Mirror on Fire: An Ardent Reception in Tibet and Mongolia

Pema Bhum, Janet Gyatso, Shenghai Li, Jonathan C. Gold, Vesna A. Wallace

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter studies the translation and reception of Dandin’s Mirror of Literature in Tibet, and the aesthetic proclivities in early Tibetan literature that contributed to that reception. It also takes into account a certain resistance to Indic literary sensibilities in favor of vernacular Tibetan ones, a resistance that has remained salient among Tibetan literati even while the Mirror continues to have outsize impact on Tibetan poetic writing of many kinds down to the present. The chapter also considers the reception of the Mirror in Mongolia and its interaction with Mongolian indigenous writing styles. It shows some of the ways that Tibetan intellectuals, including figures as powerful as the Fifth Dalai Lama, appropriated Mirror-inspired aesthetic forms to engage in ironic political sparring, as well as to invent new categories of religious devotional experience and the nuances of soulful literary expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Lasting Vision
Subtitle of host publicationDandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages54
ISBN (Electronic)9780197642924
ISBN (Print)9780197642924
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Dandin
  • Devotional experience
  • Fifth Dalai Lama
  • Kāvyādarśa
  • Mirror of Literature
  • Mongolia
  • Political sparring
  • Soul of literature
  • Tibet
  • Tibetan literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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