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Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein Collection7-4

Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein Collection7-4

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Dated Chinese Manuscripts in the Stein CollectionAuthor(s): Lionel GilesSource:
Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London,
Vol. 7, No. 4 (1935),pp. 809-836Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Oriental and AfricanStudiesStable URL:
Accessed: 18/11/2009 23:55
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 Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London.
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DatedChineseManuscriptsintheSteinCollection
ByLIONEL GILES
(PLATEVII)I.FIFTHAND SIXTHCENTURIESA.D.
Fthe7,000manuscripts(including fragments)which weretakenbySirAurelStein,almostatrandom,fromthegreathoardinTunhuang,some 380beardates,rangingfromA.D.406 to 995.Sixare ofthe fifthcentury,andforty-fourof the sixth.A fewofthe undatedMSS.maybe evenearlierthan406,while itishighlyprobablethatothersarelaterthan995,seeingthatthe date1035isfoundin thesimilar collectionat Paris.Butinanycasetheperiodcovereddoesnotgreatlyexceed600years.Mostof thesedatesrecordnotmerelytheyearbut themonthandtheday,andin theearliestinstance ofall,eventhe hour.Manyof themoccurin notes orcolophonswhichsetforth,oftenat somelength,thepiousintentionof monksorlaymenwho havecausedcopiesto bemade of certainsfitras,andwho wish toapplythe" merit"thusgainedtothe benefitandreliefof deadrelativesintheirfutureincarnations.Suchcolophonsareof no littleinterestto studentsofBuddhism,butfew haveasyetbeentranslated.Amongtherollsof thefifthand sixth centuriesthescarcityofseculardocumentsis noticeable.Ofthe Buddhistsitras,theParinirvanais onthe wholethefavourite,especiallytowardsthe endof theperiod,whiletheproportionof commentariesisremarkablylarge;in latertimestheseveryseldomoccurwithcolophonsordates.Most oftherolls lack someof theearliersheets,which,ofcourse,wouldbemostexposedto wearandtear.lA markedchangeinthegeneralstyleofhandwritingbecomesapparentin thelatterpartofthesixthcentury, correspondingnodoubtto someincreaseofflexibilityinthebrush-pen.In the morearchaicmanuscriptsthe charactersarelesseleganftlyshapedthantheybeganto beaboutthebeginningofthe Suidynasty,andlookas iftheyhad beenmadewith a somewhatstubbyinstrument.Thepaperandinkare ofwonderfullygood qualityfromtheveryfirst,though
1An asteriskatthebeginningof a transliteratedtitle indicatesthat the firstpartof the text underconsiderationismissing,whileone atthe end of thetitle meansthat thelastportionisincomplete."N."standsforBunyiuNanjio's Catalogue,and"K."for theKy6toedition of the ChineseBuddhistTripitaka.
VOL.VII. PART4.53
 
LIONEL GILES-
considerableimprovementis shown in the textureof thepaperastimegoeson,andalsointheuse of thebeautifulyellowdyewhich ischaracteristicofthe Sui andearly T'angperiod.In thisconnectionI would call attentionto arecently publishedbookentitledPaper:An Historical Account(ShakespeareHeadPress,Oxford),inwhichtheauthor,Mr.R. H.Clapperton,givesa mostinteresting analysisofsomeofthe Steinpapers,based onphotomicrographs.
A.D.406(W.
LIANG).
S.797. Recto:AVinayatext,*Pratimoksa of theSarvastivadin,which does notexactly agreewithanyin thepresentCanon.There is aninterestingcolophon(seePlateVII):-;?
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"Atthehsiihour of the 5thdayof the 12thmoonofthei-ssuyear,the first oftheregnalperiodChien-ch'u[i.e.between7and 9p.m.on10thJanuary,406],thebhikshuTe-yu,who receivedthefulldisciplinaryvows from the monk(upadhydya)Fa-hsing,the masterofdisciplinePao-hui,and the master ofdoctrineHui-ying,southof thecityofTunhuang,andsubsequentlywent intoretreatduringthe summer with hiscompanionsin theceremony,Tao-fu,Hui-yii,andothers,twelve inall,has written out the com-mandmentsfor recitationas far as'thecompletionofdestiny',merely copyingthe characters.The clumsiness of his hand causeshimshame,andheadds this noteinthehopethat readersmayonlymeditateon the senseand forbeartolaughat thehandwriting."In 406Tunhuangformedpartoftheshort-livedWesternLiangStateunder LiKao,of which until thepreviousyearit had been thecapital.Thecolophonproperisprecededbya31orformulato be recited at theceremonyof"receivingthecommandments",and followedbydirectionsastothe division of thetext forpurposesof recitation. The exactmeaningof
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j;_ jftiis not clearto me.Verso:Atext,alsoimperfectatthebeginning,which consistsofdiscoursesbyBuddhashowinghowsuch andsuchpreceptsof theVinayacame to bemade. It resembles[I
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Ssifeniitsang(N.1117),which wastranslatedin405. Anoteatthe end showsthatthecopywas madebythesamescribe,Te-yu.810

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