An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xizang jianwen lu 西藏見聞錄

Sep 10, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Xizang jianwen lu 西藏見聞錄 (occasionally called Xizang wenjian lu 西藏聞見錄) is a travel report on Tibet written by the mid-Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) commander Xiao Tenglin 蕭騰麟 (d. 1756), courtesy name Xiufu 繡夫, style Shizhou 十洲, from Xiajiang 峽江, Jiangxi. He began his career as an attendant in the entourage of the emperor, but was in 1737 appointed commander of the Chinese garrison in Chamdo 察木多 which was responsible for the supervision of the courier stations to Lhasa.

After his retirement he started to compile memories about his experience in Tibet. The result was a 2-juan long book, finished in 1746. It is divided into 20 chapters presenting an overview of historical events, the geography of Tibet with borders and topography, tributes sent to China, festivities, local products, buildings, garrisons, military affairs, penal law, clothes, food, social gatherings (yanhui 宴會), marriage customs, medicine and divination, funeral rites, monasteries (fancha 梵剎) law, language, and the conditions of travelling.

Xiao's book is important because it contains historiographical information not found in other texts, in particular regarding the military campaigns of the Qing in Qinghai and Tibet.

The book was first printed in 1759 by the Ciyan Studio 賜硯堂, with a preface written by Yuan Mei 袁枚 and Jiang Shiquan 蔣士銓, and an afterword (ba 跋) compiled by his son Xiao Xibo 蕭錫珀. The 1774 edition includes a postface written by Lu Wenchao 盧文弨 (1717-1795).

A modern, annotated edition was published in 1978 by the Zhongyang Minzu Xueyuan 央中民族學院 in the series Zhongguo minzu shi-di ziliao congkan 中國民族史地資料叢刊. Zhang Xuyin 張羽新 is of the opinion that text of the book Xizang zhi 西藏志 is more or less identical with Xiao's Xizang jianwen lu.

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Zhang Yuxin 張羽新 (1986). "Xizang zhi ji Xiao Tenglin suo zhu Xizang jianwen lu kao 《西藏志》即傚騰麟所著《西藏見聞錄》考", Wenxian 文獻, 1986 (4).