The paper analyses the relations between the Chinese Ming Dynasty and the Tibetan ruling house Phag-mo-gru in the years 1368-1434, that is during the period between the foundation of the Ming Dynasty in 1368 and the decline of the political power of the Phag-mo-gru in Central Tibet in 1434. The paper is focused on the political and religious character of the relationship. The regular contacts had the form of exchanges of diplomatic missions and were a part of the traditional system of trade and tribute, which the Chinese dynasties had used for the regulation of their relations with foreign powers. By granting titles to the rulers of Phag-mo-gru the Ming Dynasty attempted to continue the Mongolian policy, but it did not have sufficient economic and military resources to enforce its policy in Central Tibet. The personal interest of Ming Chengzu (r. 1402-1424) in Tibetan Buddhism intensified mutual relations and he also maintained contacts with other Tibetan Buddhist dignitaries and local rulers from Eastern Tibet. The Chinese sources prove that the relationship with Tibet was not of a strategic character and the dominant role of the Phag-mo-gru in Central Tibet is not explicitly stated by these sources. For the Ming Dynasty Tibet was only one of the peripheral regions and the Ming Tibet policy represented a retreat from the previously gained Chinese position in Central Tibet.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.