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WMO 1(6), 2007 Print E-mail



of the orient




Journal based in 2004

Issued twice a year


Table of Contents as a *.PDF file


Dr Yu. Ioannesyan. The Epistles to the Kings and Rulers of the Earth and some other Tablets by Bahá’u’lláh - 5


Upon his arrival in Adrianople (1863) Bahá’u’lláh (1817–1892), the founder of a new religion — the Baha’i Faith, started the gradual proclamation of his Mission as a new Prophet, sent to unite all the peoples of the world. This proclamation was mainly in the form of epistles (Tablets) addressed to the adherents of different religions, various communities and social groups around the world. Among these, one major Tablet, the Súriy-i-Mulúk is addressed to all the kings and rulers collectively. Others include Epistles to Nasir ad-Din Shah of Persia, Napoleon III of France, the German Kaiser (later emperor) Wilhelm I, Francis Joseph of Austria and Hungary, Pope Pius IX, the Russian Czar Alexander II, Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Sultan Abdul Aziz of Turkey.
The St.-Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies has most of these Epistles in the original Arabic or Persian in its unique collection of manuscripts of Babiism and the Baha’i Faith which defines itself as the fourth world religion after Christianity, Islam and Buddism. This article gives a brief sketch of some of these Tablets, illustrated by extracts of the Epistles in Russian translation, and also deals with Russia as presented in some of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

Yu. Boltach. Biography of Tan-shi in “Liang Lives of the Eminent Monks” and “Lives of Eminent Korean Monks” - 15


The paper is dedicated to the comparative study of Lives of Eminent Korean Monks 海東高僧傳, composed by Korean scholar-monk Kakhun 覺訓 circa 1215, and one of its sources, Liang Lives of the Eminent Monks 梁高僧傳, composed by Chinese monk Hui-jiao 慧皎 in the beginning of the 6th century. The appendix contains the annotated translation of the corresponding parts of the two texts into Russian.

Ch. Bell. The Government of Tibet (Report Publication, Introduction and Russian Translation by N. Vul) - 30


This paper is a translation of Charles Bell's confidential report The Government of Tibet that was published in Calcutta in 1906.
The object of that report was to define briefly the power and position of the Dalai Lama, of a Regent when one is in power, of the Assemblies, of the lay and ecclesiastical officials of the Central Government, of the Tashi-Lhunpo Government, of the large monasteries, of the landed gentry and the Chinese administration in Tibet. The composition of Tibetan army and of Chinese military garrisons in Tibet has been also dealt with. The above details comprise the whole administration of Tibet. Very little information regarding this has been published so far.
In this report, Charles Bell also made an attempt to gauge the extent and practical effect of the Chinese suzerainty, to trace the actual sources of power both in the foreign and internal administration and to describe some of the main features of the administrative system.


A. Fedorin . On some of the results of the study of “The full collection of Daiviet’s historical notes” – the major work of the traditional historiography of Vietnam - 67


The article is devoted to the study carried out in Vietnam and abroad, concerning the major work of the traditional historiography of Vietnam — The full collection of Daiviet’s historical notes — from the XVIII century and up to now. Special attention is given to a discussion that arose in the eighties of the XX century. The main subject of the discussion was: which of the preserved engravings of the chronicle (xylographs) is the most ancient. The article also mentions the conference held in Hanoi in 1988, where this problem was raised. Most traditional methods used for studying the work mentioned above are no more efficient, and the answers given to the most important questions and acknowledged by the majority of scientists are still doubtful.

