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Labour Service

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Chapter Summary

In order to comprehend the prevalence of corvée labour service and the phenomenon of a dependent being tied to an estate, the chapter briefly investigates the structural features of the Dege polity. Josef Kolmas proposed a reconstruction of the Dege monarchy in terms of Tibetan religious movements. The scarcity of manpower probably necessitated Dege-tsang to attach dependents to the estates as a defense mechanism against the loss of taxpayer manpower to other places at the expense of the state. The lord of Zilphukhog, Yudrug-tsang, had at least 30 dependent households which fell into three categories: 15 pastoral households; about nine peasant households; and six monastic households. The monastic dependents dwelt in the vicinity of Galen Gon, the local Sakyapa monastery, which was situated lower down the valley near the middle course of the river Zil Chu.

Keywords: corvée labour service; Dege monarchy; Tibetan religious movements; Yudrug-tsang; Zilphukhog



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