Tuesday, December 8, 2015

IDP News Issue No 46

Professor Zhao Feng, Director of the National Silk Museum, showing visitors around the exhibition, 'Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange' at the West Lake Museum. They are viewing the clothes of the Yingpan burial.
Issue no. 46 of IDP News is now available to read online. It covers the several events on Silk Road textiles organised by the China National Silk Museum, including an exhibition, an international symposium and the founding of a new research association. The opening article is one of the papers given at the symposium, on the discovery of textiles to be used for the paper-making industry near Jericho.
Download IDP News Issue 46 as a PDF (2.1MB)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Chinese-Tibetan bilingual Buddhist manuscript

This Chinese-Tibetan Lankavatara Sutra is one of the most interesting, and beautiful bilingual manuscripts from Dunhuang. As the picture above shows, it was made in the concertina format. The Chinese text, written in black ink, is a commentary on the Lankavatara Sutra, while the Tibetan text, written in red ink between the lines of Chinese, is the Tibetan translation of the sutra itself (but not the commentary).
When you read the Chinese text on this manuscript, you treat the concertina as if it were a folded Chinese scroll (which it basically is), reading from top to bottom and right to left:
On the other hand, in order to read the Tibetan, you have to turn the manuscript ninety degrees to the left, and read from left to right. When you do this, the concertina looks much more like a Tibetan pothi, and there is even a string-hole to make that association quite clear:
If you look carefully at these images, you can see that the text has been carefully marked up to show where the Tibetan translation corresponds to the Chinese. So what was the manuscript used for? One possibility is that it was used by someone learning Tibetan, or Chinese.
Another very interesting theory, suggested by Daishun Ueyama, is that this manuscript was used by the translator Chodrup, who lived in Dunhuang in the 9th century, and produced several translations of Buddhist texts into Tibetan from Chinese. Since the Tibetan text on this manuscript is from a different translation of the Lankavatara Sutra, made from a Sanskrit text, the manuscript could have been used in the course of preparing a new translation from Chinese.
References
Manuscript: Or.8210/S.5603, Stein Collection, British Library.
Ueyama Daishun. 1990. Tonkō bukkyō no kenkyū [Studies on Buddhism in Dunhuang]. Kyōto: Hōzōkan.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Xuastvanift: a confession book of Manichaean Uygurs

The British Library manuscript copy of Xuastvanift (Or.8212/178), a confession book of the Manichaean Uygurs.

The British Library manuscript copy can now be viewed on IDP. This follows publication in 2014 of a book on this text by Betül Özbat:
Huastuanift: Manihaist Uygurlarin Tövbe Duasi
[Xuastvanift — a confession book of the Manichaean Uygurs]
Türk Dil Kurumu Yayınları: Ankara 2014
PB, 256 pp., colour and B&W ills., 14TL.
ISBN: 9789751628985

Betül Özbat introduces her book below.

"This manuscript is one of the most important and complete texts among the Old Uygur Manichaean texts. It was first published by W. Radloff (1909) and A. von Le Coq (1910/1). After this scholars such as W. Bang and J. P. Asmussen also studied the text. A. von Le Coq’s publication (1911) was translated into Turkish in 1941 but there was no detailed study after this in Turkey. One of our main aims was to prepare a new publication on this text in Turkish in order to reach Turkish readers.

My book consists of two main sections. The first is an introduction containing brief information on Manichaean Uygurs, Manichaean literature, art, script and religion, as well as Sogdian people and their relationship with the Uygurs. The second part contains the text of Xuastvanift. This follows the text found on the longest extant manuscript which is in the Stein collection in London (Or.8212/178). There are more than twenty copies of the text but I only used other fragments from Berlin and St. Petersburg to supplement the main text. A transcription is given along with notes giving the source(s) of the text.

For example:
[337] k(ä)ntü özümüzni ämgätir biz (U7a, 1-2; L 299; Spb 139-140)

In this example, the number to the left in the square brackets indicates that this is the 337th line of the entire text. The number on the right in the round brackets indicates that this line corresponds to (respectively) the 1st and 2nd lines on the recto of Berlin U7 fragment; the 299th line on the London scroll, Or.8212/178; and the 139th-140th lines on the St. Petersburg manuscript.

A Turkish translation and the transliteration is given after the transcription. The book ends with the interpretation of some problematic points in the text, a glossary and appendix.

The appendix gives images of different manuscript copies of the Xuastvanift. The coloured images of the British Library scroll are the first to be reproduced — the previous publication by A. Von Le Coq had only black and white images."

Sponsorship enabling digitisation of the scroll was kindly provided by a Turkish scholar.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Remembering Aurel Stein: died 26 October 1943 in Kabul

On 31 March 1943, just back from Las Belas tracing one of Alexander the Great's unsurveyed routes, the scholar, archaeologist and explorer Marc Aurel Stein (b. 1862) received a telegram from Cornelius Van Hemert Engert (1887-1985), US Minister in Kabul. It was an entirely unexpected invitation to Afghanistan. Stein was in his 81st year but, characteristically undefeated by age, he immediately started making plans and laying down conditions for his visit: he wanted to visit sites in Bactria and the Helmand valley and also follow ancient routes through Afghanistan. Van Hemert Engert was dismayed that Stein expected so much to be agreed in advance, but Stein's experiences on his last visit to China in 1930 had made him cautious. Perhaps also he could not really believe it would be possible: after all, his boyhood dreams of visiting Afghanistan had been constantly thwarted.

Stein had set foot — in his imagination — on Afghan soil as a schoolboy when he first read of the travels of Alexander the Great. Thirty years later when crossing the Pamirs in 1900 on his first Chinese Central Asian expedition, he had stood at the country's western border and taken a few steps into the promised land. After this he tried many times to gain permission to carry out excavations there but had constantly failed.

Stein finally reached Kabul on Tuesday 19 October 1943. He arrived from Peshawar in the US Legation car and stayed in the Legation. He lost no time in making the round of official calls necessary to facilitate his planned archaeological work but, on the Thursday after his arrival, he allowed himself an afternoon in the Kabul Museum. The next day he had a chill and was forced to cancel engagements, including a Saturday visit to the cinema. By this time the chill had developed into bronchitis and on Sunday morning he clearly felt he might not recover. He spoke to van Hemert Engert about funeral arrangements, asking for a Church of England service and telling him: 'I have had a wonderful life and it could not be concluded more happily than in Afghanistan which I have wanted to visit for sixty years.'

That evening he suffered a stroke. He did not fully regain consciousness and died on Thursday 26 October 1943 only a week after his arrival. He was buried in the Christian cemetery in Kabul, Gora Kabur ('white graveyard'). The funeral service was conducted by the Anglican padre from Peshawar and attended by representatives of the Afghan ruler, the Foreign Ministry and other departments, the Persian Ambassador, Iraqi Minister and Soviet Chargé d'Affaires, alongside American and British Legation staff: Stein would have approved of the international mix. His grave continues to be looked after today (picture above taken in 2006).

Stein's life — and that of his contemporary, Sigmund Freud — is the topic of a lecture by Professor Craig Clunas on 6 November 2015. The lecture will be held at the British Library and followed by a drinks reception.
ONLINE BOOKING

Monday, October 12, 2015

Publication: Tibetan Zen

Discovering a Lost Tradition
The Stories Told by the Dunhuang Cave Manuscripts

Author: Sam van Schaik

Until the early twentieth century, hardly any traces of the Tibetan tradition of Chinese Chan Buddhism, or Zen, remained. The discovery of the sealed cave in Dunhuang transformed our understanding of early Zen, and its role in Tibetan Buddhism. Sam van Schaik of IDP has recently published a book of translations of key Tibetan Zen texts, with brief introductions discussing the roles of ritual, debate, lineage, and meditation in the early Zen tradition.

Shambhala Publications, 2015
PB. 240 pp. $21.95/£17.99
ISBN: 9781559394468

Available in the UK from Wisdom Books.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Authenticity and Transparency in Digital Projects: IDP

In 2014 Paschalia Terzi from the University of Borås, Sweden, spent six months on an Erasmus scholarship with IDP in London working on her MA thesis on the concepts of authenticity and transparency in digitisation projects. Her MA was awarded in 2015 and her thesis is now available for download.

She writes:

"Cultural institutions that hold unique and valuable physical items only for restricted access until now are experiencing a change that demands them to take up the role of information providers as well. The International Dunhuang Project is a digitization project that has been taken as an example to investigate this phenomenon and more particularly issues of trustworthiness and how it can be established in the digital environment. Two concepts have been found to form the basis of its assessment in the online world, authenticity and transparency. Authenticity is a concept borrowed from the existing practice of cultural institutions like museums and archives but transparency is a new demand that has come along with internet and the WWW. Through the examination of components of IDP's website like online documents, metadata and images along with interviews with the producers of the project, an attempt has been made to understand how trustworthiness is perceived by the producers of the project and how they have implemented it on the material of their website."

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Beyond Paper: 3000 Years of Chinese Writing
纸张之外:汉字书写3000年

An exhibit in Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Library Gallery
From 8 September 2015 to 17 January 2016
Free Entry

This exhibit at the British Library consists of four cases of material to show the different media used for Chinese writing and the different forms of script. The cases show oracle bones, woodslips, silk manuscripts and paper books respectively.