Dr A. Grushevoy. Russian Studies of the Talmud and of Its Creation Period - 87


The history of Talmudic studies (Talmud proper and the period of its creation) as well as of Semitology and Hebrew studies in general counts 200 years in Russia. Some periods in the history of this science were closely connected with the changes occurring in social and political life of Russia. The aim of our article is to give brief characteristics of these periods as well as the characteristics of scholarly works of researchers studying the Talmud and the period of Jewish history when it was created. We would like to emphasize that the present work can not be regarded as giving a complete description and characteristics of all works of all researchers who have ever studied the Talmud and Talmudic period.
The present article deals mostly with the contents of Russian works of those scholars who can be characterised as researchers of academic style (both Orientalists and specialists in Classic studies) studying the Talmud and Talmudic period from historical and philological point of view. (The most prominent names here are: A.S. Firkovich, D.A. Chwolson, A.J. Harkavy, P.K. Kokovtsov, I.G. Troitsky, N.A. Pereferkovich, A.I. Tiumenev, S.J. Lurie, N.V. Pigoulevskaya, A.B. Ranovich.)
In other words, the author of the article provides no description and characteristics of the following types of works written in Russian and dealing with the Talmud or the Talmudic period:
- brochures written in popular style (issued in great amounts in Russia in the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century) and giving different explanations about the Talmud as well as about the ideas expressed in different Talmudic treatises;
- religious litterature (Judaic and Christian) dealing with the Talmud or the Talmudic period published very often in the end of the 20th century and in the beginning of the 21st century;
- philological studies dealing with the Hebrew language and Aramaic dialects;
- the works of Russian religious philosophers who dealt with the Jewish history in some philosophical or culturological works.

Dr I. Nadiroff. Hand and Gesture as a Divine Symbol and an Amulet (according to Epigraphic and Narrative Materials of the Semitic Peoples of the Orient) - 100


In this paper, an attempt to generalize the meaning of a hand in religion, rites and beliefs is made. According to archaeological discoveries in Syria, Rome, and Nabataea, the sign of a hand was of great importance as a substitution or personification of god, sometimes designated as mal’ak “angel”. Some inscriptions cited in the article have been never published. The role of a hand, arm and palm, as well as gesture is still important in the modern Arab countries: as means of curse; small arm figures are used as amulets; the left hand is considered to be unlucky. All these meanings have their roots in a long-age tradition, connected with “animism” in pre-Islamic times, though the researchers of the Arab pre-Islamic period avoid using the mentioned term.

Dr I. Gurevich. The Text of “San chao bei meng hui bian”: One More Sort of the Yulu Genre - 108


When researching in the field of the historical grammar, irrespective to the period under consideration the main problem to be solved first of all is to define the most representative literary sources. The text of San chao bei meng hui bian is one of very important and valuable sources for the study of the early baihua. Representing a history of the diplomatic and military relations between the Song and the Jin during the period from 1117 to1162, the text mentioned recorded diplomatic discussions and dialogs (yulu) mainly in colloquial and thus preserved rather long passages in a real spoken, or vernacular Chinese.
Fortunately, there is another text of the time - that is Xu zi zhi tong jian chang bian ji shi ben mo - which included two fragments from San chao... but in a transformed way of the language - literary instead of the original colloquial. Thus we have two texts with completely identical content but different in means of the language style they are written.
By inspecting the language of San chao... a great number of grammatical features specific for the early baihua were pointed out. These are: the disyllabic form of the words of all word-classes, the verb markers zhao, liao, de, the indicator of potentiality de, the function morpheme di, the marker of the pretransitive construction ba, the interrogative duoshao, and others.
By comparing the texts of San chao... and Xu zi zhi... (following Professor Mei Tsu-lin) one could come to a conclusion that San chao... should be considered a representative of a strongly early baihua-colored text.

E. Revounenkova. „Krusenstern’s Malay manuscript, its importance for Culture and History“ (I) - 118


The paper deals with the famous Malay manuscript of historical content Sulalat-us-Salatin (15–16th centuries), which had been brought to Saint-Petersburg by the outstanding Russian sailor Ivan Feodorovitch Krusenstern; since 1802 its place was first the Library of the Academy of Sciences, since 1818 — the Asiatic Museum; its Library turned to be the Archives of the Saint-Petersburg part of the Russian Academy’s Institute for Oriental Studies. The paper contains a minute description of the manuscript; its content is analysed in the most detailed way; special attention is paid to the pecularities of writing; the text is compared with other manuscripts of Sulalat-us-Salatin — with those extant in the archives and libraries all around the world; the Saint-Petersburg manuscript is compared to the best edited versions of the same Malay text. The analysis permits the author to conclude that the text of the famous Malay chronicle, that was brought by Krusenstern, reflects two stages of its existence: a) that which can be called “genuine” — pertaining to the very author, b) the other — it shows traces of different editorship; thus it can be regarded as one close to the primeval text, it is doubtlessly one of the earliest copies — though it dates to 1798. The paper also reveals the importance of this monument for our knowledge of every-day life, historical and ethnographical details of medieval Malaya.

