While European manuscripts have been the subject of numerous historical, philological, and art historical studies over the past three decades, the study of the material culture of Asian (Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Taoist, and the like) manuscript traditions remains a relatively unexplored field. But Asian manuscripts, as the contributors to From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls demonstrate, contain much more than the semantic meaning of the words they reproduce. The ten essays collected here look closely at a wide variety of manuscript traditions with a special focus on both their history and the ways in they can be studied through digital technology to make the cataloguing, comparative analysis, and aesthetic appreciation of them more accessible to scholars and students.
Each essay examines ways in which hand-produced texts—from ancient to early modern Thai, Pali, Chinese, Central Asian, Sanskrit, and Arabic manuscript traditions—shape both meaning and interpretation, and to a larger extent, the cultural norms that define their use. Together, the essays explore topics such as the best current practices for preservation and cataloging, the value of collaboration among scholars who work on different aspects of codicological, paleographic, orthographic, and material culture studies, and the use of these material objects for religious, political, cultural and pedagogical purposes. From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls explores issues relating to the complex relationships between text and image and between the spoken and the written word, and among the overlapping realms of religion, science, and society.
Contributors: Angela S. Chiu, Alexandra Green, Justin Thomas McDaniel, Kim Plofker, Lynn Ransom, Peter Scharf, Daniel Sou, Ori Tavor, Sergei Tourkin, Sinead Ward, Susan Whitfield, Hiram Woodward.
—Justin Thomas McDaniel
PART I. THE ART OF THE BOOK
Chapter 1. The Characteristics of Elephants: A Thai Manuscript and Its Context
Chapter 2. Representations of Space and Place in a Burmese Cosmology Manuscript at the British Museum
Chapter 3. Stories Steeped in Gold: Narrative Scenes of the Decorative Kammavaca Manuscripts of Burma
PART II. INSCRIBING RELIGIOUS PRACTICE AND BELIEF
Chapter 4. Drawn to an "Extremely Loathsome" Place: The Buddha and the Power of the Northern Thai Landscape
—Angela S. Chiu
Chapter 5. Shifting Modes of Religiosity: Remapping Early Chinese Religion in Light of Recently Excavated Manuscripts
Chapter 6. Living with Ghosts and Deities in the Qin 秦 State: Methods of Exorcism from "Jie 詰 " in the Shuihudi 睡虎地 Manuscript
PART III. TECHNOLOGIES OF WRITING
Chapter 7. Spoken Text and Written Symbol: The Use of Layout and Notation in Sanskrit Scientific Manuscripts
Chapter 8. Abbreviations in Medieval Astronomical and Astrological Manuscripts Written in Arabic Script
Chapter 9. Creating a Codicology of Central Asian Manuscripts
Chapter 10. Providing Access to Manuscripts in the Digital Age
—Peter M. Scharf
This collection of essays inaugurates a new series for the field of manuscript studies: the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Studies in Manuscript Culture. The Schoenberg name has a long history of use at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries due to the generosity and vision of Larry Schoenberg (C'53, WG'57), who sadly passed away in 2014 before seeing the first volume of the series published. The impact of Larry and his wife, Barbara Brizdle, on manuscript studies at Penn has been felt through the establishment of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image in 1996 and the creation of the Schoenberg Initiative in 2006 to assist the Libraries in purchasing new manuscripts, and the annual Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age, which began in 2008. In 2011, Larry and Barbara donated their collection of manuscripts to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, which led to the founding of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies in 2012. Consistent with Larry's vision of sharing his collection and the knowledge gained through studying manuscripts, this new series will bring together scholars from around the world and across disciplines to present research related to the study of premodern manuscripts and to consider the role of digital technologies in advancing manuscript research. Whether relying on traditional methods of scholarship or exploring the potential of new technologies, the research presented in each volume will highlight the value of the manuscript book in understanding our intellectual heritage.
Several of the essays in this volume were first presented at the Fourth Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age, "Writing the East: History and New Technologies in the Study of Asian Manuscript Traditions," which was held October 21-22, 2011, at the University of Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia. The symposium covered a range of issues relating to Asian reading and writing cultures, especially as they pertain to the manuscript source. The success of the event inspired the editors to invite contributions from other scholars. The resulting collection of essays explores such topics as best practices for preservation and cataloging; demonstrates the value of collaboration among scholars who work on different aspects of codicological, paleographic, orthographic, and material culture studies; and reveals how these material objects were used for religious, political, cultural, and pedagogical purposes. Whereas manuscript studies in the West have benefited from a long history of scholarship, scholars of Asian manuscript traditions have only recently begun to excavate this rich field of study. As their work continues, their research can only enhance our understanding of manuscript culture. It is fitting, then, that the first volume of the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Studies in Manuscript Culture begins its work in the area of Asian manuscripts by giving scholars the opportunity to share their work and advance our knowledge.
We also acknowledge here our gratitude to those who made the publication of this volume possible. Our first thanks go to the volume's co-editor, Justin McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, who first approached us with the idea to devote an entire symposium to Asian manuscript traditions. We would also like to thank H. Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jerome Singerman, Senior Humanities Editor at the University of Pennsylvania Press, who through their generosity and good will make possible the continued publication of volumes in this series. In gratitude for everything that the Schoenbergs have done, we dedicate this volume to the memory of Larry Schoenberg and to Barbara Brizdle, whose ongoing support ensures the continuation of the good work that Larry began. We can repay his generosity only by spreading his vision as widely as possible. We offer this series as a small contribution toward that enormous debt.
Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
University of Pennsylvania Libraries