The remains of a house (N.XIV.) dating to the 2nd-4th century AD at the oasis settlement of Cadota (Niya) in the southern Taklamakan. The wooden gift tags described below were discovered here. (Stein is shown mapping the site on his plane table.)
January 1931.
Photo 392/34(155)

Wood

Wood and bamboo were widely used for Chinese texts during the late first millennium BC. Fashioned into narrow slips bearing one or more columns of text, they were joined together with string to form a ‘page’ and then rolled for storage. The strings have mainly disintegrated, leaving a puzzle for scholars to reconstruct the texts from the mixed-up wood slips.

Thousands of slips have been found in tombs in Central China and archaeological ruins on the Chinese northwestern frontier. Wood continued to be used in the first millennium AD in these desert outposts even after the invention of paper.

简牍

木头和竹子在公元前第一个千年的晚期曾被广泛应用于汉字书写。它们被制成细长的薄片,每片书写一列或几列文字,而后用细绳连缀成一‘页’并卷起储存。原本的绳子多已断裂,使学者们不得不面对从混乱的简牍中重构原文的难题。 中原地区的墓葬以及西北边疆的考古遗址中,已经出土了数以千计的简牍。在公元后的第一个千年,这些沙漠哨所仍继续使用木简作为书写材料,尽管纸张此时已被发明。

A Calendar. Ink on wood, 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. Dunhuang, China
日历。木简,公元前1世纪至公元2世纪。中国敦煌
Or.8211/697

The form of Chinese characters — the ‘spelling’ — was standardized in the 3rd century BC and the same standard has been used to the present day (although with different styles of handwriting — different ‘scripts’). However, the form deriving from that used on the oracle bones continued to be used alongside this standard, most especially on seals. It is here shown on part of a calendar inscribed on this unusually shaped piece of wood. This, and the other woodslips shown here, were discovered in ancient military fortifications which guarded the northwest frontier of China with the Silk Road.

汉字的书写形式在公元前3世纪得到标准化并延用至今(尽管手写汉字有不同的字体)。然而,由甲骨文所衍生出的书写形式与标准化的汉字一并继续使用,尤其是作为印章上的铭文。这里展示的是一件日历的一部分,它书写在一件特殊形状的木简上。这件木简同其他展出的简牍均发现于古代军事要塞,它们同丝绸之路一起驻守中国的西北边疆。

Writing Exercise. Ink on wood, AD 14-19. Dunhuang, China
书写练习。木简,公元14至19年。中国敦煌
Or.8211/372

This is written in the standard script from the 3rd century BC which is still used in China. But the style of handwriting in this period is distinctive, with downward diagonal strokes that are thicker at the bottom right. It is clearly shown on this woodslip which contains a writing exercise. The words being practised include (big), (man) and (heaven). A date, corresponding to AD 14-19, is given in the four characters near the bottom.

这件木简以公元前3世纪标准化的汉字写就,这种汉字今天仍被中国人使用。然而这一时代的手写字体非常独特,笔画中的“捺”在结尾处微微变粗。这件木简清晰地展示了其含有一份书写练习。被练习的汉字有“大”,“人”和“天”。木简底部的四个汉字显示了一个日期,相当于公元14至19年。

Medical Prescriptions for People and Horses. Ink on bamboo, 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. Dunhuang, China
为人和马开具的医疗处方。竹简,公元前1世纪至公元2世纪。中国敦煌
Or.8211/524, Or.8211/525, Or.8211/526

These slips contain medical prescriptions and were all found in a Chinese military station north of the frontier town of Dunhuang in the Gobi desert. They are written on bamboo which, although commonly used in Central China, was not locally available on this northwestern borde. It must have been carried in, probably from southwest China.

One prescription is to treat ‘a persistent cough, nausea in the chest, aching joints and long-standing constipation’ and contains pepper, ginger and cinnamon. Some of the prescriptions are for horses, including those that are wounded or suffering from the heat.

这些竹简写有一些医疗处方,它们均发现于边境城市敦煌以北,戈壁沙漠中的一处中国军事驻地。尽管这些竹简在中原地区被广泛使用,但西北边疆并不出产竹子。这些竹简很可能来自中国西南。 其中一份处方是为了治疗“久咳不止,胸闷,关节疼痛以及长期便秘”,处方中含有胡椒,姜,以及肉桂。其他一些处方是为受伤或中暑的马所开具。

Wooden gift tags. Ink on wood, 2nd to 3rd centuries AD. Niya, China
木质礼品标签。木简,公元2至3世纪。中国尼雅
Or.8211/940, Or.8211/941, Or.8211/942, Or.8211/943, Or.8211/944, Or.8211/945, Or.8211/946

These wooden tags, discovered buried in sand in the hallway of a large ruined house, were used to label gifts of jade presented to the royal family of the kingdom of Jingjue or Cadota in the southern Taklamakan Desert. The front gives details of the gift: ‘Your subject Chengde bows his head to the ground and sincerely presents this rose coloured stone and bows twice in greeting’. The back gives the name of the recipient: ‘the great king’, ‘Princess Chun’, ‘The Royal Wife from Qiemo.’ No jade was found at the long-deserted site: the slips had been left there and survived by being covered by the desert sands.

这些木质标签发现于一座大型房屋废墟内走廊的沙土之中,它们被用作一些玉石礼物的标签,这些礼物要被进献给塔克拉玛干沙漠南部精绝国的王室。标签的正面给出了礼物的细节:“臣承德叩頭謹以玫瑰一再拜致問”。标签的背面注明了收件人信息:“大王”,“春君”,“且末夫人”。在这处久被遗弃的遗址并未发现玉石,只有这些木简被留下并由于被沙土掩埋而保存下来。

A Woodslip Book. Ink on wood with string, 2004
编简成册。木简,细绳,2004年
ORB.MISC.25

This is a modern reproduction of a Chinese woodslip book showing how the slips were fastened together to form a ‘page’. The notches for the string ties can be seen on the original woodslips, shown alongside.

The original woodslips shown here were found in oasis towns and desert fortifications on the Chinese part of the Silk Road. Most of them are probably written on poplar wood which was plentiful in the irrigated settlements. The remains of two thousand year old dessicated trees can still be seen in these long-deserted sites.

这是一件中国木简书的现代仿制品,它展示了木简如何被固定起来形成一个“册页”。为绑细绳用的缺口在旁边的木简原件上清晰可辨。 这里展示的木简原件发现于丝绸之路中国段的绿洲城镇及沙漠要塞。这些木简的大多数当为杨木,它们在有水利灌溉的定居点十分常见。在这些久被遗弃的遗址仍可见到两千年前干枯的古树。

An Almanac for the year 59 BC. Ink on wood. Dunhuang, China
公元前59年年历。木简。中国敦煌
Or.8211/26, Or.8211/28, Or.8211/29, Or.8211/30, Or.8211/31, Or.8211/34, Or.8211/35

These slips, which contain an almanac or calendar for the year 59 BC, would originally have been joined together to form a ‘page’. The notches used to hold the string ties can still be seen – two on the right hand edge of each slip. The characters at the top give the day – ‘eighth day’ 八日, eleventh day’ 十一日etc. Because the form or spelling of Chinese characters was standardized in the third century BC and retained to the present-day, anyone knowing modern Chinese would recognize these characters.

这些木简含有一部公元前59年的年历,它们原本被连缀成一部“册页”。用于固定绳子的缺口仍然可见——它们位于每片木简的右侧边缘。木简顶部的汉字标明了日期——“八日”,“十一日”等等。由于汉字的书写形式在公元前3世纪得到标准化并沿用至今,任何懂得现代汉语的人都可以认出这些汉字。

Thanks to Gao Feichi for the Chinese translation.

感谢译者高菲池

The Chinese character used on the panels at the exhibit at the British Library is the character for wood . It is taken from a Han period woodslips excavated in Juyan in north-western China.

Beyond Paper: 3000 Years of Chinese Writing
纸张之外:汉字书写3000年

An exhibit in Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Library Gallery
8 September 2015 to 17 January 2016
Free Entry

This exhibit at the British Library consists of four cases of material to show the different media used for Chinese writing and the different forms of script. The cases show oracle bones, woodslips, silk manuscripts and paper books respectively.

The manuscripts displayed here were all discovered in a Library Cave at the Buddhist cave temple site at Mogao, near Dunhuang. The entrance to the Library Cave can be seen on the right of the corridor of Cave 16, shown here.
Photo 392/59(1)

Silk

Silk, which has been cultivated in China for over 5,000 years, was used as a writing material in the first millennium BC. Like wood, its use continued even after the invention of paper. Because it was expensive, it was used for special texts, such as the fragment of the Buddhist sutra shown here. While paper became the most common writing material, silk continued to be used in book production, for scroll ties, scroll wrappers, and book covers.

丝绸

丝绸的生产和使用在中国已经有超过5000年的历史,在公元前第一个千年它们也被用作书写材料。类似简牍,丝绸的使用一直持续到纸张发明以后。因为丝绸价格昂贵,它们只被用于特殊文本的书写,如这里展示的一件佛经残片。当纸张成为最常用的书写材料,丝绸扔被用于书籍装帧,如用作卷轴绑带,封套,书籍封面等。

Buddhist Sutra on Silk. Ink on silk, 6th century
丝绸上的佛经。绢本,公元6世纪
Or.8210/S.5719

Silk has been used as a medium for writing from the first millennium BC in China, but it was largely replaced by paper from the first few centuries AD as paper was cheaper. However, silk continued to be used for some special and expensive texts: a second century book is described as written on white silk ruled with red columns and wrapped in blue silk with the title in red. The piece shown here is fragment of a Buddhist sutra and was originally part of a longer scroll, like the ones on paper.

