Hildegard Diemberger (Cambridge University)

From manuscript to print to Digital Dharma
Exploring the materiality of Tibetan texts and their transformations

  • Time: 6 April 2016, 17:00-19:00
  • Venue: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens (IKGA)
  • Organisation: Birgit Kellner


Setting out from a newly-discovered 1407 Tibetan print and some better known masterpieces of early Tibetan printing, I investigate the link between Buddhist patronage, materials and technological innovation. What was the connection between religious and political aspirations of Tibetan local rulers and the introduction and promotion of printing technologies? Why did printing start to flourish in Tibet in the 15th century at a time of political fragmentation after the demise of the Yuan Empire? What lessons can be learnt by looking at the technologies and the materials of Tibetan book production? Finally I will also look at the possibility of drawing parallels between the introduction of printing and the adoption of digital text reproduction in the Buddhist context.


Dr Hildegard Diemberger is a fellow at Pembroke College of Cambridge University. She specializes in the Tibetan cultural area and Tibet-Mongolia interface. Her research focuses on local-state dynamics and deals with the impact of radical change on traditional communities. Her work covers landscape, space and time, local history and memory, changing notions of power and kinship and debates over continuity, tradition and modernity.