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Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein Collection 11-1

Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein Collection 11-1

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10/25/2012

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Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein Collection VI. Tenth Century (A. D. 947-995)Author(s): Lionel GilesSource:
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London,
Vol. 11,No. 1 (1943), pp. 148-173Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African StudiesStable URL:
Accessed: 19/11/2009 00:05
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DatedChineseManuscriptsintheSteinCollection
ByLIONELGILESVI.TENTHCENTURYA.D.947-995)THEdated documentsbelongingto this lasthalf-centuryoftheStein Collection are more numerous thanever,butalsofor themostpartscrappyandfragmentary.There areveryfew Buddhistcanonicaltexts,but aconsiderablevarietyof miscellaneousprayers,eulogies,certificates,letters,contracts,calendars,inventories,and soforth. Thegeneralimpressionone obtains is ofaperiodofgraduallyincreasing povertyandpoliticalunrest,in which the civilizationintroducedbythe Chinese isseriouslythreatened,andBuddhism,thoughstillmaintainingitspositionasthe dominantreligion,hasgreatlydegeneratedsince thepalmy daysof theearlyT'angdynasty.Thethreespecimensofprintingwhichare includedallbelongtothe middleof thecentury,andarenoticeablyinferiortothosedated70or80yearsearlierwhich Ihave discussedinapreviousarticle.Onthe otherhand,theappearanceof several bookletspointsto theeventualsupersessionofthelongroll,whethermanuscriptorprinted,bythemore convenientform of bookconsistingofleavesfastenedtogether.All the booklets of theTunhuangcollection,includingthefive datedspecimens,havesingleleaves withwritingon bothsideslikeour ownbooks;thenextstageofdevelopmentwas to bethedoublingofthe leavesso thattheirinner sides arenecessarilyleftblank. Suchatypeof bookmay alreadyhave beenevolvedin otherpartsofChina,but doubtless thescarcityofgoodthinpaperinremotedistrictslikeTunhuangwouldinanycasehaveoperatedagainsttheadoptionofthisnewmethod.Thelatestdate foundonanyoftheMSS. isA.D.995,butit isquitepossiblethat outof such alargecollectionsomemayhavebeenwrittena fewyearslater. We donot knowexactlywhenthegreathoardwas walledupinthesecret chamberwhereit wastoremainhidden andforgottenuntilthebeginningof thetwentiethcentury;butpresumablyit was some time beforetheinvasionofthecountrybytheHsi-hsia,which tookplacein1035.Atanyratewe can be certainthat thesemanuscriptscoverjustabout600years-astretchof timecomparableto that which haselapsedbetweenthebattleofCrecyandthepresent day.
A.D. 947(LATERHAN).
P. 8.Thisis aprintedprayer-sheet,with awoodcutof*]iIyltiF4
:X
3E"TheCelestialKing (Devaraja)theVery Holy
 
DATEDCHINESEMANUSCRIPTSIN THE STEIN COLLECTION149
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"0MostHolyVaisramana,Devarajaofthe NorthernQuarter,who commandestallthe variousclasses of demonsandspiritsunder Heaven!Maythose ofus,thyfollowers,who canmaketheirdevotionsandprayerstotheeinrespectful humilityofheart,beall rewardedwithhappinessandprosperity.ThediscipleTs'aoYiian-chungofCh'iao-chiin,Governor ofthemilitarydistrictofKuei-i,speciallypromotedadditionalGrandPreceptor,having requestedtheartificertocarvethisblock forprinting,nowpraysthat thecountrymayenjoypeaceand itsinhabitantsprosper,that thespiritsof landandgrain maycontinuallyflourish,thatthehighwaysmaybesafe,andthatpeaceand comfortmayprevailineveryclime.-Recordedonthe 15thofthe7thmoonofting-wei,the4thyearofK'ai-yiinin the GreatChindynasty"[4thAugust,947].Thefirstemperorof anewdynastywasproclaimedin the2ndmoon,andin the6thmoon the namewaschangedfromChin toHan. But thenewsmaynot have reachedTunhuanguntil muchlater. Thewoodcut,depictingVaisramanaandattendants,hasbeenreproducedinSerindia,plateC(ch.00158),andisfullydescribedinBinyon'sCatalogueofJapaneseand ChineseWoodcutsinthe BritishMuseum,p.579,no. 14. Theprayerisratherfaintlyandunevenly printedonasheetofcoarsebuffpaper,55-5x32 cm.
947(LATER
HAN).
P. 9. Anotherprintedprayer-sheet,hand-coloured,showingKuanYinwithlotus and vase[seeSerindia,pl.CIII(ch. 00185a.);Japaneseand ChineseWoodcuts,p.579,no.10].To therightof thepictureweread:~~fifita: * "MadebyorderofTs'aoYiian-chung,GovernorofthemilitarydistrictofKuei-iand additionalGrandPreceptor."Tothe left:k*
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