribution and leadership.
  • Grags pa rgya mtsho. Mdo smad klu stod kyi lo rgyus dwangs gsal me long. Lanzhou: kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1997.
    Lists leaders and tribes of the southern part of Gannan/kan lho.
  • Rgyal po, Brong pa; Tashi Tsering, Josayma. Bod ljongs Mdo khams Nang chen spyi dang bye brag gi byung ba brjod pa Ldong Brong pa'i deb gter smyug po. Dharamsala : A myes Rma chen Bod kyi rig gzung zib jug khang dang A-mi-ri-ka'i In-di-ya-na'i gtsug lag mtho slob kyi nang tshang E-sa-ya nang ma'i zhib 'jug slob gñer khang gñis zung 'brel byis spar bskrun zus pao, 2003.
    Historical account of Brong-pa tribes of the Ldong clan of Nangchen (Nanzheng) County in eastern Tibet; includes history of Nanzheng Xian.
  • Lha sde, Dge min dpal. Lha sde tsho brgyad kyi lo rgyus kun 'dus gsal ba'i me long. 2005.
    Historical background and other topics concerning Lha sde tsho brgyad in Huangnan (Rma lho) Prefecture in Qinghai Province (Amdo).
  • Nywa nag pa Ba res. Bon stag lo rgyus blo ldan 'jug ngogs. Chengdu : Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1996.
    Genealogical account of Bon-stag family from Haixi Prefecture(Mtsho nub) in Qinghai Province.
  • *Note the occurrence of many early versions of proto-gazetteers in Qinghai, a genre of works called gaikuang 概況 (situation/conditions). Though shorter than later gazetteers they are interesting historic documents, often with hand-drawn maps.

On Tribal/Community Social Structure

Based on cursory overview of this literature it seems that connections between Tibetans and Mongols (first in Yuan but mostly from the seventeenth century) probably explains much of the tribal system of nomadic Tibet, which seems to have been ruled and structured by the Mongols from 1630s to 1720s. These systems were largely preserved by the Mongol and Manchu servants of the Qing court who were directed to manage relations with these peoples (first through the Xining Amban, later through the Lhasa Amban). In Sichuan, more control over Tibetans fell to the Chengdu-based governor-general and his administration there, which seems to explain the larger role of the tusi system in eastern Khams.

Large Regional Coverage

  • Bkra shis rgya mtsho, Gyi lung & Thugs mchog rdo rje, Gyi-lung. Bod mi bu gdong drug gi rus mdzod me tog skyed tshal (Mgo log rus mdzod). Zi-ling : Mtsho-sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1991
  • Dge shis chos grags, Ldong ka tshang; Skal bzang sgrol ma, Ldong ka tshang; Bsod names lha mo, Ldong ka tshang. Bod kyi gdung rus zhib 'jug. Pe cin: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2001.
    Fascinating treatment of Tibetan history by attending to clan/family names throughout history. Most of the book is introductions to and lists of the key players (not just prominent laymen but also religious figures, a virtual who's who) in Tibetan history by period (from pre-history, to Tibetan imperial period, and so on up toi the Ganden Podrang period and the present). Finally, there is an alphabetical list of clan names.
  • Chen Qingying, He Feng & Qinghai sheng she hui ke xue yuan Zang xue yan jiu suo bian zhu. Zang zu bu luo zhi du yan jiu藏族部落制度硏究. Xian dai Zhongguo Zang xue wen ku. Beijing : Zhongguo zang xue chu ban she : Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing, 2002.  DS731 .T5 T78 2002
    Survey of the tribal/clan systems of the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Chen Qingying. Qinghai sheng she hui ke xue yuan Zang xue yan jiu suo bian. 青海省社会科学院藏学研究所编 ; 陈庆英主编. Zhongguo Zang zu bu luo中国藏族部落. Beijing : Zhongguo Zang xue chu ban she: Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing, 1991.
    Survey of the various tribes/clans of the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Wang Jiguang 王继光. Anduo Zang qu tu si jia zu pu ji lu yan jiu. 安多藏区土司家族谱辑录硏究. Beijing : Min zu chu ban she, 2000.
  • Li Zonghua and Li Yanqi. Anduo zangzu shilüe(Brief History of the Tibetans of Amdo). Xining: Qinghai minzu chubanshe, 1992.
    Several charts organized by region list the tribal names, numbers of myriarchs and chiliarchs, households under them, place of residence, and so forth p. 183-185.
  • Zhouta. Gansu Zang zu bu luo de she hui yu li shi yan jiu甘肃藏族部落的社会与历史硏究. Lanzhou: Gansu min zu chu ban she, 1996.
    Twelve chapters on the setting, history, and regional breakdown (by modern county, p 126-223) of the Tibetan tribes of Gansu (mostly Gannan/Gan lho, but also Tianzhu/ Dpa' ri), chapters on tribal religious beliefs, military system, cultural and eduction, and traditional customs. Omitted froom the Tibetan translation of the work (listed below) are chapters on economy and law, as well as the very useful charts at the end of the book listed tribes under the county/monastery headings.
  • ’Brug thar. Mdo smad byang shar gyi Bod kyi Tsho ba shog pa'i lo rgyus dang rig gnas bcas par dpyad pa. Pe cin: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2002.
    Guide to the tribal communities of Gansu's Tibetan communities; see entry above for contents.
  • Sangs rgyas rin chen & 'Brug thar. Bod Sog gi rig gnas 'brel ba'i zhib 'jug. Lanzhou : Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003.
    Research on the Cultural connections between Tibetans and Mongols, which probably explains much of the tribal system of nomadic Tibet, which seems to have been ruled and structured by the Mongols from 1630s to 1720s, and whose systems were largely preserved by the Mongol and Manchu servants of the Qing court who were directed to manage relations with these peoples (first through the Xining Amban, later through the Lhasa Amban; in Sichuan, more control over Tibetans fell to the Chengdu based governor-general and his administration there, which seems to explain the larger role of the tusi system in eastern Khams).
  • Bkra ba. "Hor tsho so dgu pa'i lo rgyus thor bu." In Bod kyi rig gnas lo rgyus dpyad gzhi'i rgyu cha bdams bsgrigs, 1st ser., vol. 5, 178-208. Lhasa: Bod-rang-skyong-ljongs chab gros rig gnas lo rgyus dpyad gzhi'i rgyu cha zhib 'jug u yon lhan khang, 1985.
    This article includes a chart of the various Nag chu and Chab mdo shog or dud -- including population, occupation and administrative significance.

