"Buddhist Scribal Practices In A Transcultural Perspective" Workshop

"Buddhist Scribal Practices In A Transcultural Perspective" Workshop

ORNAMENTAL AND STRUCTURAL SYMBOLS AND HIGHLIGHTER MARKS IN INDO-TIBETAN AND CENTRAL-ASIAN MANUSCRIPT CULTURES

Co-organized by the École française d'Extrême-Orient and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures - Universität Hamburg, with the support of the GIS Asie

Introduction

This international workshop is a collaborative effort organized by the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO-Paris) and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC-Hamburg), which involves scholars in Buddhist studies, codicology, and art history to analyze the connections between scribal pracaces agested in various Central and East-Asian Buddhist manuscript cultures, with a focus on mutual influences between them regarding the use of specific ornamental and/or structural marks. This project will cover various areas, in paracular the Indo-Tibetan, Chinese and central Asian region.

The use of visual devices and highlighter marks specific to Buddhist manuscript cultures is attested in corpora produced in various cultural areas (India, Tibet, Nepal, Central Asia, China, etc.). These elements served various functions in relation to different codicological needs. Some symbols were meant to enrich the aesthetics of the page, used to fill the blank spaces that might occur on various parts of the page, for instance, after the last line of a section, or before the beginning of a text. Such devices are thus reminiscent of incipit marks or culs-de-lampe found in western books. They also provided the manuscript with symbolic protection.

Signs and highlighter marks found in many Dunhuang documents are a specific feature of manuscripts produced under Tibetan Rule (781–
848), and during the following century, and are among the earliest agested examples of this scribal practice. They constitute important evidence of Indo-Tibetan influence on Chinese scribal practices of that period. A number of these specific marks are also found, with certain variants, in North Indian and Nepalese manuscript collections from different periods.

The use of ornamental and structural marks was maintained after the transition from manuscript to print. Various examples are found in the earliest printed documents, in Xi Xia script, discovered in Khara-khoto. Conference papers will focus on the origin, use, and iconographic characteristics of these visual devices, their dating and specific function in the layout of a text, with a focus on phenomena attesting a cultural transfer.

Programme

Download the programme

10:00 Welcome and Introduction
10:30 Keynote Lecture: Scribal practices in the Northern Thai monasteries: calligraphy, lay-out, decorations and illustrations of the palm leaf manuscripts (Buddhist chronicles)
François LAGIRARDE
École française d’Extrême-Orient
11:00 Coffee break
11:15 Visual text-organization in North Indian and Nepalese Buddhist manuscripts
Bidur BHATTARAI
Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures - Universität Hamburg
11:45 The decorated papers used in the early Central Asian manuscripts and ritual objects
Agnieszka HELMAN-WAZNY
Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures - Universität Hamburg
12:15 Discussion
13:00 Lunch
14:30 Survey of some ornamental signs in several of the Chinese manuscripts from Dunhuang in the Stein Collection
Mélodie DOUMY
Briash Library
15:00 Ornamental signs and structural marks in Dunhuang Buddhist manuscripts of the “Pelliot chinois” collection
Costanano MORETTI
École française d’Extrême-Orient
15:30 Coffee break
15:45 Ornamental signs in manuscripts from Khara-khoto
Imre GALAMBOS
Cambridge University
16:15 Punctuation and ornamentation in some Tibetan manuscripts from the 10th to 20th centuries
Sam VAN SCHAIK
Briash Library
16:45 Discussion
17:15 Closing Remarks
18:30 Dinner
ORNAMENTAL AND STRUCTURAL SYMBOLS AND HIGHLIGHTER MARKS IN INDO-TIBETAN AND CENTRAL-ASIAN MANUSCRIPT CULTURES