丝绸自公元前第一个千年起即被作为书写材料,但由于纸张的廉价,从公元后的最初几个世纪开始,丝绸在很大程度上被纸张所取代。然而,丝绸仍继续被用于一些特殊而昂贵的书写:一部公元2世纪的卷轴被描述为写在白绢上,红色栏线,蓝绸封套,有红色标题。这里展出的是一件佛经长卷的残片,其形式与纸本长卷相同。


Buddhist sutra scrolls with silk ties. Ink on paper with silk and wood, 7th to 9th centuries
佛经卷轴与丝绸绑带。纸本,丝绸,木头,公元7至9世纪 Or.8210/S.5296, Or.8210/S.3621, Or.8210/S.4864

Silk continued to be used in book production in China even after the invention of paper, most especially for the braids used to tie the scrolls. These scrolls would have been expensive to produce. The paper was probably made in Central China, dyed with a yellow dye called huangbo containing berberine, which has insecticidal and water-repellant properties. A professional scribe would have copied the text, Buddhist sacred texts or sutras. The person sponsoring the production often had a note added to the end giving the date and the recipient of the merit gained from replicating the words of the Buddha.

纸张发明后丝绸仍被继续用于书籍装桢,尤其是作为捆绑卷轴的穗带。这些卷轴的制作在当时十分昂贵。这些纸张可能产自中原地区,并用称为“黄柏”的黄色染料染色,这种染料含有黄连素,有杀虫和防水的功效。佛教经卷等典籍通常由专业书隶进行抄写。经卷的资助者通常要求在结尾处加注一条注释说明日期及传颂佛祖真言的公德归于何人。

Calligraphic Model after Wang Xizhi. Ink on paper, 7th to 9th centuries
王羲之书法摹本。纸本,公元7至9世纪
Or.8210/S.3753

In addition to its practical use, writing in Chinese was considered as art with the most famous calligraphers valued more highly than other artists. This piece is a model or copy based on the cursive calligraphy of one such master, Wang Xizhi (303-361): none of his original work survives. Good copies were believed to capture the ‘spirit resonance’ of the master’s work and were highly valued in themselves. It is written on pink dyed paper.

除了其实用价值,汉字书写还被视为一种艺术,最著名的书法家受到高于其他艺术家的重视。这件展品就是这样一位书法家——王羲之(303-361)的草书摹本。没有一件王羲之的书法原作被保存下来,但是好的摹本被认为抓住了大师原作的“神韵”而使其自身拥有极高价值。这件作品写于被染成粉色的纸上。

Thanks to Gao Feichi for the Chinese translation.

感谢译者高菲池

The Chinese character used on the panels at the exhibit at the British Library is the character for silk . It is taken from a medical manuscript from Dunhuang, probably dating to the 10th century. The British Library, Or.8210/S.76.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Public Lecture: Aurel Stein, Sigmund Freud and the Other

Speaker: Professor Craig Clunas
Lecture and reception hosted by the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) at the British Library with the Freud Museum

Marc Aurel Stein with dogs, Spin Khan and Dash. Srinagar, 1928. Photo 392/33(6), The British Library.
Sigmund Freud with dogs, Fo and Tattoun. Hohe Warte, 1933. 42*, Freud Museum London.

Although there is no evidence that they ever met, the careers of close contemporaries Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943) offer some intriguing parallels. Both were born as Jewish subjects of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, yet ended their lives as exiles from their homelands, on British (or imperial British) soil. Both were fascinated by the ancient world, and while Stein became one of the most famous archaeologists of his age, Freud was gripped by the extent to which archaeology provided a metaphor for the new practice of psychoanalysis. Both were collectors of Asian antiquities, and while Stein’s achievements are well known Freud’s significant Chinese collections have attracted much less attention than his Egyptian and Graeco-Roman objects. Both had significantly close relationships with their dogs. And both were and remain highly controversial figures, revered and occasionally reviled. This lecture will look at some of the shared intellectual interests and parallel activities of these two giant figures in their respective fields, considering what links as well as what separates them today.

6 November 2015, 6pm
The British Library Conference Centre
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
MAP

£10/£8/£7 Concessions
ONLINE BOOKING

Download a PDF with details (544KB)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Reuniting Dispersed Collections

Photo 392/28(460). Stein at T.XIII., 18 March 1914.

Stein used the Latin term limes to describe the series of Chinese Han period (206 BC – AD 220) defensive walls and watchtowers to the north of Dunhuang. He carried out excavations on his second and third Central Asian expeditions in 1907 and 1914 respectively. The artefacts he uncovered include numerous woodslips, Sogdian Letters, pottery, weapons, textiles and shoes.

One of the artefacts discovered in 1907 was a small bag made of silk and constructed of four pieces. In Serindia Stein writes:

But of particular interest are the two private letters written on very fine greyish silk, Doc Nos. 398, 398 a (Plate XX), which had been sewn up into the inner lining of a small silk bag, T.XII.i.003.a.…

…The two letters are addressed to an officer serving on the Tun-huang Limes by another employed far away on the northern frontier. They throw curious sidelights on the life led by such official exiles, besides furnishing us with actual specimens of an ancient writing-material which was previously known only from textual evidence, such as that quoted in connexion with the invention of paper.1

Chavannes transcribes the letters in Documents Chinoises Découverts par Aurel Stein drawing the conclusion that one of them is a letter of recommendation2.

MAS.773. Small bag made of grey silk from the British Museum collections.

Stein’s second expedition was jointly funded by the British Museum and the Government of India and his finds were sent to London for sorting before distribution between the two countries. The bag and its lining remained in the UK where conservators at the Museum then separated its constituent parts. The manuscript sections duly became part of the collections of the British Library when it was established in 1973 and they moved out of the Museum with the Oriental Collections in 1981, so becoming physically removed from their original housing.

Or.8211/398, Or.8211/398(bis), Or.8211/398(A). Letters written in Chinese on silk from the British Library collections.

IDP’s founding aim was to reunite the dispersed collections of Dunhuang and Central Asia. This example illustrates how material from institutions in the same country with strong historical links can become separated and how digitisation and online catalogues can virtually bring them back together.

NOTES

1. Stein, Aurel. Serindia, Chapter XVIII, Sec. v, p. 681. Oxford, 1921.

2. Chavannes, Édouard. Documents Chinoises Découverts par Aurel Stein, pp. 89–90. Oxford, 1913.

The two silk letter fragments found at Dunhuang were previously published in:
Chugoku Hoshosen 10: Mokkan, chikkan, hakusho, p.20.
中国法書選 10:木簡・竹簡・帛書[漢・晋/隷書]
Tōkyō : Nigensha, 1991.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Symposium: Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange

Hangzhou, China
Oct. 11th --Oct. 13th, 2015

In June 2014, the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor jointly nominated by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan was inscribed on the World Heritage List, making the ancient Silk Road a common wealth of human beings.

Parallel to the cognominal exhibition, held at the China National Silk Museum from Sept. 15th to Oct. 14th, 2015, which include masterpiece ancient silk textiles and other treasures related to the Silk Road from 24 Chinese museums and archaeological institutions of eight provinces, the symposium will present the following six sections:

  • Silk Road and Technical Exchange
  • Archaeological Findings of Silk in China
  • Archaeological Findings of Silk outside China
  • Silks on the Silk Road from the Perspective of Linguistics
  • Maritime Silk Road and Chinese Export Silk
  • Silks on the Silk Road from the Perspective of Anthropology

Download a PDF (194KB) for more details and the programme.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IDP Job Vacancy: Curator and Researcher

This is an opportunity for an early career researcher to work in a small, busy team. You will be helping with managing the collections, including answering queries, helping with readers, assisting in the conservation, cataloguing and digitisation workflow and in general data input and verification. You will be expected to learn about the collections and their context, including archival material, and to carry out research on a relevant area. You will help to maintain and develop relations with IDP’s existing international partners and scholars, especially those in China. IDP also works to bring the collections to a scholarly and wider audience and you will also be assisting in this, including the use of social media and public programmes in the UK and worldwide.

The postholder will be expected to have a passionate interest in the collections, a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, excellent spoken and written English and Chinese, interpersonal skills and an eye for detail. You should have strong IT skills and strong time-management skills. You should be prepared to travel and will be expected to help occasionally with events outside office hours.

View full job profile.

Monday, June 15, 2015

IDP News Issue No. 45, Spring 2015

Sven Hedin at the Mogao caves near Dunhuang, 6 November 1934. Photographer: Parker Chen. The Sven Hedin Foundation 1034.46.12.

The latest issue of IDP News is now available to read online. Along with a round-up of recent publications, forthcoming exhibitions and events, Issue no. 45 is dedicated to Sven Hedin with articles by Håkan Wahlquist and Lars Larsson.

Download IDP News Issue 45 as a PDF (682KB)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Diamond Sutra on display: Frontispiece

UPDATE: The Diamond Sutra will remain on display until the end of October 2015.


The whole text of the earliest dated printed book — the Diamond Sutra — has been on display at the British Library for the first time over a period of eighteen months between March 2014 – August 2015.

Following extensive conservation, the Diamond Sutra scroll currently remains in separate panels giving the unique opportunity to show all the panels in turn. Each panel has been displayed for two months in the Treasures Gallery at the British Library, open to all and with free admission.

The final panel on display (June-August 2015) is the illustrated frontispiece showing the Buddha with his elderly disciple, Subhūti. The text of the sutra concerns the philosophical discussion between the Buddha and Subhūti.