Shi Shu. Nestorians in China — doctors Chong Yi and Qin Ming-he - 148


The article is based on the Chinese sources concerning two medical doctors of the Tang dynasty who treated the Chinese emperors. The author comes to a conclusion that Chong Yi and Qin Ming-he were nestorians at the service of the Tang court.

Dr S. Pakhomov. Tantra and Veda - 151


The aim of the article is to throw light upon a problem of “vedicity” or “non-vedicity” of Hindu Tantrism (Tantra). Veda itself is a complicated tradition and it includes contents that can concern Tantra. Many adepts of Tantra claim that their tradition results from Veda. Very often symbols of Veda having used by tantrists helped to legitimize their spiritual practices and teachings.
Really there wasn’t an “iron curtain” between these traditions. They borrow a lot of spiritual material from each other very actively. In course of time both traditions interweaved very closely.
Hindu Tantrism has several positions as regards Veda. It is Vedic because it accepts an importance of spiritual knowledge. It partly Vedic because it uses some (not all) Vedic ideas and imagery. Tantrism is non-Vedic and even anti-Vedic in sense of doubt in effectiveness of Vedic values, norms, rites, etc. Besides non-vedicity of Tantra in that Tantric texts are not direct heirs of Vedic literature. In whole, Tantric authors perceive Veda not as complex of dogmas but the valuable storage of different useful ideas, which are interpreted by them in many ways.


I. Glushkova. To Go or Not to Go: The Idea of “Tirth(a)-Yatra” and of Sainthood in Medieval Maharashtra - 165


The paper tries to evaluate the authenticity of multiple stories of pilgrimages [tirth(a)-yatras, tirthatans] made by medieval bhakti poets of Maharashtra (Dnyaneshvar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram and Ramdas) to famous sacred places in India. It is based on thorough reading and interpretion of a wide variety of Marathi texts, including the poets’ autobiographical hymns, hagiographical accounts and confessional literature. Taking into consideration the contradictory vision pertinent to the poetry of all poets in question who rejected vehemently conventional rituals and still believed in approaching a sacred spot with a proper religious feeling, the paper uncovers the reason behind subduing of antipilgrimage attitude and facts. It brings together various evidences of later changes and additions into saints’ stories and traces the formation of propilgrimage narratives accepted as ideal pattern in contemporary Maharashtrian society.

Dr E. Tyomkin. A word about Bhāmaha - 199


This paper presents an attempt to embody the scholar of ancient India Bhamaha who practically was a founder of the scientific theory of literature as an art, his personality, the time of his activity and the significance of his ideas for the development of following literary tradition. For lack of any factual data the only way to elucidate these problems might be his sole composition which came to us and the works of his colleagues in the field of epistemology and logic.


Dr O. Akimushkin. From the History of the Formation of the Islamic Manuscripts Fund Owned by the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences - 208


The essay deals with the process of accumulation of the Islamic Manuscripts Fund owned by the SPb. Branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences from the day of its foundation in November 23, 1818, as the Asiatic Museum of the SPb. Academy of Sciences.
At present, the Fund contains 9,683 manuscripts (5,184 in Arabic; 3,084 in Persian; approx. 1500 in Turkic and Turkish).
The essay marks the names of individual persons (they are 301), as well as the titles of the State Institutes (35 members), the special archaeographical expeditions of the Academy of Sciences of 1897, 1915-1916, 1917, 1934 inclusive.
It can be stated with confidence that, from 1818, the Russian society as a whole shared deep interest in the process of formation of the Islamic Manuscripts Fund of the SPb. Branch.
The essay contains two index-tables:
1. Alphabetic Person Index of the Fund's donators and creators.
2. Chronological—according to the day of manuscript acquirement and delivery.

Dr I. Popova. The First Entries of the Chinese Books to the Russian Academy of Sciences and Their Cataloguing in the 18th Century - 230


The Russian Academy of Sciences holds a vast collection of Chinese manuscripts and old printed books, the main part of it is stored in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies (former Asiatic Museum). The first books in the Chinese language were transferred to Russian private libraries from Europe at the beginning of the 18th century. Later on many of these books by various ways came to the library of the Academy of Sciences. In 1730, through Lorentz Lang, the Russian diplomatic representative to China, the Academy for the first time received Chinese books, numbering 82, directly from China. Russian missionaries were also actively involved in collecting books, but unfortunately only a few inventories on the Chinese books assembled by them are preserved now. The first catalogues of the Chinese holdings of the Library of the Academy of Sciences were compiled by I.K. Rossokhin (1717-1761) in 1741 and 1752 and by A.L. Leontiev (1716-1761) in 1776. The results of their work were used by Jean Backmeister, who in 1776 published the first printed catalogue of library holdings of the RAS.

