July 19, 2012

སྨར། ཟོང་།

Just a spontaneous question: Does smar and zong in Tibetan mean something like “cash” and “kind”? Apparently. See the gSar.bsgrigs (s.v. smar): rta rin phyed ka smar dang phyed ka zong byin “As the cost of the horse, [I] gave half in cash and half in kind.”

I wonder if smar also has a meaning of “fresh” or “raw” or “rough.”


  1. I don't know if it helps with anything, but Zhangzhung smar means good, virtuous, lofty, mature.

    "Zhang-zhung Smar" is the official name of the high-level language that was supposed to be common to Zhang-zhung Sgo (Doorway Zhangzhung, which we could basically say covers all of Ngari in western Tibet).

    Zhangzhung word mar (without the 's') means gold. But in Tibetan, as we know, mar means butter. Both are yellow, I guess. Not everything that's yellow is gold.

    The Btsan-lha dictionary has an entry for Tibetan word smar, where he also makes note of its meanings in Zhang-zhung. I've also noticed this sentence in the works of Drigung Chöjé:

    rin smar po mang pos nyos nas kyang. 'Jig-rten-mgon-po, Bka'-'bum (2001), vol. 4, p. 290, line 2.

  2. Dear Dan,

    Thank you for your reflection and information. I am trying to imagine a link between smar in the sense of “good” and mar in the sense of “gold” or “butter” (or “butter-yellow”) and smar in the sense of “cash” as opposed to “kind” (zong). So could it be that “cash” (in Tibetan) must be something of greater value with which one can buy or pay for things of greater quantity but of lesser value?


  3. Dear D, I think you're probably right. I'm just not familiar with usages of this Tibetan word smar, apart from that example from Drigung Chöje. But that seems to fit with some kind of meaning for smar[-po] of valuable objects or substances... So Yes, I think you're probably right. Back to work. Yours, D