Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century

The Capital of the Dalai Lamas


This is the story of the rise of Lhasa, before 1642 a small town, renowned for its Jokhang temple and its three large 15th century Gelukpa monasteries. The political victory of the Gelukpa changed its destiny and it was the Fifth Dalai Lama who made Lhasa into the centre of the Tibetan world, with an influence reaching into Mongolia and Ladakh. It became a true capital, with prestigious monuments, and the Potala Palace as its focus and symbol.
Based on Tibetan and Western sources, the book provides a fascinating study of the history of Lhasa against the background of the triangular relations Tibetans-Mongols-Manchus. With ample attention for 17th century Lhasa’s historical, political and cultural context, it offers new insights on Lhasa, also, in the last chapter, in its contemporary Chinese framework.


EUR €136.00USD $165.00

Biographical Note

Françoise Pommaret, Ph.D. (1987) is an ethno-historian at the CNRS, Paris, lecturer at the National institute of Oriental and African Studies (INALCO), Paris and advisor for History and Anthropology at the Institute of Language and Culture at the Royal University of Bhutan. She has been associated with Bhutan in different capacities since 1979 and has published numerous scholarly articles and books. She was the co-editor and co-author of Bhutan: mountain fortress of the gods,(London, 1997) and the editor of Lhasa in the seventeenth century, (Brill, Leiden 2003). John Ardussi, Ph.D. (1977) in Asian Civilizations, Australian National University (Canberra), is a private scholar specializing in Tibetan and Bhutanese history, and an affiliate member of the CNRS research team 'Centre de recherche sur les civilisations chinoise, japonaise et tibétaine.' In addition, he is a professional engineer in the aviation electronics industry. His present research focuses on 16th - 20th century Himalayan history, traditional technologies and economics. He has written numerous articles on the history of Bhutan and Tibet and is completing a translation of the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye's biography.

Review Quote

"…an extraordinary and thoroughly readable collection, and its high-quality essays should be viewed collectively as setting some basic standards for future research in Tibetan social history and culture." – Bryan J. Cuevas, in: The Journal of Asian Studies


All those interested in Asian studies and the history and culture of Tibet as well as Tibetologists and art historians.