Condensed Tibetan allusions

Pema Bhum, Janet Gyatso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dandin's Kāvyādarśa was massively influential in Tibetan literature since the 13th century C.E. Many Tibetan commentaries were written, and also a special genre called "exercise book" (dper brjod) in which an original example of four lines would be composed to illustrate each of the ornaments and sub-ornaments in the original text. This essay explores Tibetan uses of the figure of condensed speech, samāsokti, and various Tibetan examples of this figure from scholars like the 5th Dalai Lama down to contemporary poets such as Dung-dkar Blo-bzang 'Phrin-las. We find not only different understandings of how the figure of speech works, including a recursivity inspired by Buddhist theories of language, but also obvious social and political agendas, including ironic sparring between vying poets on the Tibetan plateau.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalRivista degli Studi Orientali
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bod mkhas pa Mi pham dge legs
  • Buddhist poetry
  • Dandin
  • Dper brjod
  • Dung dkar Blo bzang 'phrin las
  • Fifth Dalai Lama
  • Kāvyādarśa
  • Ratnaśrī
  • Samāsokti
  • Sarcasm
  • Tibetan poetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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