This lecture highlights Tibetan responses to the Mongol imperial bureaucratic practices during the 14th century
The value of government documents for studying the 13–14th-century Tibetan history has long been recognized. But we do not know much about the procedures of drafting, issuing, translating, announcing, and receiving these documents. With the sporadic information gathered from biographies such as that of Mus chen Rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po (1286–1347), we try to put together a picture of how a Yuan edict was delivered to its recipient.
More difficult to tell is how such official documents were perceived by the Tibetans living in the period. We will approach this question indirectly, by studying the speech acts where the Yuan edicts were used for rhetorical purposes. The works of Ta’i si tu Byang chub rgyal mtshan (1302–1364) and ‘Ba’ ra ba Rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po (1310–1391) will be used as examples, through which we will see how the Yuan edict provided Tibetans with a universal style of authority in the 14th century.