An Introduction to the Dhitsa Nangso by Tsehuajia and Tsehuajia (December 21, 2010)
Dhitsa (dhi tsha) was a small historical polity in Northeastern Tibet, or Amdo (a mdo), that was ruled by a local figure known as the Dhitsa Nangso (dhi tsha nang so). The Dhitsa Nangso's territory began in what is now western Bayen (ba yan, Ch. Hualong) County, from Dhitsa (Ch. Zhizha) Township to Alaka (a la ka) Village and from Shalagou (a gorge on the Yellow River) to the Zhima’ang area (Tib. brag dmar sa kul) in eastern Trikha (khri kha, Ch. Guide) County. He was known as the nangso of the Shang shi zu (Tib. stod kyi tsho bcu, ten upper clans), including Diezha, Angsiduo, Duoba, Sherenbu ju, Andachiha, Sina jia, Kazangongwa, Heichengzi jia he, Qun jia, and Shuinaihai. Under the Dhitsa Nangso, there were several local pönpo (dpon po, chiefs) such as Yu long pönpo, Lang long pönpo, Qu jia pönpo, and Cai rou pönpo. All these leaders had their official hat and seal. The size of the coral on their hat indicated their status—the bigger the coral, the more powerful the leader.
The Dhitsa Nangso taxed his people and charged fees for settling disputes such as field disputes and marriage problems. He lived in a large lavish residence made up of three compounds with three different styles of structures.
According to this source, the Tibetan term nangso (transcribed in Chinese as angsuo) originally referred to people scouting along or patrolling the borders (literally, “internal spy”). However, gradually nangso took on a new meaning and it referred to the officials managing both the military and people. Like qianhu (Tib. khri dpon) and baihu (Tib. rgya dpon), angsuo is an official title, but it indicated a more powerful position because such leaders were endowed with both military and religious power. In Qinghai, as an official title nangso appeared in the Yuan Dynasty, and the nangso’s role was a manager under a major incarnate lama. But in the Ming Dynasty, the nangso was a religious and temporal leader.
Zhao, Guobing. Hualong shang shi zu tu guan ang suo ji lue [A Brief Account of the Local Nangso Leader of Upper Ten Clans in Hualong]. Hualong wen shi zi liao juan [Hualong Literary and Historical Materials Volumes] vol. 8-9, 14-16.