Colophons are usually written in smaller letters, or yig chung. In texts translated into Tibetan, the translators colophon (?gyur byang) gives the name of the Indian panditas and Tibetan lotsawas involved. Sometimes, particularly with more recent texts, there is also a printers? colophon (dpar byang) which mentions the patron who sponsored the carving of the woodblocks.




In the Sixty Year Calendrical Cycle (rab byung), each year has a Sino-Tibetan name and an Indo-Tibetan name. Tibetan authors often use the Indo-Tibetan name in colophons, perhaps because it is considered poetic. In the translation, it is often helpful to ?translate? the Indo-Tibetan name into the more familiar Sino-Tibetan form, and then provide the equivalent year of the Gregorian calendar. Tables of correlation between Tibetan and Gregorian calendars may be found in Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu and in the Great Dictionary (tshig mdzod chen mo).




Instead of the simple name for each month (first month, second month and so on), colophons often refer to months according to the Indian system, in which the names are derived from the constellation in which the full moon occurs.


mchu first month, Skt. maagha

dbo second month, Skt. phalguna

nag pa third month, Skt. caitra

sa ga fourth month, Skt. vaishaakha

snron fifth month, Skt. jyeshtha

chu stod sixth month, Skt. aashaadha

gro bzhin seventh month, Skt. shraavana

khrums eighth month, Skt. bhaadra

tha skar ninth month, Skt. ashvinii

smin drug tenth month, Skt. kaartika (Pleiades)

mgo eleventh month, Skt. mrgashiraa

rgyal twelfth month, Skt. paushya


See Tibetan Astrology, Philippe Cornu, p.172


Other names for months:


dka? thub first month

cho ?phrul first month

sprel seventh month

dbyu gu ninth month




dkar phyogs the waxing moon

dkar phyogs dang po the first day of the month

dmar phyogs the waning moon

rdzogs pa dang po the 5th or the 20th

rdzogs pa gnyis pa the 10th or the 25th

rdzogs pa gsum pa the 15th or the 30th


Other words and expressions


Aside from the date, colophons often mention the person who requested the text to be written and any offering they made at the time.


mjal dar white silk scarf

lha rdzas white silk scarf

rin chen gnyis pa silver (literally 'the second precious metal')


Note that termas have their own style of colophon, which make mention of the seals of secrecy placed upon the text.


Lamas will also frequently refer to themselves with extreme humility, as ?the scruffy beggar? (sprang po hrul po), the ignorant fool (blun rmongs) and so on. In some cases, they will use an unfamiliar name, such as their tertön?s name for a text associated with terma, or their ?poetry? name for a text on poetry. They may also translate their name into Sanskrit. Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, for example, whose full name is Ngawang Chökyi Lodrö, often signs texts as Vagindra Dharmamati. And Khenpo Tsöndrü signed some of his writings as Virya, which is the Sanskrit for Tsöndrü.