Mongolian Tanjur

In 1741 a huge translation programme began in Mongolia. At that time, Mongolia was dominated by the Buddhist monastic organisation, and the programme was undertaken at the behest of the Mongolian Living Buddha, the reincarnated head of the monastic organisation there. Translators, teachers, scientists and workers were employed to translate into Mongolian over 3,427 Tibetan and Indian works on philosophy, technology, logic, medicine, philology, astrology, poetry and others. In some cases they used earlier translations, especially those from a similar largescale translation programme started in 1724. After translation was completed, the text was printed in Beijing. The resultant great work available in 1749 was referred to as the Mongolian "Tanjur" (translation of treatise).

The Mongolian Tanjur comprises 226 volumes in 107,839 pages. It was printed in the vertical Mongolian script on Chinese paper in red paint. It was said that to print a copy of the Mongolian Tanjur from blocks, 2160.9 ounces of silver were used, which is equivalent to the cost of 4,000 sheep then. The MongolianTanjur is probably the largest and most complete set of translations ever undertaken, and the text as printed comprises perhaps the fullest encyclopedia ever produced. This huge translation programme led to a rise in sophistication in written Mongolian, which became capable of handling the most complex terms and ideas. It is crucial to the development of Mongolian culture and literacy, and is the finest witness extant to Tibetan-Indian written culture. It is regarded as one of the greatest historical treasures of Mongolia: after it was acquired by Mongolia in 1925, an elaborate stone monument was erected in 1929 to celebrate this success. The original copy of the Mongolian Tanjur, the only copy exists, was inscribed on the International Memory of the World Register in 2011.

International Register