The unique feature of this collection is the way of its manufacture. This is the only one known Tangut book printed with a movable script. The name of a Chinaman called Chen Ji-jin, who made the type for printing, can be found in the colophon. Taking this into consideration, the author deals with the history of printing in China, which dates back to the 40s of the 1 lth century when Bi Shen invented the way of printing with movable script. The author argues why such printing had not been the predominant one in China until the 20th century, while it spread over the territories of the Tangut Hsi Hsia State and the neighbouring Uighur Kocho State. When compared to the Chinese hieroglyphic script, the Tangut one has much less signs. Obviously this facilitated printing. The parts of the Uighur movable script, which were found at Mogaoku (Dunhuan) in 1908, show that such printing had been used in China as well as by the Tanguts and Uighurs 350 years earlier than it was brought into operation in Europe. Printing with movable script did not spread over to the Middle East because there was a strong tradition of manuscript production there. The confessional differences should also been considered. It is still unclear if there is any connection between the invention by Gutenberg and the introduction of printing with movable script in China and the Central Asia.
One more variant of the proportioned writing attributed to Ibn Muqla (886-940) is put forward in the present article.
Manuscripts of this writing, widely known under the term al-khatt al-mansub, have got at once the status of treasure in the Muslim world and consequently many stories regarding such manuscripts can be found in sources. Unfortunately, there are no data in such stories about concrete features of this writing. For this reason none of the Arabic manuscripts in existence could so far be associated with Ibn Muqla's style of writing.
Only in 1939 an answer to the enigma of Ibn Muqla's calligraphical innovation was suggested by N. Abbott on the basis of a late treatise on Arabic calligraphy. Here is her conclusion, in short: "The khatt al-mansub was at last seen to mean just what it said, the proportioned writing, that is, writing in which the letters were brought into proportional relationships with one another". In 1967 A. Grohmann has joined this conclusion, and henceforth the problem of Ibn Muqla's reform is considered basically solved, although no genuine samples of his handwriting are known to have survived.
Our hypothesis is based on a new source material concerning the problem in question. This is, first of all, the graphic analysis of the writing in those manuscripts, which are nowadays covered, after F. Ddroche, under the term manuscripts d'écriture abbasside ancienne, namely – in the Qur'ans of oblong format, copied in 9th – 10th с A.D. in Kufic script. This analysis shows a sort of rhythmical filling lines with Arabic letters, words or parts of words and brings to light direct dependence of this rhythm upon the proportional characteristic of the area intended for the writing. This is, thus, another type of the proportioned writing than that of N. Abbott and A. Grohmann. The second factor is Ibn Muqla's manner to write. It is described in Ibn al-Nadim's Fihrist, but this important evidence has surprisingly passed by attention of all researchers. This manner coincides with results of the mentioned graphic analysis and can be observed, in fact, only in Kufic Qur'ans of oblong format.
Dr O. Shcheglova. Book-seller Catalogues of the Indian Publishers - 177
The paper deals with two rare catalogues of Indian publishers. The first catalogue, which was printed in 1874, belonged to Munshi Naval Kishor, while the second one was issued by Munshi Malik al-Kuttab in 1911. Both catalogues bring us a golden opportunity to establish the scope of reading in the milieu of the Indian Muslim community in the last third of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century.
COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES
Dr M. Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya. Regarding the History of Buddhist Canon: The Problem of the Language Variety and the Authorship - 200
The problem of the language of the first Buddha's preaching and, later, of the language of Buddhist Canon in which it was written down is unsettled yet. Taking into consideration the date of Buddha's life (ВС 400-360), which is accepted by almost all scientists now, and the region where his preaching activity took place – the territory of Magadh – Buddha had been preaching to his pupils in the Magādhi Prakrit, in which the Great ASoka ordered to carve his rock edicts.
In the Buddhist texts which were first written down in the late ВС centuries, only Gāndhāri Prakrit came to us. In some Sanskrit sūtras, for example, in Dharmapāda, scholars found traces of the Ardhamagādhi Prakrit.
The early translations of the Buddhist sūtras into Chinese have shown that they were based not on the Sanskrit texts, but on some Prakrit ones. To define this language the modern scholars accepted the term Sanskrit-cum-Prakrit.
The philosophy of early Buddhist texts took the terminology of Brahmanism, though the Buddhist doctrine appeared as a teaching directed against it.
The first authors of the Buddhist sūtras have probably been the so-called dharma-bhāņaka, the monks who settled in monasteries, studied there, and then wandered abroad to preach the Buddhist doctrine.
The philosophical sutra appeared as texts necessary to explain and disseminate the philosophical dogmas of some Mahāyānist schools, for example, Madhyāmikas and Yogācarins. It is possible that some scholars working in these schools—such as Nāgārjuna and Asaňga, and their followers later, could be the authors of a number of sūtras.
CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION
L. Kryakina, I. Kuleshova. Physical-chemical Research and the Restoration of the Tangut Manuscripts and Xylographs of the 12th Century at the Institute of Oriental Studies (St. Petersburg Branch) of the Russian Academy of Sciences -219
The first results of the analysis often samples of the Tangut paper were obtained at the Laboratory of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Pulp and Paper Industry as early as in 1963. It was established that, regardless of colour, structure and texture, the base of the paper consisted of cotton rag pulp mixed with hemp and apparently flax fibres. There were also impregnations of other fibres of vegetable origin, wood grains and husks.
Within the framework of the Research and Restoration Project founded by the Russian Fundamental Studies Foundation in 1999-2001, the Department of Manuscripts was engaged in physico-chemical study of both the samples of rag paper of the Tangut manuscript and xylographic documents and the remnants of paper and silk bindings including the threads which were used for binding separate parts of the documents.
The programme of restoration of the Tangut Collection includes the following:
1. Classification of the Tangut manuscript and xylographic documents.
2. Physico-chemical study of the Tangut paper.
3. Incapsulation of seriously damaged fragments into a high-quality polyester transparent film Melinex.
4. Restoration of documents.
5. Photographing restoration process.
6. Manufacturing special preservative boxes.
Dr Т. Yermakova. Scholary Expeditions to China and Central Asia in the First Third of the 20th Century: The Conference Dedicated to the 140th Anniversary of S.F.Oldenburg (1863-1934) - 243
Dr M. Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya. The Oriental Manuscripts Collection of the Institute of Oriental Studies (St. Petersburg Branch) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A Few Words regarding the History of the Asiatic Museum - 246
Dr Ye. Kychanov. Agvan Dorjiev. Amusing Notes. An Account of a Travel round the World. An Autobiography - 252
A. Gordin. The Jewish Medieval Book: Codicological, Palaeographical and Other Technical Aspects - 253