Agnieszka Helman-Ważny's Archaeology of Tibetan Books provides a comprehensive guide to the making of Tibetan books. Concerned with the relation of papers, inks, and layout to questions of provenance and dating, this work is a must-have companion to any textual analysis.
This volume is the first comparative history that studies the practice of impagination across different ages and civilizations. By impagination we mean the act of placing and arranging spatially textual and other information onto a material bearer that could be made of a variety of materials (papyrus, bamboo slips, palm leaf, parchment, paper, and the computer screen). This volume investigates three levels of impagination: what is the page or other unit of the material bearer, what is written or printed on it, and how is writing or print placed on it. It also examines the interrelations of two or all three of these levels. Collectively it examines the material and materiality of the page, the variety of imprints, cultural and historical conventions for impagination, interlinguistic encounters, the control of editors, scribes, publishers and readers over the page, inheritance, borrowing and innovation, economics, aesthetics and socialities of imprints and impagination, and the relationship of impagination to philology. This volume supplements studies on mise en page and layout – an important subject of codicology – first by including non-codex writings, second by taking a closer look at the page or other unit than at the codex (or book), and third by its aspiration to adopt a globally comparative approach. This volume brings together for comparison vast geographical realms of learning, including Europe, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan and the Near Eastern and European communities in which the Hebrew Bible was transmitted. This comparison is significant, for Europe, China, and India all developed great traditions of learning which came into intensive contact. The contributions to this volume are firmly rooted in local cultures and together address global, comparative themes that are significant for multiple disciplines, such as intellectual and cultural history of knowledge (both humanistic and scientific), global history, literary and media studies, aesthetics, and studies of material culture, among other fields.
It is rarely appreciated how much of the history of Eurasian medicine in the premodern period hinges on cross-cultural interactions and knowledge transmissions. Using manuscripts found in key Eurasian nodes of the medieval world – Dunhuang, Kucha, the Cairo Genizah and Tabriz – the book analyses a number of case-studies of Eurasian medical encounters, giving a voice to places, languages, people and narratives which were once prominent but have gone silent. This is an important book for those interested in the history of medicine and the transmissions of knowledge that have taken place over the course of global history.
Script and writing were among the most important inventions in human history, and until the invention of printing, the handwritten book was the primary medium of literary and cultural transmission. Although the study of manuscripts is already quite advanced for many regions of the world, no unified discipline of ‘manuscript studies’ has yet evolved which is capable of treating handwritten books from East Asia, India and the Islamic world equally alongside the European manuscript tradition. This book, which aims to begin the interdisciplinary dialogue needed to arrive at a truly systematic and comparative approach to manuscript cultures worldwide, brings together papers by leading researchers concerned with material, philological and cultural aspects of different manuscript traditions.
In The Mardzong Manuscripts Agnieszka Helman-Ważny and Charles Ramble recount the discovery of a cache of Bön and Buddhist manuscripts, some over seven centuries old, in the remote Mardzong caves in Mustang, Nepal, and subsequent research on the collection.
Garland of Visions explores the generative relationships between artistic intelligence and tantric vision practices in the construction and circulation of visual knowledge in medieval South Asia. Shifting away from the traditional connoisseur approach, Jinah Kim instead focuses on the materiality of painting: its mediums, its visions, and especially its colors. She argues that the adoption of a special type of manuscript called pothi enabled the material translation of a private and internal experience of "seeing" into a portable device. These mobile and intimate objects then became important conveyors of many forms of knowledge—ritual, artistic, social, scientific, and religious—and spurred the spread of visual knowledge of Indic Buddhism to distant lands. By taking color as the material link between a vision and its artistic output, Garland of Visions presents a fresh approach to the history of Indian painting.
Politics, history, and religion have long lent Tibet a glamorous air, particularly in the West. But Tibet can be understood in an astonishingly wide variety of other ways, including linguistic, ecological, environmental and climatological, geographical, geological, economic, biologic, sociologic, medicinal. Tibetan Studies in Comparative Perspective touches on all the elements of the Tibet issue, offering invaluable insight to a wide variety of readers, from specialists to those with a general interest in the topic. By putting readers into the shoes of all the stakeholders, from the Dalai Lama in his home in exile and the various Tibetan exile communities, to decision makers in Beijing, New Delhi, Washington and London, the issues at stake come into bold relief. Furthermore, the book examines the potential opportunities that lay ahead, documents where and how Tibetans have been dispersed and offers a glimpse into the social and political undercurrents sending shudders through this exiled nation. With the chasm between exiles and indigenous Tibetans growing ever-larger, what challenges do Tibetans confront just to remain Tibetan? And how will this shape the future of their political movement? The book provides a timely re-examination of the contemporary predicament of Tibetans, both in and out of Tibet. This book was published as two special issues of Asian Ethnicity.
This volume examines the significance of the Chinese Buddhist canon in modern East Asian Buddhism. Exploring how the Chinese Buddhist canon has evolved and how it is currently utilized, each chapter of this book provides new insights and essential information into the Chinese Buddhist canon during the modern and contemporary periods.
The northern Chinese mountain range of Mount Wutai has been a preeminent site of international pilgrimage for over a millennium. Home to more than one hundred temples, the entire range is considered a Buddhist paradise on earth, and has received visitors ranging from emperors to monastic and lay devotees. Mount Wutai explores how Qing Buddhist rulers and clerics from Inner Asia, including Manchus, Tibetans, and Mongols, reimagined the mountain as their own during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wen-Shing Chou examines a wealth of original source materials in multiple languages and media--many never before published or translated—such as temple replicas, pilgrimage guides, hagiographic representations, and panoramic maps. She shows how literary, artistic, and architectural depictions of the mountain permanently transformed the site's religious landscape and redefined Inner Asia's relations with China. Chou addresses the pivotal but previously unacknowledged history of artistic and intellectual exchange between the varying religious, linguistic, and cultural traditions of the region. The reimagining of Mount Wutai was a fluid endeavor that proved central to the cosmopolitanism of the Qing Empire, and the mountain range became a unique site of shared diplomacy, trade, and religious devotion between different constituents, as well as a spiritual bridge between China and Tibet. A compelling exploration of the changing meaning and significance of one of the world's great religious sites, Mount Wutai offers an important new framework for understanding Buddhist sacred geography.
Composite and multiple-text manuscripts are traditionally studied for their individual texts, but recent trends in codicology have paved the way for a more comprehensive approach: Manuscripts are unique artefacts which reveal how they were produced and used as physical objects. While multiple-text manuscripts codicologically are to be considered as production units, i.e. they were originally planned and realized in order to carry more than one text, composites consist of formerly independent codicological units and were put together at a later stage with intentions that might be completely different from those of its original parts. Both sub-types of manuscripts are still sometimes called "miscellanies", a term relating to the texts only. The codicological difference is important for reconstructing why and how these manuscripts which in many cases resemble (or contain) a small library were produced and used. Contributions on the manuscript cultures of China, India, Africa, the Islamic world and European traditions lead not only to the conclusion that "one-volume libraries" have been produced in many manuscript cultures, but allow also for the identification of certain types of uses.