See the whole of the Diamond Sutra online on the IDP website.

The Diamond Sutra was printed in AD 868 as an act of faith and piety. In this period Buddhists took advantage of printing to replicate the words and image of the buddha, but private printers at the time also used the new technology to produce texts for profit. Almanacs were immensely popular, so much so that the Chinese emperor, whose imperial astronomers produced and distributed an imperial almanac, tried to suppress their printing and sale throughout the 9th and 10th centuries.

Printed almanac. Or.8210/P.6.

Displayed alongside the Diamond Sutra will be a copy of a Chinese almanac printed just a decade later, in AD 877. It is a very different style of printing with the document split into registers showing immense detail. They include the animals of the Chinese zodiac, a diary of lucky and unlucky days, fengshui diagrams, magic charms and much more.

Sanskrit Heart Sutra with Chinese transcription. Or.12380/3500.

The display also includes two pages from a printed copy of the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit with a phonetic transcription in Chinese, an early example of Korean printing using moveable type and the earliest examples of Japanese printing, the Million Charms of Empress Shotoku.


‘The Diamond Sutra and Early Printing’

MARCH 2014 – AUGUST 2015
FREE ENTRY

Monday 09.30 - 20.00
Tuesday 09.30 - 20.00
Wednesday 09.30 - 20.00
Thursday 09.30 - 20.00
Friday 09.30 - 18.00
Saturday 09.30 - 17.00
Sunday 11.00 - 17.00
Public holidays 11.00 - 17.00

Sir John Ritblat Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
MAP

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sven Hedin Bibliography

Compiled by Daniel C. Waugh
University of Washington (Seattle)

Originally published: 2001, Silk Road Foundation.

Download this document in PDF format (608KB)

Hedin in “disguise” as a Buddhist pilgrim but without his makeup; accompanied by the Buriat Shagdur and Shereb Lama, July 1901.
(Central Asia and Tibet, II, p. 311)

The size and complexity of the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin’s bibliography rival the scope of his explorations. His books were excerpted, translated and republished in dozens of locations and languages. For the uninitiated, figuring out which version of a Hedin title may contain something of interest and be different from which other title is very difficult. My purpose is to assist in such efforts, not to provide a scholarly research tool for the specialist. A complete bibliography by Willy Hess is listed in section IV below.

The material here includes primarily his books and in the first instance their English editions. No effort has been made to exhaust the list of non-English editions. However, I devote considerable space to the Swedish and German ones, the former generally being the originals (most published by the firm of Albert Bonnier in Stockholm). His works in German were published almost exclusively by F. A. Brockhaus in Leipzig; the demand for his work in German seems to have been insatiable. Brockhaus often issued full, shorter, and yet shorter versions of the same work, all under the same title, many in popular series for young readers. There were frequent reprints, which I have not attempted to track systematically. Generally I try to identify the first edition; for others, I will cite first of all that which I have been able to examine. I make no attempt to cite, among others, the numerous translations of his work into Japanese or Chinese; it strikes me as even less likely that any readers of this page would prefer their Hedin in Yiddish (yes, such translations do exist!). Reprints of Hedin’s works continue to appear--several relatively inexpensive ones having been published in recent years in South Asia.

For those interested in the numerous photographs and maps Hedin published, unfortunately many of the translations (including some of the standard English ones) and most of these recent reprints are quite inadequate. The best reproductions tend to be in the original Swedish editions and in some of the early “full” translations.

Those wishing an overview of Hedin’s expeditions (at least through 1908) should begin with the summary account in his memoir, My Life as an Explorer. Large sections of the multi-volume accounts of individual expeditions make for dry reading. Hedin was trained in physical geography; I am not sure he figured out or cared how much of his soundings of lakes and measurements of river flow would really interest the average reader. Part of the problem also lies in the nature of much of the exploration--if one floats down the Tarim or slogs across the Tsaidam Plateau in the autumn rains as he did, there is a certain inevitable monotony. It is not always clear how one can best write about that if at the same time one wishes to chronicle the journey.

An additional problem for the modern reader is that our cultural sensitivity is different from Hedin’s. In some ways he is oblivious to many of the aspects of history and culture that so fascinated someone like Aurel Stein. At times Hedin’s European arrogance is more than annoying; in our politically correct age, he would be censured. Finally, today’s reader may respond unsympathetically to the litany of the cost of his expeditions to his pack horses, mules, and camels, not to mention the wildlife: yaks, camels, asses and antelope. Rare was an expedition in which more than a handful of his pack train came back alive. And he managed to lose more than a few of his human staff as well.

Where possible, I have examined the books de visu. I have yet to read more than a fraction of them (we are told his published works amount to more than 30,000 pages!). My annotation in many cases is based on information in library catalogues; I have also drawn upon the at times extended descriptions of the publications in the biography by George Kish listed below. Over time, I hope to add some notes and perhaps expand this bibliography into categories not yet covered. These limitations notwithstanding, I hope the material will provide a reasonably thorough guide for the interested reader who wishes to traverse Asia (and some aspects of twentieth-century politics) with Hedin. Suggestions for corrections and additions would be welcome.

The material is divided into four parts:

  1. Accounts of his Asian travels and exploration, organized by the dates of the expeditions. I provide a brief indication of where the expedition went, and/or what some of its accomplishments were. References include the “full” (usually multi-volume) texts of his accounts intended for general audiences, condensed variants of the same volumes, and the publications of the “scientific results.”
  2. Other writings, including books based on his travels which may cut across the chronological boundaries of single expeditions; contributions by him to the history of exploration; correspondence, even if addressed only to Hedin and not from him. It is possible that some of the books listed here should be connected with a specific expedition listed in part I.
  3. Reportage and propaganda not connected with his Asian travels. Hedin was outspoken about Swedish politics and foreign policy and both in World War I and World War II, he sided with the Germans. The listings here cover the most important of the writings reflecting this aspect of his activity; I dwell upon them primarily to identify the titles those who would wish to focus on other issues might prefer to avoid. It is possible that one or two books listed in this category belong in Section II (or vice versa).
  4. Works about Hedin. This section is still embryonic and will eventually be supplemented with references to resources other than full books on him. I also expect to add some links to on-line resources.

I. Travels and Exploration.

1885

Travel through Russia, Caucasus, Persia, Iraq, to Istanbul.

  • My Life as an Explorer. New York: Boni & Liveright; also, Garden City Pub. Co., 1925 (tr. by Alfhild Huebsch) (repr., Kodansha, 1996, with Prologue and Epilogue by Peter Hopkirk), Ch. 1-5. (One Swedish edition is: Mitt liv som upptäcksresande. 5 v. [in small format]. Stockholm: Åhlen & Åkerlunds, 1930-1931; German tr.: Mein Leben als Entdecker. Leipzig: Brockhaus.)
  • Genom Persien, Mesopotamien och Kaukasien. Reseminnen. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1887. His first major travel book.
  • Meine erste Reise. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922. (In series: Reisen und Abenteuer [Travels and Adventures], 20. Most volumes in this popular series run exactly 159 pp. Brockhaus published several of Hedin’s works in long [multi-volume], condensed [350-400 pp.], and these short versions, usually in each case all under the same title.) The subject matter is Persia. I am assuming the title “My First Journey” in fact refers to the 1885 trip.

1890-1891

Istanbul, Persia, Central Asia (Bukhara, Samarkand), Osh, Kashgar, Torugart Pass, L. Issyk-kul, Caucasus, St. Petersburg; initially as a member of a Swedish embassy to Persia; then travelling independently.

  • My Life, Ch. 6-14.
  • Konung Oscars beskickning till Schahen af Persien, år 1890. Stockholm: Samson & Wallin, 1891. Hedin’s second major book, on the embassy.
  • Der Demavend, nach eigener Beobachtung. Halle, 1892. “Inaugural Dissertation,” which fulfilled one of his requirements for the Doctory of Philosophy degree from the University of Halle. He climbed Mt. Demavend in the Elburz range; see My Life, Ch. 9.
  • Genom Khorsan och Turkestan: minnen från en resa i Centralasien 1890 och 1891. 2 v. Stockholm: Samson & Wallin, 1892-1893. (Also apparently serialized in 14 issues by Central-Tryckeriet.) Very nicely produced, with photos (of varying quality) and many of his often exquisite sketches. He was a skilled draftsman and artist; some of his best drawings are portraits and panoramas that capture what in a photograph might have been less compelling.

The “Camp of Death” in the Taklamakan, 1894. A later artist’s depiction.
(Through Asia, I, p. 557)

1893-1897

Traveled through Russian Central Asia, crossing the Pamirs through what is today Kyrgyzstan; spent substantial time exploring around one of the major peaks, Mustagh Ata, making several unsuccessful attempts to climb it. He was probably the first person ever to attempt it and did so with no serious mountaineering background. Explored in the Tarim Basin, in the process again showing his impetuosity and at this stage of his career lack of careful planning. In crossing part of the Taklamakan Desert to the Khotan River, only he and two other members of his expedition survived, and that just barely. Was the first Western explorer to see some of the desert ruins later studied by Aurel Stein (notably at Dandan-oilik and Karadong). Artifacts from these and other locations are now in Stockholm; since he himself knew little about what they were, in certain of his works he quotes the observations of the experts who studied them on his return. Crossed the Taklamakan along the Keriya River, began exploring the lower Tarim in the direction of Lop-Nor, and then traveled through previously uncharted areas of the Tsaidam Plateau in Northern Tibet and on to Beijing.

