Old Tibetan Documents Online


The social and cultural history of the Tibetan Empire (c.600 – c.850), Tibetan activities in Central Asia, and the development of Buddhist and non-Buddhist religious traditions are some of the main topics elucidated by Old Tibetan documents. These documents constitute a large corpus of Tibetan writing dating from the VIIth to XIIth centuries. Included in this corpus are inscriptions from all over the Tibetan plateau, paper documents from Dunhuang, and wooden and paper documents from Tibetan imperial outposts in Central Asia such as Mīrān and Mazār Tāgh.

In order to make these documents widely and freely available, the editors have transliterated selected texts and published these on the OTDO website. For each transliteration, the text has been closely read by at least two pairs of eyes, either by our editors who have consulted the documents in person, or with recourse to high-quality images. The editors have favored famous texts such as the Old Tibetan Annals and the Old Tibetan Chronicle, and the selections also mirror the principal areas of research into Old Tibetan documents: divination, law, letters, contracts, and religious texts of both Buddhist and non-Buddhist varieties. This corpus is expanding, and we aim to increase both our depth and breadth of coverage.

Each individual text can be searched using the KeyWord In Context (KWIC) search engine. One can also use the search to find a given term or terms in context by searching the entire corpus. This makes it a crucial tool for lexical, linguistic, and textual research, and an excellent resource for determining the meanings of words not found in dictionaries.

In addition to our website, OTDO also publishes a monograph series in cooperation with the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA). It is our hope that OTDO will continue to grow and contribute to lexical,linguistic, and textual research, both through the website and through the OTDO monograph series.