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The Tibetology is a scientific discipline that deals with the study of languages and the spiritual and material culture of Tibet busy.


The Hungarian orientalist Alexander Csoma de Kőrös is considered the founder of Tibetology . Before him, Johannes Jahresig , who was in the service of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Russia (today the Russian Academy of Sciences ), had written a grammar of the Tibetan language and studied Tibetan intensively. Jahrig and other members of the Moravian Brethren have lived for many years since 1765 under the Kalmyks on the Volga, and in the case of Jahrig then also under the Buryats on Lake Baikal. These Mongolian peoples used Tibetan as their liturgical language. Year's greatest wish to go to Tibet was never fulfilled due to diplomatic entanglements with China. Through the Kalmuck mission in Sarepta (Volgograd) on the Volga, European science first gained detailed knowledge of both a Mongolian language, namely Kalmuck , and Tibetan. Tibetan and Kalmyk manuscripts came to the university library in Göttingen via Georg Thomas von Asch in the second half of the 18th century . The first academic teacher of Tibetan in the western world was the French Philippe Édouard Foucaux (1811-1894), who held his inaugural Tibetan lecture on January 31, 1842 at the École spéciale des Langues Orientales in Paris.

The outstanding centers of European Tibetology in the 20th century were Rome ( Giuseppe Tucci , Luciano Petech ), Vienna ( Ernst Steinkellner ), Paris ( Rolf Alfred Stein ) and England ( David Snellgrove , Hugh Edward Richardson ). Contributions by Tibetologists from Denmark, Norway, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Russia and especially Japan were equally important for research on Tibet. In China too, Tibetan research developed towards the end of the 20th century.

For a few decades, Tibetology has experienced an enormous international boom, which is particularly evident in the interdisciplinary meetings of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS) , which are held every three years . The International Seminar of Young Tibetologists (ISYT), which has been taking place at regular intervals since 2007, testifies to the increasing interest in Tibetan research. Newer research areas result from the interest of ethnology and archeology in the exploration of Tibet.


The study of Tibetology can include philology , the history of literature and language, the history of philosophy and religion , history , the history of science and art history , the society of Tibet and the study of Buddhism .

For historical reasons, Tibetology in Germany was often linked to Indology and thus for a long time narrowed down to the aspect of indexing Tibetan texts that were translated from Sanskrit. The first chairs for Tibetology were established in Germany in the 1980s. There are Tibetological departments in Germany, for example. B. at the Asia-Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg and Humboldt University in Berlin, at the University of Leipzig , the University of Munich , the University of Marburg and the University of Bonn . In addition, there is also the Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna in German-speaking countries .

Research topics

The main focus of research in Tibetan research and teaching institutions is often Tibetan Buddhism and the course goes hand in hand with learning classical Tibetan as well as the common Tibetan language .

See also


  • Tsering Shakya : The Development of Modern Tibetan Studies . In: Robert Barnett (ed.): Resistance and Reform in Tibet , University of Indiana Press, Bloomington / Indianapolis 1994, ISBN 0-253-31131-4 , pp. 1-14.
  • Yuan Zhou: Tibetology in China . China Intercontinental Press, Beijing 1995, ISBN 7-80113-071-5 .
  • Wang Yao 王堯: A Brief Introduction to Tibetology in China . In: Nihon chibettogakkai kaihō 日本 西 蔵 学会 々 報 36.25-29 (March 1990).

Web links

Wiktionary: Tibetology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Edward Fox: The Man Who Goed to Heaven. A Hungarian in Tibet. Wagenbach, Berlin 2007. ISBN 978-3-8031-2578-1 . English 2001: The Hungarian Who Walked To Heaven: Alexander Csoma de Koros 1784-1842 .
  2. Le Calloc'h, Bernard Philippe-Edouard Foucaux: First Tibetan Teacher in Europe. Tibet Journal , Vol. 12, No. 1, Dharamsala, Spring 1987, pp. 39-49.