Kingdom of Derge

Kingdom of Derge

The Kingdom of Derge was an important kingdom in Eastern Tibet, a center of industry, religion and politics, with the seat of its kingdom in the town of Derge.[1] The kings of Derge followed a 1300-year lineage.[1]

At its height, the population of the kingdom consisted of 12,000 to 15,000 families.[2] The northern border of the kingdom was defined by Qinghai Lake; on the east, the boundary terminated at those states that utilized the Horpa variation of the Rgyalrongic languages, Chantui and Litang; the southern and western boundaries were defined by Batang, Sanai, Gonjo and Draya; and Lhato and Ch'amdo, respectively.[2]

The kingdom was known for its metal working and was an important center in the establishment of the Rime movement in Tibetan Buddhism.[3][4] The royal family of Derge were known as supporters of art, producing such artists as Situ Panchen, the kingdom's senior court chaplain, who is also known for his contributions to medicine and religion.[5][6]


Derge became the capital of the kingdom in the 15th century under the reign of Lodro Tobden, the 31st in the line of the Derge kings.[7] It was he who invited Thang Tong Gyalpo to establish the renowned Gongchen Monastery in the region.[7] The kingdom expanded during the 18th century under the reign of Tenpa Tsering, who conquered territories to the north.[7]

In 1727, the Kingdom of Derge and other regions in Eastern Tibet fell under the governance of China. It is linked with others of the "more important districts", as Spencer Chapman termed them, such as Nyarong, Batang, Litang, and the five Hor[pa] States under the name "Kham", which Chapman describes as "an indefinite term suitable to the Tibetan Government, who are disconcertingly vague over such details as treaties and boundaries."[8] In 1733. The Yongzheng Emperor granted the king of Derge status of Hsuan Wei Ssu, a high position for native chieftains which effectively permitted him independence, though he was responsible for paying tribute.[9] In spite of the change of provenance, the kings of the region continued their internal struggles, and in 1863, rule of the kingdom was disrupted for two years by the successful invasion of Nyarong.[7] Intervention by the army of Tibet restored the kingdom, following a brief intermediate governance.[7]

In the early 1900s, Eric R. Coales prepared a report that included information about the "recent" history of the kingdom for the British.[10] According to Coales' report, in 1895, the Governor-General of Szechuan sent forces into Chantui, led by General Chang Chi, who advanced further into Derge.[11] The king and his family were imprisoned in Chengdu.[9] By the time political intrigue in China had forced the troops to withdraw, the king had died, leaving behind two sons, Doje Senkel and Djembel Rinch'en. The former of these enjoyed the support of the Chinese, but the latter, who may have been illegitimate, had backers in Chantui. The two struggled over the throne until 1908, when Doje Senkel appealed for assistance to the Chinese General Chao Eh-Feng, who was on military campaign in the area to secure the political primacy of China.[9] Djembel Rinch'en was driven to take sanctuary with the Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso; Doje Senkel yielded the kingdom to China in exchange for an allowance.[12] The Chinese retained direct control of Derge until 1918.[7]

The palace of the Derge kings was subsequently converted into a school.[13]


  1. ^ a b McCue, Gary (1999). Trekking in Tibet: A Traveler's Guide (2 ed.). The Mountaineers Bookl. p. 239. ISBN 0898866626. 
  2. ^ a b Coales, Oliver R. (2003). "Narrative of a journey from Tachienlu to Ch'amdo and back via Batang". In McKay, Alex. The History of Tibet. Routledge. p. 223. ISBN 0415308445. 
  3. ^ Rockhill, William Woodville (1891). The Land of the Lamas: Notes of a Journey Through China, Mongolia and Tibet. Century Co.. p. 228. 
  4. ^ Huber, Toni (2008). The Holy Land Reborn: Pilgrimage & the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India. University of Chicago Press. p. 116. ISBN 0226356485. 
  5. ^ Berger, Patricia Ann (2003). Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. University of Hawaii Press. p. 145–146. ISBN 0824825632.,M1. 
  6. ^ "Situ Panchen: Creation and Cultural Engagement in 18th-Century Tibet". Rubin Museum of Art. Retrieved 2009-02-15. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d e f Dorje, Gyurme (1999). Tibet Handbook: The Travel Guide (2, illustrated, revised ed.). Footprint Travel Guides. p. 469. ISBN 1900949334.,M1. 
  8. ^ Chapman, F. Spencer. (1940). Lhasa: The Holy City, p. 135. Readers Union Ltd., London.
  9. ^ a b c Coales, 224.
  10. ^ Coales, 202.
  11. ^ Coales, 222-223.
  12. ^ Coales, 224-225.
  13. ^ McCue, 241.

Coordinates: 31°49′N 98°40′E / 31.817°N 98.667°E / 31.817; 98.667

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Derge — (also Dêgê, Wylie: sde dge) is a town in Dêgê County in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China s Sichuan province. It was once the center of the Derge Kingdom of Eastern Tibet. Contents 1 History 2 Culture 3 References …   Wikipedia

  • Derge Parkhang — Coordinates: 31°48′22.60″N 98°34′51.56″E / 31.806278°N 98.5809889°E / 31.806278; 98.5809889 …   Wikipedia

  • Kham — For other meanings, see Kham (disambiguation). Map showing the Tibetan region of Kham Kham (Tibetan: ཁམས, Wylie: khams, ZYPY: kam; Chinese: 康; pinyin: Kāng …   Wikipedia

  • Changchub Dorje, 12th Karmapa Lama — For Nyala Rinpoche Rigdzin Changchub Dorje, see Nyala Rinpoche. 12th Karmapa Date of birth: 1703 Plac …   Wikipedia

  • Changchub Dorje — (1703 1732), also Chanchub Dorje, was the twelfth Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism.Changchub Dorje was born in Chile Chakhor in the kingdom of Derge in Kham. According to the legend, he said at the age of two months: I …   Wikipedia

  • Chogyal Namkhai Norbu — Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Religion Buddhism School Dzogchen …   Wikipedia

  • Thang Tong Gyalpo — Thangtong Gyalpo Thangtong Gyalpo (Tibetan: ཐང་སྟོང་རྒྱལ་པོ་, Wylie: thang stong rgyal po) (1385–1464 or 1361–1485) also known as Drubthob Chakzampa (lcags zam pa) and Tsundru Zangpo (brtson grus bzang po) was a great Buddhist adept, a yogi …   Wikipedia

  • Diamond Way Buddhism — This article is about a specific Buddhist organization. For the form of Buddhism sometimes called Diamond Way Buddhism , see Vajrayana. Part of a series on Buddhism Outline · Portal …   Wikipedia

  • Keşiş Gölü — Keşiş Gölü, Turna Gölü, Rusaini sue Bild gesucht  BW Geographische Lage Provinz Van, Türkei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chögyam Trungpa — Religion Buddhism School Vajrayana Lineage Karma Kagyu and Nyingma …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”