Derge Parkhang in Dege County, Garze
德格印经院Derge Parkhang in Dege County, Garze
The Derge Parkhang, (pronunciation “Dehr-geh”, alternative names Dege Parkhang, Derge Sutra Printing Temple, Dege Yinjing Yuan, Derge Barkhang, Dege Barkhang, Barkhang, Parkhang, Bakong Scripture Printing Press and Monastery) is one of the foremost cultural treasures of Tibet. Derge is a county seat in a high valley in Kham, an eastern district of traditional Tibet which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province. The Derge Parkhang is a living institution devoted to the printing and preservation of Tibetan literature, a printing temple that holds the greatest number of Tibetan woodblocks in the world.
The Derge Sutra Printing Temple (Parkhang in Tibetan) is one of the most important cultural, social, religious and historical institutions in Tibet. Founded in 1729 by Demba Tsering, the fortieth King of Derge (1678–1739) with the spiritual and literature assistance of the 8th Tai Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne, the Derge Parkhang is an active center for publication of Tibetan Buddhist sutra, commentaries, and thangka as well as works of history, technology, biography, medicine and literature. Books are still being made in the same way as they have been for almost three hundred years: handprinted from hand-carved wooden blocks. Cinnabar is used to colour the text red, in which workers can print eight to fifteen pages manually a minute, 2500 in a day, from wooden blocks that have already been engraved with text. Thirty printers are in working condition where printers work in pairs, one puts ink on wooden press, later cleaned in a trough, while the other rolls a piece of paper using a roller which is imprinted red with sayings of Buddha.