Brief Introduction to Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House

Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House was first built in 1729 with an area of about 1600 square meters. It maintains over 320,000 sutras plates, covering 70% of Tibet’s literary heritage. Being praised as the Encyclopedia of Tibetan Culture, the Dazzling Cultural Pearl in Tibetan Area and the Treasury under the Snowy Mountain, Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House truly lives up to its reputation. It was listed in National Key Cultural Protection Unites by the State Council in 1996, and then the technique of Woodblock Printing was listed in the Represents of Human Non-material Cultural Industry by UNESCO.

Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House

What to See

Either in traditional Tibetan building or in bookshelf, you can easily find orderly placed woodblocks, exquisite fresco and Sutra. Well-preserved 270,000 woodblocks are the one and only in the world.

Woodblocks

Carved with both writings and paintings, the woodblocks are the major part of the cultural relics in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House. Among the large quantity of writings, there are enough rare editions, only existing editions and models for calligraphy or painting. Amongst them are The History of Hindi Buddhism, The Four Medical Tantras and the last surviving copy of The History of Indian Buddhism. Though paintings are not as much as writings, they are also rather meaningful and precious. Dege is an important carrier of Men Sect and Ge Sect in traditional Tibetan. In fact, Ge Sect became a center built up in Dege. It’s a great breakthrough to integrate Tangka Art with woodblock made by Ge Sect.

Murals

Murals are scattered in the inside and outside walls of different Sutras halls, left-side and right-side of corridor as well as some walls in sutras libraries. Except for Green Tara of Men Sect, all others show a style of Ge Sect. Greatest artistic accomplishments of Ge Sect are embodied in these murals which make Dege Sutras Monastery the place with best-reserved historical murals.

Statues and Buildings

The statues in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House, mainly consisting of statues of Buddha, Bodhisattva, Arhat, dharma and eminent monks and historical characters in different years, are placed in Great Sutras Library and Small Sutras Library. You can deeply feel the aesthetic tastes and consummate skills of Tibetan Buddhism from the bright color, smooth carves and vivid expressions of the statues.

Surrounded by towering red walls and lush green trees, Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House is quite majestic and stately. Close to the front gate is a two-story chapel, and the main hall inside has four floors. The monastery is one conventional Tibetan building with a combination of Dege monastery and Dege residence. The second and third floors are equipped with 8 libraries, printing houses and workers’ rooms while the fourth floor where enough sunshine reaches is for drying printed books.

Learning about Technological Process

Printing Plates Making

Raw material processing, writing and engraving are the most basic three processes. Upright and none-joint trunks of red birches are chosen as raw material. The works need to saw the trunks into planks in fixed size firstly, toast them later, and keep them in manure pit until next March or April. Then the workers take them out, boil them in water and plane them, so the planks become rough printing plates. Being checked as qualified, the plates will be sent to the monastery. Before printing, the writers will write down the sutra in paper according to the size of printing plates. The Printing workers are recruited through strict assessment, so all of them have perfect skills of Tibetan language and drawing. In order to make sure all sutras are printed with best quality, every people is limited to finish one inch of one plate in a single day.

Ink making

The ink produced and used in Dege Sutra-Printing Monastery is one smoke ink. It can be divided into two kinds while one for writing is made from Toisusu and the other for printing extracted from rind of rhododendrons. Red ink is exclusively used in print Tripitaka as a sign of respect.

Papermaking

The raw material for making paper uses the roots of Chinese Stellera Root which is a plant with flexible fiber and in good water-absorbing quality. This plant is also a slightly toxic crude drug which helps works working in dimly-lit room can see well and keep papers safety from the swallowing of moths and mice.

How to Print

The process of sutra-printing includes paper cutting, pigment processing, printing and bookbinding roughly, and more than 10 steps in details such as paper cutting, paper soaking, ink mixing, grinding, taking plate, printing, drying, washing, filing, paging, checking, bookbinding, polishing, packaging etc. . The whole process is flow and all steps are mutual intertwining in an orderly way. The ink-processing group is mainly making two kinds of ink to support printing group. Bookbinding group is in responsible for binding as well as classifying and checking. Printing bears the most heavily load and most complexed steps. Two printers sit in different altitude face to face with a plate between them. The higher worker is in charge of receiving paper, keeping the paper still and inking. The lower one pushes the batching-made roller from top to bottle as he passes the paper to the higher one in cycles. When the cleaned sutra painting is dried, they bushed over with a layer of Yak butter which makes the sutra longer. No wonder that you can smell a fragrance of Yak butter as you enter the sutra library.

Woodblocks in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Woodblocks
Murals in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Murals
Statues in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Statues
Library in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Library
Printing Plates Making in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Printing Plates Making
Ink making in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Ink making
Stalagmite Peak  in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Papermaking
Liangshan Temple in Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Printing

Attraction around Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House

Gengqing Monastery is the main monastery of Sakyas of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on the upper reached of Yalongjiang River and the Jinshajiang River, nearly 2 km away from Dege Parkhong Sutra-Printing House. There is no living Buddhist in Gengqing Monastery and it is in the charge of Tusi family. Many Buddhist activities are carried out here, you may be lucky to listen to the saint Mantra which will clean your blundering heart.

Gengqing Monastery Gengqing Monastery

Location and Transportation

Where is Dege Parkhong Sutra-Printing Monastery

Based in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a remote area, the transportation for Dege Parkhong Sutra-Printing Monastery is not too convenient but it is worth visiting for its amazing natural landscape and strong cultural atmosphere.

  • 430 km away from Larung Gar Buddhist Academy
  • 560 km away from Xikang(capital of Ganzi) owntown
  • 570 km away from Daocheng Yading airport
  • 900 km away from Chengdu
  • How to Transfer to Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House

    Private Tour (Top Recommended)
Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Location Map Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House Location Map

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Dege Sutra-Printing Monastery with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Independent Travel

You can easily to get to Chengdu either by plane, train or bus. However, there is no direct bus from Chengdu to Dege. You can take a bus to Kangding city and then switch to Dege Sutra-Printing Monastery. The single trip will cost you about 350 RMB from Chengdu to Dege

Warm Tips

  • In order to protect cultural relics, taking picture is allowed for the printing process but prohibited in sutras libraries. You can ask the workers for permission and they are always friendly.
  • On account of climate, the sutra-printing time ranges from 15th March to 20th September in Tibetan calendar. During this period, visitors could view and admire the operation sutras printing. And please pay attention to that printing will be ended in 16:00, and then the workers will steep and wash the woodblocks.
  • Recommended Sichuan Tours

    Top 3 Sichuan tours chosen by most customers to explore Sichuan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

    Wenshu Temple
    2 Days Classic Tea Culture Tour with Giant Panda Visit

    Chengdu / Mengdingshan / Chengdu

    Jianmenguan
    4 Days Ancient Three Kingdom History Tour

    Chengdu / Jianmenguan / Langzhong

    Shunan Bamboo Forest
    6 Days Chengdu Shunan Bamboo Forest Tour

    Chengdu / Shunan Bamboo Forest

    Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

    Customize a Trip

    Have a question? Get answers from our travel experts or guests

    • Your Question:
    • Your Name:
    • Your Email:
    • Submit