  • My Life, Ch. 15-31.
  • Through Asia. 2 v. New York/London: Harper, 1899. (Tr. by J. T. Bealby of En färd genom Asien 1893-1897. 2 v., Stockholm: Bonniers, 1898. German ed.: Durch Asiens Wüsten. [Drei Jahre auf neuen Wegen in Pamir, Lop-nor, Tibet und China] 2 v. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1899.)

    Short versions include: Genom Asiens öknar: forskningsresor och äventyr 1893-1897. 2nd ed. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1925; Durch Asiens Wüsten: Drei Jahren auf neuen Wegen in Pamir, Lop-Nor und China. 5. Aufl. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1915; in Danish: Gennem Asiens oeventyrlande. Copenhagen, Gyldendal, 1904. Yet shorter popular edition: Durch Asiens Wüsten. Ausgewählt v. Fritz Gansberg. Hamburg: Janssen, 1912; ser.: Wissenschaftliche Volksbücher für Schule und Haus, 21; reprinted as Drei Jahre im innersten Asien. Hamburg: Janssen, 1913; also: Durch Asiens Wüsten. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1920 (series: Reisen und Abenteuer, 2).

    This is one of the better reads among his travel accounts, despite the fact that his descriptive prose at times is floridly Victorian. Although the result is a kind of romanticization of some of the more foolish adventures, here as in other volumes, artists not on the expedition drew illustrations of dramatic moments (Hedin says they worked carefully with him for accuracy though).

  • Die geographisch-wissenschaftlichen Ergebnisse meiner Reisen in Zentralasien, 1894-1897. Gotha: J. Perthes, 1900 (=Petermanns Mitteilungen, Ergänzungsheft Nr. 131). Scientific reports of the expedition, with contributions by K. Himly et al. As Kish notes in his To the Heart of Asia (pp. 56-57), Hedin’s most significant achievement was in his discussion of the Lop Nor problem and in his list of place names. The accompanying maps were based on his 550 separate sheets drawn from the sketches he made while riding; relatively little involved covering really unexplored territory.

1899-1902

Floated down the Tarim until stopped by ice; explored further around and in the dry Lop-Nor basin, visiting the deserted site of ancient Lou-Lan. This work was important for his confirmation of von Richthofen’s hypothesis about the “movement” of the lake with the shift in water flow out of the Tarim. Spent significant time mapping new areas of Northern Tibet, but failed in his attempt to reach Lhasa rather poorly disguised as a pilgrim. Exited Tibet via India.

  • My Life, Ch. 32-46.
  • Central Asia and Tibet: Towards the Holy City of Lassa. 2 v. London: Hurst and Blackett; New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1903. (Tr. by J. T. Bealby from: Asien: Tusen mil på okända vägar.) (German ed.: Im Herzen von Asien: zehntausend Kilometer auf unbekannten Pfaden. 2 v. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1903; 5. Aufl., 1922. In French: L’Asie inconnue. 2 v. Paris: Juven, 1904; also apparently 1 v. condensation, 1903.

    Condensed version: Tibetanska äfventyr. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1904; Abenteuer in Tibet. 2. Aufl. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1908; 15. Aufl., 1918. Also, in Russian as: Tarim, Lop-Nor, Tibet: puteshestvie po Azii 1899-1902 g. Shorter German popularization: Abenteuer in Tibet. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1919 (ser.: Reisen und Abenteuer, 1). Also, much abbreviated account of Tibet in 1900: En levnads teckning. Stockholm, Bonniers, 1920. Other editions of one or another version published in Milan, Budapest, Christiana, Prague, and Melbourne.

    He combined the accounts of his Tibetan explorations (esp. the 1899-1902 and 1906-1908 ones) in: A Conquest of Tibet. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1934 (Swedish original: Erövringståg i Tibet. Stockholm, 1934; German tr.: Eroberungszüge in Tibet. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1940; 4. Aufl., 1942.).

  • Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia and Tibet 1899-1902. 6 v. text; 2 v. maps. Stockholm, 1904-1908. For a detailed description, see Kish, pp. 66-70.

Lamas drinking tea in the Court of Ceremonies, Tashi-lunpo, Shigatse.
Drawing by Sven Hedin, 1907.
(Transhimalaya, I, ill. 143)

1905-1908

Despite British and Tibetan opposition to his project, managed to sneak into Tibet, and explored extensively in its southern and western regions. Claimed the discovery of a “previously unknown” major mountain system, the “Trans-Himalaya,” and the sources of the major S. Asian rivers, although these claims were then disputed. Explored extensively on and around Lake Manasarovar. Not by his own choice, spent significant time in Shigatse, where he interacted with the Panchen Lama.

  • My Life, Chs. 47-64.
  • Trans-Himalaya: Discoveries and Adventures in Tibet. 3 v. New York/London: Macmillan, 1909, 1913. (Translation of Transhimalaya: upptäckter och äfventyr i Tibet. 3 v. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1909, 1912; Ger. ed.: Transhimalaya. Entdeckungen und Abenteuer in Tibet. 3 v. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1909, 1912; also 2. Aufl., first two vols., 1910.) The third volume appeared as a supplement, hence some libraries record this as a two-volume edition.

    Short English account: To the Forbidden Land: Discoveries and Adventures in Tibet. Lucknow, 1986. Popular condensation from the 3 vol. German ed.: Transhimalaja: neue Abenteuer in Tibet. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1929; in series: Reisen und Abenteuer, 2. Another very short condensation, primarily the parts containing his stay in Shigatse, is Wildes heileges Tibet. Leipzig: Reclam, 1944 (Tr. from Swedish by Theodor Flade). Not clear from title whether short Fr. ed., Le Tibet dévoilé (Paris: Hachette, 1910), concerns this expedition or the preceding one. Other eds. in Amsterdam, Paris, Helsinki, Budapest, Prague, Milan. See also notation above for A Conquest of Tibet.

  • Overland to India. 2 v. London: Macmillan, 1910; repr., New York: Greenwood, 1968. (Tr. of Öfver land till Indien genom Persien, Seistan och Belutjistan. 2 v. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1910; German ed. Zu Land nach Indien durch Persien, Seistan, Belutschistan. 2 v. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1910.) Popular short German ed.: Zu Land nach Indien. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1921; in series: Reisen und Abenteuer, 8. Travel through Persia, on his way to the Tibetan explorations of 1906-8. As Kish notes (pp. 78-79), the book “faithfully mirrors [the] monotony… of a dreary, prolonged journey across an empty landscape.”
  • Southern Tibet: Discoveries in Former Times compared with my Own Researches in 1906-1908. 9 v. text; 3 v. atlas. Stockholm, 1916-1922 (repr. Delhi, B.R. Pub. Corp., 1991). Includes: v. 1. Atlas of Tibetan Panoramas; v. 2-3 Atlas of maps; v. 1-2: Lake Manasarovar and sources of the great Indian Rivers; v. 3. Transhimalaya; v. 4. Karakorum and Chang-tang; v. 5. Petrographie und geologie (von Anders Henning); v. 6, in 5 pts. with separate titles; v. 7. History of explorations in the Kara-korum Mountains; v. 8 in 4 pts. with separate titles; v. 9 in 4 parts with separate titles and pt. 5, General index. While clearly he has an agenda here, to emphasize the significance of his own contribution, there is much of value in his extensive review of earlier travels and maps; one of the more interesting volumes (Vol. 8) contains an extensive treatment (in German) of early Chinese and East Turki maps, written by orientalists Albert Herrmann and Albert von le Coq. The atlas volumes enable one to compare his numerous panoramas with the finished maps and see details identifying the places at which he made precise observations. A detailed description of this edition is in Kish, pp. 99-104.
  • Eine Routenaufnahme durch Ost-Persien. 2 v. text; 1 v. atlas. Stockholm: Generalstabens litografiska anstalt, 1918-1927. The illustrations and cartographic results of his journey through Persia to India. Included are his photographs, panoramas and detailed maps along with larger summary maps in the atlas.

1923

In November and December travelled from Peking to Moscow: by Dodge automobile through Mongolia (including Urga--the present-day Ulan Baatar) to Verkhne-Udinsk on the Trans-Siberian RR, and then by train to Moscow (and eventually through St. Petersburg and back home).

  • Från Peking till Moskva. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1924. (Ger. ed.: Von Peking nach Moskau. Leipzig: Brockhaus.) Some interesting photos illustrate the difficulties of motor travel in Mongolia, and towns along the way. He met the famous Russian explorer Kozlov there. The last third or so of the book is a description of Moscow and various aspects of Russian history and culture, including art and architecture; the final chapter is on St. Petersburg. He had some interest in describing what things were like under the still young Bolshevik regime.

1927-1935

The most elaborately equipped of Hedin’s expeditions--an army of scholars and others, whose main geographical focus was in Mongolia and the northern and eastern parts of the Tarim Basin. At the outset experienced difficulties with the Chinese authorities, who were beginning to resist Western incursions in China (the matter was solved by adding Chinese scholars to the group); later became a captive during the Dungan rebellion in Xinjiang. One of the sponsors of the expedition was Lufthansa, which was hoping to open air routes across Inner Asia to China; some of the exploration was avowedly with the idea of re-opening the Silk Road by determining the best routes for motor traffic.

