The Info List - Karma Thutob Namgyal

Karma Thutob Namgyal (Tibetan: ཀར་མ་མཏའུ་སྟོབས་རྣམ་རྒྱལWylie: Kar ma mt'u stobs rnam rgyal) (died 17 October 1610) was a prince of the Tsangpa Dynasty that ruled parts of Central Tibet from 1565 to 1642.

Family and offspring

Karma Thutob Namgyal was the son of the king of Upper Tsang, Karma Tseten, who founded the dynasty in 1565. He was considered to be a reincarnation of an ancient Tibetan chogyal (religious king). A text refers to him as the Depa Tsangtö, ruler of Upper Tsang, but it is not known when he started to reign. However, he resided in the Samdrubtse castle in Shigatse by 1586, probably while his father was still alive.[1] There he received the cleric Sakya Dorje Nyima Pal Zangpo. Sakya Dorje performed a protective ceremony and made a talisman for Karma Thutob Namgyal in order to ensure the continuation of his line. Ponsa Yargyabpa, a Yargyab princess who was the consort of the ruler, became pregnant and gave birth to Karma Phuntsok Namgyal (1587–1620).[2]

Co-ruler of Tsang

When the old Karma Tseten died from an epileptic attack, apparently in 1599, three of his nine sons divided the kingship between them. Khunpang Lhawang Dorje (d. 1605/06) resided in the main stronghold of the dynasty, Samdrubtse, while the place of residence of Karma Thutob is not clear from the texts. However, the main force in the dynasty was the third brother Karma Tensung (d. 1609 or 1611) who led successful military expeditions against Ü (East Central Tibet). Like the other members of the family, Karma Thutob entertained good relations with the Karma Kagyu sect of Buddhism and invited Wangchuk Dorje, the 9th Karmapa.[3] Nevertheless, he is not known to have been an active figure and apparently stood entirely in the shadow of Karma Tensung. His date of demise is given as 17 October 1610.[4] It was his son Karma Phuntsok Namgyal who became the real founder of Tsangpa's power over Central Tibet in the early 17th century.[5]


  1. ^ Karma Tseten died in 1599 according to the Sogdog gyi tsulgyi logyu, referred in James Gentry, Substance and Sense: Objects of Power in the Life, Writings, and Legacy of the Tibetan Ritual Master Sog bzlog pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan, PhD thesis, Harvard University 2013, p. 138. [1]
  2. ^ Giuseppe Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls. Rome 1949, Vol. I, p. 697.
  3. ^ Navina Lamminger, Der Sechste Zhva dmar pa Chos kyi dbang phyug (1584–1630) und sein Reisebericht aus den Jahren 1629/1630: Studie, Edition und Übersetzung. PhD Thesis, Ludwig-Maxililian-Universität 2013, p. 41. [2]
  4. ^ David Templeman, Becoming Indian: A study of the life of the 16th-17th century Tibetan Lama Taranatha. PhD Thesis, Monash University 2008.
  5. ^ Tsepon W.D. Shakabpa, Tibet. A Political History, Yale 1967, p. 100.
Preceded by
Karma Tseten
Ruler of Tsang
c. 1586–1610
Succeeded by
Karma Tensung