Once when Diane and I were in Carmel, we went into an antique store which specialized in East Asian antiques.
Hanging on the wall was a sort of red quilt, which was like Tibetan or Nepalese, which was a holder for a bunch of metal oblong plates.
Each of the plates had writing on it.
I now have no idea what those plates are called or what they were.They were not “normal” Tibetan books, nor the blocks with which to print them. These were large, flat, and thin, with script painted onto them in a very regular, precise style. The little books (“PECHA”) are usually made from long, narrow pages, patterned after the long dried leaves used in ancient Indian books.
There are two canonical texts:
- Kangyur – translated quotes from the Buddha- basically the equivalent of the Gospels
- Tangyur – discourse on the Kangyur by Indian philosophers- sort of like the Talmud
I also have yet to decipher this phrase from Par-Shinu:
Every gompas had ‘‘Karchak’’ on ‘‘Neyik’’–guide took for pilgrims containing history and praised of the monastery.
These books were printed with wood blocks. Apparently the big printing monasteries were Narthang, Gangchi. Some monasteries (Nyingmapa, Sakyapa, Kadampa) printed in red, and one (Gyelukpa) used yellow-dyed paper. I don’t know what the significance of this is.