Cover image for The golden yoke : the legal cosmology of Buddhist Tibet
The golden yoke : the legal cosmology of Buddhist Tibet
French, Rebecca Redwood.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, [1995]

Physical Description:
xviii, 404 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KNQ8708 .F74 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



The Golden Yoke causes us to rethink American legal culture. The legal cosmology of Buddhist Tibet brings into question both the autonomous framework underlying this system and most of the presumptions we have about the very nature of law, from precedent and res judicata to rule formation and closure.

Author Notes

Rebecca Redwood French practiced law before obtaining an L.L.M. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Yale University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Colorado.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The author of this beautifully produced book (even in-text black-and-white photographs are crisp and clear) is a lawyer and anthropologist, with years of Tibetan language study under the aegis of the Dalai Lama. Focusing on the southern crescent of pre-1959 Tibet, French has conducted hundreds of interviews with those who remember specific legal cases and their resolutions in an attempt to define the profane legal system, the golden yolk, as distinct from the silken thread of the spiritual seekers, i.e., monks and priests. Writing in a jargon-free style, she has interwoven sections on specific cases, many-layered jurisdictions, legal codes, and symbols with discussions of the State Oracle, marriage and inheritance, the sing-counts of tax clerks, and Tara, compassionate mother goddess of Tibet, emanation of the smile of the Buddha Avalokitesvara. A must for anthropologists interested in studying cultures at a distance, comparative legal systems, and Tibetan society; for legal scholars prepared to see Western legal assumptions thrown into relief against the All/One, total particularism imbedded in the universal connectedness of Buddhist thought; for historians of medieval Europe and Qing China (1644-1911); and finally, a pleasure to read for those less erudite. All levels. F. B. Bessac emeritus, University of Montana