Was able to prove convincingly his theories about the “movement” of Lop-Nor, since the rivers fed by the Tarim had changed course in 1921; the lake was now back in its northern basin. Explored by motor vehicle the routes through the mountains west from Dunhuang, showing that one branch of the historic Silk Road undoubtedly had run in that direction and to Lop Nor in its northern location until the rivers shifted course. The various specialists in his team often worked on separate itineraries; this was the first of his expeditions which had scholars properly trained to carry out archaeological work.

The initial volumes concerning the expedition were published piecemeal, as it was going on, with the result being some updating between the appearance of one edition and its translation and a certain amount of overlap in contents.

  • Across the Gobi Desert. London: Routledge, [1931]; New York: E. P. Dutton, 1933. (Tr. by H. J. Cant from German ed.: Auf grosser Fahrt: meine Expedition mit Schweden, Deutschen und Chinesen durch die Wüste Gobi 1927-1928. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1929; 6. Aufl., 1930; Swed. ed.: Åter till Asien. Min expedition 1927-1928 med svenskar, tyskar och kineser genom öknen Gobi. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1928.)

    Covers 1927-1928 explorations, with addition in the English ed. of chapter “Lop-Nor, the Wandering Lake,” pp. 360-392, and a note from July 1931 on further Lop Nor exploration in early 1931. Mentions a film by Paul Lieberenz, who accompanied the expedition: “With Sven Hedin Across the Deserts of Asia.”

  • Riddles of the Gobi Desert. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1933. (Tr. by Elizabeth Sprigge & Claude Napier from Swedish ed., with added chapter “The Discovery of New Lop Nor,” by Nils G. Hörner, pp. 341-376. In Swedish: Gobiöknens gåtor, Stockholm: Bonniers, 1930; 2nd ed., 1931; German ed.: Rätsel der Gobi: die Fortsetzung der grossen Fahrt durch Innerasien in den Jahren 1928-1930. Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1931.)

    Sequel to Across the Gobi Desert. It was Hörner and Parker Chen who carried out the definitive survey around the new Lop Nor.

  • Jehol, City of Emperors. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1933 (Tr. by E. G. Nash from Swedish: Jehol, kejsarstaden. Skildringar från de stora mandschukejsarnas hov. Stockholm: Hökerbergs, 1931; Ger. ed.: Jehol, die Kaiserstadt. 7. Aufl. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1942.)

    A copy of the main Buddhist temple in Jehol (Chengde) was built as an exhibition for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago; Hedin was involved in the project.

  • The Silk Road. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1938. (Tr. from Swedish: Sidenvägen. En bilfärd genom Centralasien. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1936.; German ed.: Die Seidenstrasse. 10. Aufl. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1942.)

    Covers events from departing Beijing, October 1933, through return to Xian in February 1935.

  • The Wandering Lake. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1940. (Tr. by F. H. Lyon from Swedish: Den vandrande sjön. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1937; German ed.: Der wandernde See. 9. Aufl. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1942; Chinese translation pub. in Taipei, 1955. Also, in Swedish there is a title: Mot Lop-Nor. En flodfärd på Tarim. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1954.)

    One of the more interesting volumes in this series on the 1927-35 expedition: observations on the changing ecology with the movement of the rivers and the lake and a discussion of what previous geographers and mappers had written. Hedin rather repetitiously proclaims his solving of the riddle of Lop Nor as one of his most important achievements. The shift in the river flow which led to the re-establishment of the lake in its former (northern) location occurred in 1921.

  • The Flight of “Big Horse”: The Trail of War in Central Asia. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1936. (Tr. by F. H. Lyon; Swed. ed.: Stora hästens flykt. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1935; German ed.: Die Flucht des Grossen Pferdes. Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1935; 6. Aufl., 1939.).

    Hedin was caught up in the Dungan rebellion led by Ma Chung-ying, the “Big Horse” of the title. Those events also figure in the well-known account by Peter Fleming, News from Tartary.

  • History of the Expedition in Asia 1927-1935. 4 v. Stockholm, 1943. Parts 1-3 written in collaboration with Folke Bergman: I. 1927-1928; II. 1928-1933; III. 1933-1935. Pt. IV. General Reports of Travels and Fieldwork, by Folke Bergman, Gerhard Bexell, Birger Bohlin, Gösta Montell. (=Reports from the Scientific Expedition to the North-Western Provinces of China under the Leadership of Dr. Sven Hedin--The Sino-Swedish Expedition. Publications 23-26).

    This is the descriptive summary of the expedition, part of a projected 55 volumes of scientific reports authored by the various specialists on the expedition and published in various subseries.

  • Central Asia Atlas. 5 v. Stockholm: Statens etnografiska museum, 1966-1982. (Reports..., Publications 47, 48, 49, 50, 54).

II. Other books connected with Hedin’s explorations; correspondence.

A. Varia, on his travels; popular books on explorations, etc.

  • From Pole to Pole, a Book for Young People. London: Macmillan, 1914. (407 p. abridgement from Swedish: Från Pol till pol, 2 vols.) German ed. by Brockhaus: Von Pol zu Pol. 3 v.: 1. Vom Nord Pol zum Äquator; 2. Rund um Asien; 3. Durch Amerika zum Südpol. A well illustrated introduction to world geography, which became a bestseller. The 1921 German edition was the 18th.
  • Till Jerusalem. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1917 (German eds: Jerusalem. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1918; in both long and condensed versions.)
  • Bagdad, Babylon, Nineve. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1917. (Ger. eds.: Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1917 [apparently a short preprint]; 1918 [long, but apparently condensed] eds.) Original, 806 pp. with many illustrations. Fr. anthology of what it labels German propaganda includes excerpts from this (see below). It seems that Hedin expressed criticisms of British imperial policy in the Middle East, an area on which Germany also had designs. This and the preceding title were based on his travel through the Middle East in 1916.
  • Mount Everest och andra asiatiska problem. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1922. (German ed.: Mount Everest. Liepzig: Brockhaus, 1923; 2nd ed. 1926.) On 1922 British Everest expedition.
  • Grand Canyon. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1925 (in Swedish). (German tr.: Gran Cañon: Mein Besuch in amerikanischen Wunderland. Lepizig: Brockhaus, 1926.) With his sister Alma, he traveled extensively in the U.S. on lecture tours in 1923. The book is illustrated with his sketches and water colors.
  • Ander Schwelle Innerasiens. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1927. (Ser.: Reisen und Abenteuer). Material taken from Durch Asiens Wüsten and Im Herzen von Asien.
  • Zajagan: Menschen und Götter in der Mongolei. Stuttgart: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 193? On the stay in Shigatse during 1906-8 exped.?
  • Tsangpo Lamas vallfärd. 2 v. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1920-1922: I. Pilgrimerna, II. Nomaderna. (German ed.: Tsangpo Lamas Wallfahrt. 2 v. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922-1923.) Fiction, which Kish glowingly describes (p. 106) as “not a novel. Rather it is a series of magnificent vignettes of the people, the animals, and the nature of Mongolia and Tibet.”
  • Mina hundar i Asien. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1952 (German tr. by Lothar Tobias: Meine Hunde in Asien. Wiesbaden: Brockhaus, 1953.) Hedin’s many canine traveling companions.
  • Karavan och Tarantass. Med häster genom Asien. Stockholm, 1953. On his horses during his Asian explorations.

B. Works on Explorers and the History of Exploration.

  • General Prschevalskij’s forskningsresor i Centralasien. Efter de ryska, tyska och franska originalupplagorna. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1891. (German ed.: General Prschewalskij in Innerasien. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1925; 1928--a condensation in series Reisen und Abenteuer, 19.) The original edition is a 455 p. collection of excerpts translated from the famous Russian explorer Przhevalskii’s accounts of his four expeditions, with 90 pp. of commentary by Hedin.
  • Resare-Bengt: en levnadsteckning. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1921. (German ed.: Verwehte Spuren: Orientfahrten des ReiseBengt und Andere Reisenden in 17. Jahrhundert. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1923.) On Bengt Bengtsson, Freiherr von Oxenstierna, 1591-1643, who traveled in Persia. To a considerable degree Hedin’s book is “more of an anthology of Renaissance travel and travelers than a true biography” (Kish, p. 105).
  • Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. En levnadsbeskrivning. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1926. Famous explorer and cartographer.
  • Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. Minnesteckning. Uppsala, 1926. An obituary. For various explorers including Nordenskiöld, see also Hedin’s Stormän och kungar in sec. C.

C. Correspondence; memoirs; drawings.

  • Meister und Schüler. Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen an Sven Hedin. Mit einer Einleitung und Erläuterungen von Sven Hedin. Zur 100. Wiederkehr des Geburtstages von Ferdinand von Richthofen im Namen des im Ferdinand von Richthofen-Tag vereinigten Schülerkreises, hrsg. v. Ernst Tiessen. Berlin: D. Reimer, 1933. Letters of famous German geographer von Richthofen (who coined term “Silk Road”) to his one-time student at the University of Berlin, Sven Hedin.
  • Sven Hedin und Albert Brockhaus. Eine Freundschaft in Briefen zwischen Autor und Verleger. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1942. Correspondence with his long-time German publisher.
  • Alma Hedin, Min bror Sven: brev och minnen. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1926. (Ger. eds.: Mein Bruder Sven Nach Briefen und Erinnerungen. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1925; abbreviated popular eds. with same title, 1926, 1927.) Alma was very close to her brother and among his most vigorous advocates.
  • Stormän och kungar. 2 v. Stockholm: Fahlcrantz & Gumaelius, 1950. German translation by Lothar Tobias: Grosse Männer denen ich begegnete. Wiesbaden: Brockhaus, 1951 (1 v. ed.); 1952 (2 v. ed.).

