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Mesheznikov A. Two Unpublished Fragments of the Sanskrit Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra in the Serindia Collection (IOM, RAS) // Written Monuments of the Orient. Vol. 9, No. 1(17), 2023. P. 61—81.


Two newly identified fragments of the Sanskrit Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra from Central Asia are stored in the St. Petersburg’s Serindia Collection of the IOM, RAS under the call numbers SI 3045 and SI 4646. The uniqueness of the Central Asian Sanskrit manuscript rarities lies in the fact that they represent the earliest known version of this popular Buddhist text of the Mahāyāna tradition. Found in the Southern oases of the Tarim Basin in a rather fragmented condition, the manuscripts of the Sanskrit Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra written in the Brāhmī script are currently scattered among various manuscript depositories of the world. Among the manuscripts of the Sanskrit part of the Serindia Collection eight fragments of this Sūtra have been identified so far, and this article aims to introduce two previously unpublished fragments. The fragments are parts of the pothi type folios of paper containing on both sides ten lines in Sanskrit recorded in the so-called Early Turkestan Brāhmī, and paleography permits to date these two manuscripts to the 5th c. AD. The set of codicological and paleographic features (the same number of lines and line spacing, identical writing style and form of Brāhmī akṣaras, similar paper characteristics and width of the fragments) allows to suggest that both fragments could belong to the folios of one and the same manuscript of Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra, or at least that they were created in one scriptorium. Moreover, these fragments also reveal similarities with other manuscripts of this sūtra in the Serindia Collection. The introduction of these newly identified Sanskrit fragments into scientific circulation will provide additional material for solving the problems related to the source studies of the Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra.

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Keywords


Central Asia
Khotan
Mahāyāna
Sankrit manuscripts
Serindia Collection
Suvarṇabhāsottama-sūtra

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