Dr I. Schiffmann. Main Stages of Development of Semitology in Russia till 1917 (Published by Dr A. Grushevoy) - 246

Working in the Archive of the Oriental Studies Institute (St. Petersburg Branch) I have come across a number of works, published only partly or completely unpublished, written by I. Shiffmann (1930-1990), the famous Soviet Orientalist. Among these works there is an article about the main stages of development of Semitology in Russia. This article was partly published in the following books: История отечественного востоковедения до середины XIX в. М, 1990. С. 238-241 (= Oriental Studies in Russia before the Middle of the 19th Century. Moscow, 1990. P. 238-241); История отечественного востоковедения с середины XIX в. до 1917 года. М., 1997. С. 466—473 (= Oriental Studies in Russia from the Middle of the 19th Century up to 1917. Moscow, 1997. P. 466-473).
The two main subjects of the article are: 1. the history of translation of Biblical text into Russian (From Church-Slavonic versions to the Synodal Version officially recognized and accepted by Russian Orthodox Church); 2. biographical and bibliographical notes concerning life and works of Russian scientists engaged in Biblical, Hebrew medieval and Aramaic studies, as well as in Hebrew and Aramaic epigraphy (G. Pavsky, I. Troitsky, D. Chwolson, A. Harkavy, P. Kokowtsow and others).
The reedition of the article seems expedient and important in many respects. First, it deals with an interesting and hardly investigated page of Oriental studies in Russia. Second, when published, it underwent abridgement of a kind and saw the light of day with arbitrary abbreviations of the redactors. Third, the article has been written and published practically without references. But articles of such kind are interesting and have a right to exist when the description of scholarly activities of such or such researcher is accompanied by correct bibliographical references to his works, at least the mentioned ones.

Letters from Yu.N. Roerich to V.F. Minorsky, 1943-1957. Prefaced, edited and commented by Dr A. Andreyev - 266

This block of 42 letters represents the extensive correspondence between the two eminent emigre Russian Orientalists: the student of Tibetan Buddhism, Yurii Nikolaevich Roerich (1902-1960), and his life-long friend, the expert in the history of Iran and the Muslim East, Vladimir Feodorovich Minorsky (1877-1966). Roerich first met Minorsky in Paris in 1923. A graduate of Harvard University, Roerich moved from the United States to France, where he would attend for some time Minorsky's seminar on the Shahname at Sorbonne. Their acquaintance eventually grew into a lasting friendship and intimate scholarly partnership, which continued until Roerich's sudden death, three years after he had re-emigrated to the USSR in 1957.
The preface briefly outlines Minorsky's biography and the story of Roerich's friendship with him. The letters themselves touch upon a variety of subjects, such as Roerich's and Minorsky's research work and publications, problems of Central Asian history, the turbulent events of the post-war period (the Indo-Pakistan conflict, the reunification of Tibet and China, the Korean war, etc.), the correspondents' personal lives, as well as the fate of some outstanding Soviet Orientalists, with whose published works Roerich had been well acquainted (N.N. Poppe, V.L. Kotvich, A.D. Rudnev, A.I. Vostrikov, F.I. Stcherbatsky, Ts. Jamtsarano).
The commentary contains historical and biographical data relating to the events and persons mentioned in Y.N. Roerich's letters.


A. Guryeva, Dr I. Dyakov. Oriental and African Studies at Universities of St. Petersburg, Russia and Europe - 304

Dr S. Pakhomov. The 3rd Torchinov Readings - 307


“Irk Bitiq”: The Old Turkic Divinatory Book. Translation, Preface, Commentary and Glossary by V.M. Yakovlev (Dr L. Tugusheva) - 309

Vasubandhu. Encyclopedia of Buddhist Canonical Philosophy (the "Abhidharmakosha") (Dr M. Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya) - 311

St. Petersburg—China. Three Centuries of Contact (Dr T. Pang) - 314


Stanislav Kalujinski (1925-2007) (Dr N. Yakhontova) - 317

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