Buddhist heritage: UNESCO includes Dege Parkhang printing blocks in Memory of the World program

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

At degeparkhang.org
At degeparkhang.org

The printing blocks kept at the Dege Sutra-Printing House (Tibetan: Dege Parkhang), located in today's Sichuan Province, southwest China, were recognized as documentary heritage for inclusion in the register Asia-Pacific region of UNESCO's Memory of the World programme.

First built in 1729, the Dege Sutra Printing House, located in Dege County of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham, houses more than 270 wooden blocks for printing texts, mainly in Tibetan and Sanskrit. While the majority of surviving woodblock printing plates were carved between the 000th and mid-XNUMXth centuries and cover a wide range of subjects from Buddhism and spirituality to history, art, medicine and astronomy, the collection also includes significant examples of Tibetan woodblock prints. literature dating from the XNUMXth century.

At degeparkhang.org
At degeparkhang.org

These intricate blocks, primarily carved from dense, hard birch wood, have played a key role in preserving Tibetan literature, culture and scriptural texts for nearly three centuries.

“For nearly 300 years, generations of craftsmen of the Three-Story Building (Dege Parkhang) have used their exquisite skills to carve scriptures on wooden blocks, then compiled them into books, making the printing ink and paper,” said the Hong Kong. » reported the Bastille Post Global website. “The engraving of printing plates for Kangyour. . . (the historical teachings of the Buddha as recorded in the Tibetan Buddhist canon) took 100 calligraphers three years and 500 artisans five years to complete.

The Bastille Post Global report also noted that Dege Parkhang had carried out cultural and educational activities to engage young people in their traditional cultural heritage and had launched foreign exchange and cooperation programs to promote Tibetan culture around the world.

At degeparkhang.org
At degeparkhang.org

“These Tibetan classics play a very important role in the study of ancient Tibetan culture,” said Yeshe Wonbo, an expert on Tibetan studies. “Our government will continue to increase investment and provide significant support and promotion to our reproduction project, which is crucial for the protection and legacy of important documents of the Dege Sutra printing house. » (Bastille Post Global)

The decision to include the photos in UNESCO's Memory of the World Program, among the 20 elements successfully inscribed this year, was approved at the 10th General Assembly of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific, which met on May 7 and 8. in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Dege Parkhang is the largest of the three major sutra printing houses in Tibet, located next to the Lhasa Sutra Printing House at Meru Monastery in Lhasa, which was built over 400 years ago, at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and the Lhapuleng Sutra. -Printing house at Labrang Monastery in the traditional Amdo region of Tibet, in what is now Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

At degeparkhang.org
At degeparkhang.org

“Among a series of other wooden blocks, (Dege Parkhang) holds those of the Degé edition of Kangyuredited by Situ Paṅchen Chokyi Jungne, and the Dege Tengyurwhich was edited by Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen,” said 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a global non-profit initiative founded by renowned Bhutanese lama, author and filmmaker Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, in a recent announcement shared with BDG.

The Dege Sutra-Printing House was founded by King Tenpa Tsering, ruler of the Kingdom of Derge, who sponsored the creation of the Dege Kangyur. Although the printing press still publishes thousands of other texts today using the traditional method of woodblock printing or xylography, the Kangyur et Tengyur are considered the most important among them, pointed out 84 people.

The Dege Printing House is part of the Gonchen Monastery complex, founded by Thang Tong Gyalpo (1385-1464). The monastery was completely destroyed during the Chinese invasion of Tibet, then rebuilt in the 1980s.

At degeparkhang.org
At degeparkhang.org

“Printing continues to use old techniques without using electricity. Around 217 engraved blocks of scriptures from all Tibetan Buddhist sects, including the Bon tradition, are kept here, with around 000 pages produced by hand every day in the traditional way,” noted the Phayul news site .

“This printing press is precious. All the classical doctrines of the five major Buddhist sects are preserved there,” Chen Lin, director of the Dege Sutra-Printing House, said in 2016. “It is a holy place for all Tibetan people and of great importance for the country. » (View of Tibet)

UNESCO's Memory of the World (MoW) program is an international initiative aimed at safeguarding humanity's documentary heritage from loss and destruction. The Memory of the World Register, launched in 1992, includes a collection of documents, manuscripts, oral traditions, audiovisual material and archives of universal value. The program's regional listings include recordings that have impacted five regions of the world.

See more

Dege Parkhang Sutra Printing House
UNESCO Regional Memory of the World (MOW) Register inscribes 20 new elements in recognition of human innovation and imagination in Asia-Pacific (UNESCO)
Dege Sutra Printing House (Tibet Vista)
UNESCO lists Tibetan Dege Sutra printing as China's contribution to the world (Tibetan magazine)
The Dege Sutra-Printing House: a testimony to Tibetan culture now classified by UNESCO (Yarloong)
Historical photos of the Derge printing house are recognized by UNESCO (Phayul)
China's ancient Tibetan sutra printing press listed by UNESCO (Bastille Post Global)
Three more Chinese objects included in UNESCO's regional Memory of the World register (News.cn)

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The article Buddhist heritage: UNESCO includes Dege Parkhang printing blocks in Memory of the World program appeared first on Buddhadoor Global.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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