On Tribal Customary Laws

  • Zhouta. Gansu Zang zu bu luo de she hui yu li shi yan jiu甘肃藏族部落的社会与历史硏究. Lanzhou: Gansu min zu chu ban she, 1996.
    Chapter 9 on law among the Gansu tribal Tibetans.
  • Zhang Jimin. Qinghai Zang qu bu luo xi guan fa zi liao ji (Materials on the laws and customs of the tribes of the Tibetan regions of Qinghai). Xining : Qinghai ren min chu ban she. 1993.
    *Arranged in three sections: first, by Chinese administrative regions of Qinghai—Huangnan, Guoluo, Yushu, Hainan, Haixi, and Haibei; second, by out-of-province Tibetan regions—Xizang, Sichuan (Ganze), and Gansu (Southern Gansu); specific cases for certain crimes, such as intentional murder. Appendices: terminological glossary with Tibetan translation of terms and a transcription of a sixty-six point Qing document . Includes bibliographical references.
  • Zhang Jimin. Zang zu bu luo xi guan fa yan jiu cong shu (Collected Research on Tibetan Tribal Customary Laws). Xining : Qinghai ren min chu ban she, 2002.
    Vol. 1. 渊源流近 : 藏族部落习惯法法规及案例辑录
    Vol. 2. 寻根理枝 : 藏族部落习惯法通论
    Vol. 3. 诸說求真 : 藏族部落习惯法专论.

Sources on Tusi

Tusi is a generic term for local rulers, including most of the leadership discussed above.

  • Gong Yin 龚荫. Zhongguo tu si zhi du. 中国土司制度. Kunming Shi : Yunnan min zu chu ban she, 1992.
    Gives all the known tusi (local rulers) in TAR, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan (and Hubei, Guizhou, etc.). Especially useful to build upon Chen Qingying's Zhongguo Xixang Buluo because when it lists the tusi Chen covers in his book, it adds (buluo, meaning "tribe/clan") in parentheses after the name, but when it lists the 'regular' tusi like in Songpan ting, Xining, etc. it just lists them as tusi. Good for the TAR, because it makes clear which tusi in the upper Salween became the '39 tribes' ruled by the Lhasa Amban, and which became the '40 tribes' ruled by the Xining Amban. This text just lists which Yuan, Ming, or Qing text the tusi is recorded in, and about where in which present-day county the tusu was located, not much else (description from Karl Ryavec).
  • Qinghai sheng zhi bian zuan wei yuan hui. Qinghai li shi ji yao. Xining Shi : Qinghai ren min chu ban she : Qinghai sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing, 1987.
    See lists of the generations of the 16 Qinghai tusi oriented toward Xining from the 1370s-1931, including Xining xian, Ledu xian, Minhe xian. Includes family names, some demographic information prior to 1930, and so forth. p. 635-656. See also the tables of the Qing (and later, to 1949) appointed leaders based in Xining from 1644, including all the ambans from 1724-1911 p. 658-681.
  • Took, Jennifer. A Native chieftaincy in Southwest China : franchising a Tai chieftaincy under the Tusi system of late imperial China. Leiden; Boston : Brill, 2005.
    Excellent study of the tusi system, outside the politically charged context of Tibetan studies. Demonstrates what a flexible but enduring Chinese system of managing relations with different bordering peoples this tusi institution really is. Took made good use of modern investigations and older gazetteers to construct this narrative.