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Tyomkin E. Unique Sanskrit Fragments of the “Sutra of Golden Light” in the manuscript collection of St Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 1, No 1, July 1995. Pp. 29-38.


The unique fragments of the canonical text of the Sutra of Golden Light (Skt. Suvarnabhāsottama-sūtra) came along with the manuscripts collected in Kashgar by the secretary of the Russian consulate P. I. Lavrov. Now they are included in the Central Asiatic manuscript collection — “Ser India” (SI). In 1915—9 they were examined by N.D.Mironov, a member of the Asiatic Museum staff. At that period academician S.Th.Oldenburg invited N.D.Mironov to work on the manuscripts written in the Brahmi script. These were brought to St Petersburg by Russian scholars from East Turkestan or sent from there by Russian diplomats. In 1919 Mironov left Soviet Russia and continued his work in India, China and Europe. Before his departure he only managed to publish his paper on a Sanskrit -Tocharian bilingual fragment of the Dharmapada from the M.M.Berezovsky collection.

A number of manuscripts in Sanskrit — from the I.P.Lavrov collection, in Khotanese Saka — from the S.E.Malov collection, and in Tocharian — from the M.M.Berezovsky collection, were not available to scholars for a long time, because they were stored in Mironov's archives among his private documents. In 1930 these documents became a part of the Archives of Orientalists established as one of the departments of the newly founded Institute of Oriental studies, the immediate successor of the Asiatic Museum.

Only in 1961, when the archives of Mironov were sorted, the above mentioned manuscripts came to the Manuscript Department of the Institute. All the fragments, however, were in a very bad condition, so the keepers were not actually able to touch them. Only in spring of 1994 the conservators of the Institute began to restore these fragments. In the course of restoration several unique manuscripts have been discovered…

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Keywords


Buddhist literature
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers
Sanskrit manuscripts
Sutra of Golden Light
Suvarnabhāsottama-sūtra

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