Bursting onto the scene in the 1630s, the Degé (sde dge) Kingdom quickly became one of the preeminent polities and cultural centers of Kham (khams), Eastern Tibet. Degé prospered for nearly three centuries, and was dissolved in 1909 during a period when many polities in Kham were subjected to a Qing experiment in “development.” The administrative complexity of Degé grew from eighteen to twenty-five and then thirty-three agricultural “counties” (rdzong khag), along with several nomadic areas. There were altogether 7,977 households under Degé’s rule, and the annual grain and other taxes were equivalent to 280 taels of silver. The kingdom was located in the present-day counties of Degé, Pelyül (dpal yul), Kandzé (dkar mdzes), and Sershül (ser shul) counties in Sichuan, and Jomda ('jo mda') County in the TAR. Degé is best known in Tibet and worldwide for its cultural achievements; foremost among them are the high quality editions of the Buddhist canon printed at its royal publishing house, the development of the Ecumenical or Rimé (ris med) Movement in the nineteenth century, and the influential writings and visual arts of its many learned lamas.
THL has dozens of hours of video and thousands of photographs taken in Degé.