Contributions to the Cultural History of Early Tibet by Matthew T. Kapstein, Brandon Dotson

By Matthew T. Kapstein, Brandon Dotson

Early medieval Tibet continues to be probably the most not easy fields in Tibetan reviews total, in which a variety of mysteries stay. The six contributions comprising the current assortment make clear significant issues in historical past, literature and faith.

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Extra info for Contributions to the Cultural History of Early Tibet (Brill's Tibetan Studies Library)

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The manner in which these decisions are taken is instructive, as it demonstrates a high degree of legal and administrative centralization. Two ‘addenda’ (yan-lag/yal-ga) in the text clarify the process by which these sets of questions and answers were created. In both cases, they precede the text of the decision dispatched from the court. From a supplement (yan-lag) to the dice statutes: decision in response to a petition dispatched (dgyigs) from the place [seat] of the exterior minister to the place of the judge[s] (zhal-ces-pa) of the court retinue: (sho tshigs gyI yan lag las / pho brang khor gyi zhal ces pe sar [nas] zhus pa / phyI lon sa nas dgyIgste zhus pa / mchId gyis bcade zhus pe’i zhus lan /) (ll.

30 BRANDON DOTSON outcome of the case, and the punishment of a guilty party. In every clause of the text, the local magistrates ask how to decide a case or a point in a case according to the dice statutes of a dice edict. Therefore they had access to legal norms that prescribed dice as a legal means, but the norms were insufficient in these particular cases due either to their complexity or to the inadequacy of the dice statutes in the tiger year dice edict. That the magistrates had access to such norms is evident in their references to previous dice edicts, so the confusion seems simply to have been with the new edict.

In most cases, the correspondence has to do with the applicability of the dice edict to specific legal cases. Here, as mentioned above, the local magistrate probably had some room to negotiate the terms of a given legal sentence, as the dice presumably decide only who wins a case, or determine a certain point in the case, and not the terms of the settlement. One is tempted to see here the sort of dynamic between centralization and decentralization that held sway in early twentieth century Tibet, where the central administration was content to devolve nearly all legal authority to local administrators, provided that taxes arrived on time (GOLDSTEIN 1971b: 180).

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