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Saka Documents Text Volume III: the St. Petersburg Collections. By Ronald E. Emmerick and Margarita Vorobyova-Desjatovskaja. “Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum”, London, 1995.


As promised in the introduction to Saka Documents VII: the St. Petersburg collections published in 1993, the present volume contains not only transcriptions and translations of all the Khotanese fragments that were included in the volume of plates but also a substantial number of additional plates that for various reasons were not available in time for inclusion in the earlier publication. For convenience of reference the plates have been numbered sequentially as if they were contained in a single volume. Thus, plates 1-159 are contained in the facsimile volume and plates 160-198 in the text volume. We decided, however, not to await completion of the glossary before making this material available and it is our present intention to publish the glossary as a separate volume.

The fragmentary nature of the extant material poses considerable difficulty to the decipherment and translation of the texts. Many years could be devoted to their interpretation, but we have decided to make the first fruits of our work available as quickly as possible so that others can make use of it and make their own contributions. Many fragments are clearly the remains of translations of Buddhist Sanskrit literature but cannot yet be identified. It is usually possible to improve substantially the interpretation of such fragments once they have been identified so that their publication here should be regarded only as a first essay that may render the task of identification easier.

The first preliminary transcriptions of many of the fragments were made by Vorob'eva-Desjatovskaja, but their final form is due to Emmerick. The editors have consulted many colleagues in the course of preparing this volume, which would be much the poorer without their valuable assistance. Specific contributions of H. Kumamoto, P. O. Skjæarvø, H. Vetch, and Zhang Guangda are individually acknowledged in the text. In addition, Skjæarvø read through most of the text in preliminary stages and made numerous suggestions for improvements, most of which have been adopted. Besides helping with the Chinese Hélène Vetch suggested many improvements to the layout and by pointing out inconsistencies in treatment enabled us greatly to enhance the appearance of the book.

It is to be hoped that the material made available here will be further studied. Only basic information has been included. Thus, we have indicated whether the fragment is on paper or on wood but not differentiated between the different kinds of paper. We have in each case given the "measurements of the fragments since the photographs are not all to the same scale. We have indicated whether a fragment is written in formal or in cursive script, but have not attempted to make any more precise classification. The material here published will provide a rich source for future palaeographical investigations. In the same way we have indicated whether a fragment is written in Old or Late Khotanese, but have only occasionally made any further differentiation.

Information concerning Petrovsky, Oldenburg, Malov, and Strelkov was provided by Vorob'eva-Desjatovskaja and adapted for this publication by Emmerick. It is not intended to be a contribution to history but an informal guide for the benefit of those interested in the collections.


Preface, Contents, Introduction, Abbreviations and Bibliography, Apparatus, The St.Petersburg Petrovsky Collection [Intro], The St.Petersburg Oldenburg Collection [Intro], The St.Petersburg Malov Collection [Intro], The Khotanese Avalokiteśvaradhāraņī, The Strelkov Document, General Index, Index of Chinese characters occurring in the documents, List of Plates


Khotanese manuscripts

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