Sizova A. Tibetan Manuscript on Birchbark from the Collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS // Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines. New Currents on the Neva River: Proceedings of the Fifth International Seminar of Young Tibetologists. Number 55, Juillet 2020. P. 462–474.
Using birchbark as a writing material is not extraordinary but
quite unusual for Tibetan manuscript culture. Agnieszka
Helman-Ważny, the author of the most comprehensive up to
date study on Tibetan codicology, gives only one example of a
manuscript on birchbark. However, the item she mentions is, in fact,
not written in Tibetan but in the Sanskrit Śāradā script.1 The Berlin
Turfan-Collection2 and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences 3 hold
several Tibetan birchbark manuscripts. When my colleague Kirill
Bogdanov drew my attention to the text that became the subject of the
present article, I realized that I had never seen anything like it before.
There was a multitude of fragile slips, so thin that they resembled
onionskin, covered with red and silver writing that was barely legible
without a magnifying glass (Fig. 1). The res accessoria and the archives
told a compelling story, but unfortunately, some pieces to the puzzle
are still missing...