    A long series of short sketches of famous men he met, based on materials in his diaries and often illustrated with quotations of their letters to him. Some were explorers (e.g., Vambéry, Nansen, Richthofen, Amundsen), many statesmen or rulers (e.g., Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Shah of Persia Nasr-ed-Din, Emir of Bukhara Seid Abdul Ahad, Emperor Franz Josef, President Theodore Roosevelt, Hindenburg, Lord Curzon, Lord Kitchener), and some distinguished for other reasons (e.g., Rabindranath Tagore, Henry Ford). Kish (p. 142) says “it is a more candid and far less pretentious autobiography than those Hedin had written earlier,” although “he only represents the thread that binds this array of imposing and different personages together.”

  • Försvarsstriden, 1912-1914. Stockholm, 1951. A “political memoir” on the Swedish defense crisis of 1912-1914.
  • Life and Letters. Stockholm: Statens etnografiska museum, 1962. Published by the Sven Hedin Foundation.
  • Gösta Montell, Sven Hedin as Artist. For the centenary of Sven Hedin’s birth. Stockholm: Gen. Stabenslitogr. Anst., 1964. (Also in Swedish as: Sven Hedin som tecknare; Ger. tr.: Mein Leben als Zeichner. Zum 100. Wiesbaden: Brockhaus, 1965.) Includes some 240 of his drawings.

III. Reportage, political pamphlets, propaganda, etc.

  • Sverige och den stora östern. Stockholm, 1905.
  • Svar på “tal.” Stockholm: Bonniers, 1910. Pamphlet criticising Strindberg’s “Tal till svenska nationen” for its arguments about Sweden’s imperial past and Swedish contributions to exploration.
  • Ett varningsord af Sven Hedin. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1912. 70 pp. pamphlet on the need to bolster Swedish defense in the face of the Russian threat. (German ed.: Ein Warnungsruf. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1912.) Printed in one million copies. See also Försvarsstriden, 1912-1914, listed in preceding section.
  • Andra varningen. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1914. A new booklet analogous in content to the preceding.
  • Tredje varningen: storhögerns hemliga programpunkt. 2nd ed. Göteborg: Holmqvist, 1914. 23 p. pamphlet.
  • Ett ord till Norges folk. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1914. 32 p. pamphlet.
  • Tal till ungdemokrater, borgare och bönder. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1914.
  • Sveriges öde. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1918. Swedish politics and WWI.
  • With the German Armies in the West. London/New York: Lane, 1915. (Tr. by H. G. de Walterstorff and condensed from 800-p. Swedish original: Från fronten i väster september-november, 1914. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1915.) (In Ger.: Ein Volk in Waffen. Den deutschen Soldaten gewidmet. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1915. Short version of book by same name published in same year.) Reportage from western front, with rebuttal of Allied claims of German atrocities and maltreatment of prisoners.
  • Kriget mot Ryssland. Minnen från fronten i öster mars-augusti 1915. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1915. (In Ger.: Nach Osten! Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1916. Short version of longer longer German rendering published in same year.) 900 pp. of reportage from Eastern front.
  • Les chefs-d’oeuvre de la propagande allemagne. Nancy: Berger-Levrault, 1919. On pp. 118-243, excerpts from Hedin’s Un peuple en armes, Vers l’Est, Bagdad-Babylone-Nineve.
  • Persien und Mesopotamien: zwei asiatische Probleme. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1923. A 67 p. pamphlet on British policy vis-à-vis Persia.
  • Ossendowski und die Wahrheit. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1925. Something to do with a work by Ferdinand Ossendowski, “Beasts, Men and Gods.”
  • Germany and World Peace. London: Hutchinson, 1937. (Tr. from German by Gerald Griffin) (In Swedish: Tyskland och världsfreden. 3rd ed. Stockholm: Medens, 1937; German ed., Deutschland und der Weltfriede, typeset by Brockhaus, but Nazis cancelled publication. According to Hedin, in his war diary, the reason was his refusal to alter a few mildly critical comments.)
  • Fünfzig Jahre Deutschland. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1938. (In Swedish: Femto år Tyskland. Malmo: Dagens, 1939.)
  • Chiang Kai-shek, Marshal of China. New York: John Day, ca. 1940. (Tr. by Bernard Norbelie from Swedish: Chiang Kai-Shek, marskalk av Kina. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1939.)
  • På svensk mark. Resor och minnen. Redigerad av Gösta Montell. 1944.
  • Amerika im Kampfe der Kontinente. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1943.

    Intended for publication in U.S. prior to American entry into World War II, in order to forestall that event. Indicts Roosevelt as the one responsible for the War. In his diary (see below), quotes approving letter from Hitler, to whom he sent a personally dedicated copy.

  • Sven Hedin’s German Diary. 1935-1942. Dublin: Euphorion Books, 1951 (Tr. Joan Bulman). (Swedish original: Utan uppdrag i Berlin; German tr.: Ohne Auftrag in Berlin: Begegnungen mit Mächtigendes 3. Reiches, first published under emigré Nazi auspices in Buenos Aires in 1949.)

    His dealings with Goering, Hess, Hitler et al., with ample quotation from their admiring letters to him. One of Hedin’s underlying concerns was Soviet expansion (the threat was very real during the “Winter War” with Finland); in part his trips to Germany were a kind of personal diplomacy to curry Nazi guarantees for neutral Sweden. Hedin apparently had genuine admiration for German culture and despaired at the destruction caused by Allied bombings. He was deliberately blind as to the real war guilt, and he mentions only in passing Hitler’s vicious anti-Semitism. One can read from the book either naivete or arrogance; in any event Hedin largely condemns himself in his own words.

IV. Works about Hedin.

  • For the Centenary of Sven Hedin’s Birth. Stockholm: Statens etnografiska museum, 1965 (ser: Ethnos, 30).
  • Willy Hess, Die Werke Sven Hedins. Versuch eines vollständigen Verzeichnisses (=Sven Hedin--Life and Letters, Vol. I). Stockholm, 1962. Also, Erster Nachtrag. Stockholm, 1965 (mimeographed). A complete bibliography of Hedin’s works.
  • George Kish, To the Heart of Asia: The Life of Sven Hedin. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Pr., 1984. Well informed but uncritical regarding some of the more controversial aspects of Hedin’s career. The only full treatment of Hedin in English.
  • Eric Wennerholm, Sven Hedin. En biografi. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1978. As Hedin’s lawyer and financial adviser, the author has a privileged insider’s prespective.
  • Detlef Brennecke, Sven Hedin mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bulddokumenten. Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1991. “Brief but useful” (Meyer and Brysac, p. 604).
  • Peter Hopkirk, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia. Amherst: UMass. Pr., 1984. Ch. 4. A readable overview by the best-selling guru of the “Great Game.”
  • Charles Allen, A Mountain in Tibet: The Search for Mount Kailas and the Sources of the Great Rivers of India. London: Deutsch, 1982. Chs. 9 and 10 are a description of the contretemps between Hedin and members of the Royal Geographical Society in 1909, and a careful critique of Hedin’s claims about finding the sources of the rivers.
  • Philippe Forêt, La véritable histoire d'une montagne plus grande que l'Himalaya: les résultats scientifiques inattendus d'un voyage au Tibet, 1906-1908, et de la querelle du Transhimalaya. Paris Bréal, 2004. [Ref. added 2015]
  • Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia. Washington, D. C.: Counterpoint, 1999. Esp. Chs. 13, 21. Follows the lead of Allen, introduces some new material on Hedin’s relations with the British geographers, and provides an acute and highly unflattering assessment of his character. The emphasis on the negative at times relies on somewhat unfair selectivity of evidence; Hedin suffers from the implicit comparison/contrast with Aurel Stein, who is treated in Chs. 14-15. One consequence is a failure really to resolve the question of what Hedin’s contributions may have been. Nonetheless, this discussion is a refreshing antidote to Kish’s rosy-hued treatment.

    See also references under II.C.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Sanskrit Diamond Sutra in Infrared

The Vajracchedikā or Diamond Sutra is one of the most popular Buddhist texts in East Asia. The famous printed copy of a Chinese translation is currently on display at the British Library. But Aurel Stein also found manuscripts of Diamond Sutra in other languages, including Tibetan, Khotanese and Uighur. And the oldest extensive copy of the text in the original Sanskrit was found by Stein in Dandan Uilik, a Buddhist temple site near the ancient city of Khotan.

In a recent study of this manuscript, Paul Harrison has greatly improved on previous readings, offering a much better version of the text. He has also discovered more text by tracing the impression of ‘ghost folios’, lost pages whose impression on the existing pages survives in the faint outline of letters in mirror image.

These readings were helped by the photography of new infrared images of the folios of the Sanskrit Diamond Sutra manuscript, which was done in the IDP digitisation studio at the British Library. The manuscript is spread over several shelfmarks, comprising IOL San 382–387, 419–422, 424–427. All of these can be seen on the IDP website, with the colour photographs of each folio accompanied by the infrared images.

Detail from the colour and infrared images of IOL San 425.

Paul Harrison’s article is in the new volumes of the British Library Sanskrit Fragments series, edited by Seishi Karashima and Klaus Wille:

Paul Harrison, “The British Library Vajracchedikā Manuscript: IOL San 383–387, 419–427,” in The British Library Sanskrit Fragments Vol.III.2, pp.823-866. Tokyo: The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University, 2015.

