Tibetans / Edition 1

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This book provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to Tibet, its culture and history.

  • A clear and comprehensive overview of Tibet, its culture and history.
  • Responds to current interest in Tibet due to continuing publicity about Chinese rule and growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Explains recent events within the context of Tibetan history.
  • Situates Tibet in relation to other Asian civilizations through the ages.
  • Draws on the most recent scholarly and archaeological research.
  • Introduces Tibetan culture – particularly social institutions, religious and political traditions, the arts and medical lore.
  • An epilogue considers the fragile position of Tibetan civilization in the modern world.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Tibetans improves and expands upon its predecessors, and we have Matthew Kapstein to thank for his efforts." (Moran Review, October 2010)

"Kapstein's work provides a highly accessible and comprehensive account of scholarship on the subject, ensuring that his book will feature prominently on reading lists for students at all levels, especially undergraduates." (Religious Studies Review, September 2010)"The Tibetans offers the best single overview of Tibetan cultural history currently available, and it is highly recommended reading for students and professional scholars alike. It is surely destined to be the standard work of its type well into the foreseeable future." (The Journal of Asian Studies, December 2009)

"Kapstein has produced a finely textured work that can correct prevailing misconceptions and introduce the reader to the amazing complexity of what he calls the "Tibetan civilizational sphere." The Tibetans helps us better understand the historical and cultural forces that have shaped Tibet's destiny." (Traditional Yoga Studies)

"It has been a long time since Tibet scholars have had a text so comprehensive, well informed, beautifully written and majestically sensitive. This book is a ‘must read’ for junior scholars of Tibet and for lay persons with a general interest in the region; even those already expert in the field will find here much that is both entertaining and edifying." (The China Journal)

"Recommended." (CHOICE)

"An excellent book and it adds greatly to our knowledge of this fascinating people … I recommend this book strongly." (Educational Review)

"An authoritative but accessible work of erudition, well-designed for the undergraduate market." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

"It is a book that all scholars of Tibet and Central Asia, regardless of disciplinary focus, should read and control." (Asian Ethnology)

"This accessible book makes the latest research on Tibetan history and culture widely available and can be recommended as a standard introduction to the field." (Atlas Serials)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631225744
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/14/2007
  • Series: Peoples of Asia Series, #12
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 915,483
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew T. Kapstein is Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and Director of Tibetan Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. His recent publications include The Presence of Light (2004), Reason’s Traces (2001), The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism (2000) and Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet (1998).

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Table of Contents

List of Photographs.

List of Maps.



A Note on Transcription and Translation.

1. The Vessel and Its Contents.

High Peaks, Pure Earth.

Peasants, Nomads, and Traders.

The Tibetan Language.

2. Prehistory and Early Legends.

Sources of Archeological Evidence.

Children of the Ape and the Ogress.

Tibetan Religion Before Buddhism.

3. The Tsenpo's Imperial Dominion.

The Rise of the Tibetan Empire.

Later Monarchs and the Promotion of Buddhism.

The Empire's Implosion.

4. Fragmentation and Hegemonic Power.

Dynastic Successors and the Kingdom of Gugé.

The Buddhist Renaissance.

Mongols and Tibetan Buddhists.

Successive Hegemonies.

Tibetan Buddhism and the Ming Court.

5. The Rule of the Dalai Lamas.

Monastics and Monarchs.

Between Mongols and Manchus.

Regency and Retreat.

Cultural Developments in Eastern Tibet.

The Life and Times of the Great Thirteenth.

6. Tibetan Society.

Property, Economy, and Social Class.

Government and Law.

Marriage and Kinship.

Women in Traditional Tibet.

7. Religious Life and Thought.

Propitiation, Therapy, and the Life-cycle.

Buddhist Basics.

Monastic Institutions and Education.

Tantrism and Yoga.

Major Orders and Schools.

Festivals, Pilgrimages, and Ritual Cycles.

8. The Sites of Knowledge.

The Speech Goddess's Mirror.

Formations of Body, Speech, and Mind.

Medicine, Astronomy, and the Divinatory Sciences.

9. Tibet in the Modern World.

The End of Traditional Tibet.

Rebellion and Exile.

The Promise and Peril of a Century's End.


Spellings of Tibetan Names and Terms.



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Customer Reviews

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