The volumes can be downloaded from these links:
Volume III.1 (PDF 43MB)
Volume III.2 (PDF 62.6MB)

Friday, May 22, 2015

IDP Job Vacancy: Digitisation Conservator

Full time (36 hours a week)
Fixed Term Contract for 2 years
St Pancras, London


The British Library leads and collaborates in growing the world’s knowledge base. The Collection Care department, which comprises of some 40 people, is responsible for the care of one of the largest, richest and most diverse research collections in the world. Funding for this two-year post is secured from by external funds.

This is an opportunity for an experienced conservator to work in a small, busy team. You will be carrying out conservation and preparation treatments on fragmentary paper manuscripts in Tangut that are being digitised as part of this project, operating with minimal supervision. You must have the skills and knowledge to plan, manage and track your work to ensure that deadlines are met. You will also have the opportunity to work on Chinese scrolls from Dunhuang, under the supervision of an experienced conservator.

Conservation is needed to ensure adequate throughput for the digitisation of the Tangut material according to the project schedule. This is mainly previously unconserved and unnumbered material, currently completely unavailable and unknown to scholars. It came into the Museum/Library from Aurel Stein’s 3rd Central Asian expedition of 1913-16 and has remained in his original paper packets. There is an urgent need to make this material accessible for the first time.

You need to have either a degree in conservation or equivalent knowledge and skills sets, and practical hands-on experience in conservation of paper materials for digitisation and/or large-scale conservation projects; a broad knowledge of available conservation treatments within the field of paper conservation together with the ability to diagnose conservation problems and to develop and evaluate options for solutions. You should also have a high level of manual dexterity and the ability to treat fragile and delicate materials, together with knowledge of materials chemistry and the properties, behaviours and interaction of a wide range of organic and inorganic materials. A good knowledge of preventive conservation issues is also required.


For further details and to apply for this post see the British Library Careers website.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Publication: Life along the Silk Road

Susan Whitfield

Second Edition

Paperback, 312 pp., colour, B&W images and line drawings
ISBN: 9780520280595
March 2015
$29.95, £19.95
Order online: University of California Press
For a 30% discount (US and Canada shipping only) use source code 15M4426 at checkout.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Collaborative Project for the Conservation, Digitisation, Research and Publication of Tangut Material in the British Library

The project which started in January 2015 is a collaboration between the British Library and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Archive (NXA) to enable the conservation, digitisation and cataloguing of the Tangut manuscripts and printed documents held in the British Library.

Tangut fragment. Or.12380/19

Using existing archival material relating to the collection including concordance lists and notes from early researchers and conservators the aim is to conserve, number, digitise and make available the estimated 6–8,000 documents on the IDP Interactive Web Database by June 2017, thereby contributing to the preservation and international dissemination of this important material and stimulating scholarly research.

The Tangut manuscript and printed material in the British Library was excavated from the city of Karakhoto (10th–14th c.) by Aurel Stein on his 3rd expedition (1913–16) following Russian excavations at the site (material now in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, an IDP partner and also working with NXA). Part of the Stein material was sent to India (National Museum of India). The remainder became part of the collection of the British Museum and then the British Library.

K.K.VI at Kharakhoto, May 1914 and October 2008. Photo 392/29(114) and Photo 1187/1(4)

Despite spite early research by scholars such as Professor Tatsuo Nishida, much of the material has never had full curatorial attention. Many items remain in the paper packets in which they were placed by Stein during his excavations and therefore remain unknown and inaccessible to scholars.

Pre-conservation Tangut fragments in Stein’s paper packets.

The project will make the entire British Library Tangut collection available for the first time for IDP’s international community of scholars and researchers, paving the way for future work including cataloguing and linking with related material in other collections. Potential work may also include the input and digitisation of related archival material such as historical catalogues and expedition reports.

Funds are secured for the first two stages of the project, enabling a conservator to work full-time on the unconserved material for one year. Funds are now being sought for stage three, for the remaining conservation and digitisation. Any offers of support are welcome.

To follow the progress of the project and digitisation output follow #Tangut @idp_uk.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Diamond Sutra on display: Text panel 6 with colophon

The whole text of the earliest dated printed book — the Diamond Sutra — will be on display at the British Library for the first time over a period of eighteen months between March 2014 – July 2015.

Following extensive conservation, the Diamond Sutra scroll currently remains in separate panels giving the unique opportunity to show all the panels in turn (see timetable below). Each panel will be on display for two months in the Treasures Gallery at the British Library, open to all and with free admission.

The sixth text panel of the Diamond Sutra on display (April–May 2015) contains the text from the second half of section 26 to the end of the Diamond Sutra. It also includes the dated colophon.

See the whole of the Diamond Sutra online on the IDP website.

The following English translation of the sixth text panel (by Lapiz Lazuli Texts) is based on Kumārajīva's Chinese translation of the original Sanskrit:

26. The Dharmakāya is without appearance (cont.)

Subhūti addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, thus do I explain the meaning of what the Buddha has said. One should not observe the Tathāgata by means of the Thirty-two Marks.” At that time, the Bhagavān spoke a gāthā, saying:

If one perceives me in forms,
If one listens for me in sounds,
This person practices a deviant path
And cannot see the Tathāgata.

27. No severing, no annihilation

“Subhūti, suppose you think, ‘The Tathāgata has not, from the perfection of characteristics, attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.’ Subhūti, do not compose the thought, ‘The Tathāgata has not, from the perfection of characteristics, attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.’ Subhūti, composing this thought, the one who is developing the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi is then speaking of the severence and annihilation of dharmas. Do not compose this thought. Why? One who is developing the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi does not speak of a characteristic of the severence and annihilation of dharmas.

28. Not receiving, not desiring

“Subhūti, suppose a bodhisattva, in the practice of giving, filled as many world realms with the Seven Precious Jewels, as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. If there is a person with the awareness that all dharmas are without self, and accomplishes their complete endurance, then this is superior, and the merits attained by this bodhisattva surpass those of the previous bodhisattva. Subhūti, the reason for this is that bodhisattvas do not receive merit.” Subhūti addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, why do you say that bodhisattvas do not receive merit?” “Subhūti, for bodhisattvas to make merit, they should not greedily wish to acquire it, and therefore it is said that there is no merit received.

29. Power and position destroyed in silence

“Subhūti, if someone says that the Tathāgata comes, goes, sits, or lies down, then this person does not understand the meaning of my teachings. Why? The Tathāgata is one who neither comes nor goes anywhere, and for this reason is called the Tathāgata.

30. The principle of the unity of appearances

“Subhūti, if a good man or good woman disintegrated three thousand great thousand-worlds into atoms, would these atoms be very many in number?” “They would be extremely many, Bhagavān. Why? If this multitude of atoms truly existed, then the Buddha would not speak of a multitude of atoms. Yet the Buddha does speak of a multitude of atoms, and therefore the multitude of atoms spoken of by the Buddha is not a multitude of atoms, and is thus called a multitude of atoms. Bhagavān, the three thousand great thousand-worlds that the Tathāgata speaks of are not worlds, and are thus called worlds. Why? The existence of these worlds is like a single unified appearance. Why? The unified appearance that the Tathāgata speaks of is not a unified appearance, and is thus called the unified appearance.” “Subhūti, one who is of the unified characteristic is unable to speak it, and yet ordinary people greedily wish to acquire it.

31. Unborn knowing and perceiving

“Subhūti, suppose a person says, ‘The Buddha teaches views of a self, a person, a being, and a life.’ Subhūti, what do you think? Does this person understand the meaning of my teachings?” “No, Bhagavān, this person does not understand the meaning of the Tathāgata’s teachings. Why? The views of a self, a person, a being, and a life, that the Bhagavān speaks of, are not views of a self, a person, a being, or a life, and are thus called the views of a self, a person, a being, and a life.” “Subhūti, regarding all dharmas, one who is developing the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi should thusly know, thusly see, and thusly believe, not giving rise to notions of dharmas. Subhūti, the true characteristic of dharmas is not a characteristic of dharmas, and is thus called the characteristic of dharmas.

32. Transforming the unreal

“Subhūti, suppose someone filled immeasurable, innumerable worlds with the Seven Precious Jewels, and then gave these away in the practice of giving. If a good man or good woman develops the mind of a bodhisattva and maintains this sūtra, even with as little as a four-line gāthā, and accepts, maintains, studies, recites, and explains it to others, then the merits of this surpass the others. How should one explain it? Without grasping at characteristics, in unmoving suchness. For what reason?

All conditioned dharmas
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, or shadows;
Like drops of dew, or like flashes of lightning;
Thusly should they be contemplated.

After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, then Elder Subhūti along with all the bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, upāsikās, and the devas, humans, and asuras from every world, heard what the Buddha had said. With great bliss, they believed, accepted, and reverently practiced in accordance.

Appendix: Mantra for the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

namo bhagavatīprajñāpāramitāyai
oṃ īriti īṣiri śruta viṣaya viṣaya svāhā

Colophon

Reverently made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents on the 15th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong.' [11 May 868]


‘The Diamond Sutra and Early Printing’

MARCH 2014 – JULY 2015
FREE ENTRY

Monday 09.30 - 20.00
Tuesday 09.30 - 20.00
Wednesday 09.30 - 20.00
Thursday 09.30 - 20.00
Friday 09.30 - 18.00
Saturday 09.30 - 17.00
Sunday 11.00 - 17.00
Public holidays 11.00 - 17.00

Sir John Ritblat Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
MAP

April – May 2015

6th panel printed text, including colophon

June – July 2015

Frontispiece