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WMO 17/1 (40), 2020 Print E-mail

of the Orient
Vol. 16, No. 4 (39)
Spring 2020

Journal based in 2004
Issued quarterly

The entire issue as a *.PDF file


Tatiana A. Pang. Three Imperial Diplomas Gaoming (誥命) from the Collection of the IOM RAS — 5
The Manchu collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts has three Manchu-Chinese diplomas gaoming 誥命 in its possession, dated to March 1, 1904 (В 94mss, В 106mss, and В 107mss). These are the latest Manchu-Chinese diplomas among the 18 scrolls from the collection. According to the Chinese text, the first diploma was given to Gong Wencai (in Manchu, Gung Wenjai) and bestows on him the wuxian jiangjun 武顯將軍 title (in Manchu, horonggo gungge jiyanggjun) and on his wife, the fu ren 夫人 title (in Manchu, unenggi hehe). The second diploma was given to his parents, and the third, to his grandparents, awarding them the same titles correspondingly. The Manchu texts of the diplomas contain a mistake of the scribe: in the first diploma, the name of Gung Wenjai’s wife is not mentioned; in the second and the third diplomas, the scribe has changed the names of the recipient and the description of his heroic deeds — instead of Gung Wenjai, he described Wang Fengxiang and his relatives. This textological mistake shows that, on the one hand, much attention was paid to the Chinese text and, on the other hand, the Manchu text was a formality necessary for all official documents issued from the court, and Manchu was not read in the families. The present article publishes a Russian translation of the Manchu and Chinese texts of the three diplomas and shows the work of different scribes. The three diplomas, given to the same recipient and his relatives, illustrate the state’s appreciation of its heroes: it highly valued their merits and bestowed titles not only on the heroes, but on their wives and relatives in two generations. This practice underlines the fact that the recipient of the diploma has shown his filial piety not only to the ruler, but to his ancestors as well.
Key words: the Qing dynasty, Manchu-Chinese diplomas, gaoming, scrolls, the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS, Manchu manuscripts


Marat M. Yunusov. From the History of the Decipherment of West Semitic Writing: Events and People. (VI) Decipherment of Phoenician Alphabet: J.-J. Barthélemy and J. Swinton — 21
In the middle of the 18th century, Barthelemy and Swinton almost simultaneously deciphered Phoenician writing. This outstanding event in the history of the West Semitic epigraphy has once again led to a dispute between two scholars for the primacy in this discovery. Would Barthelemy’s dechipherment have been so quick and successful without the work that had been done by his predecessors, including Swinton?
Key words: Barthelemy, Swinton, Phoenician alphabet, Melitensis prima, Cippi Melqarti, Citiensis secunda

Youli A. Ioannesyan. The Nuqtat al-Kaf as a Source for the Study of Shaykhism and Early Babism — 46
In the article, the author considers the early Babi chronicle Kitab-i Nuqtat al-Kaf which, up to the present day, has been the object of severe polemics and the cause of great speculation in the academic milieu. The author compares the viewpoint on the subject prevalent among scholars, which is put forward by J. Cole, with the opposite view on the authenticity of the chronicle expressed by W. McCants and K. Milani in their study. The latter authors have tried to play down the obvious incongruities in the text of the chronicle in every possible way. The author highlights the weak points in McCants and Milani’s argumentation by his own counterarguments thus supporting Cole’s stance on the issue.
Key words: the Babi Faith, the Baha’i Faith, history of the Babi Faith, compilatory chronicles

Marina Ye. Kravtsova. On the Collections of the Verses of Chu (chuci): Chuci zhangju by Wang Yi (2nd Century A.D.) — 56
The article deals with the problem of genesis of the famous Chinese poetic tradition, usually referred to as the verses of Chu (chuci), and is centered around the history of the compilation of the Chuci zhangju (Chapter and Verse Commentary on the Verses of Chu) collection by Wang Yi (2nd century A.D.), which is traditionally considered the basic text for all subsequent Chuci (Chu Verese) editions. Through the analysis of factual data and modern academic points of view about Wang Yi’s life and activities, the author argues that it is impossible to establish either the exact time of creation or the original composition of the Chuci zhangju, which further raises doubts about the authenticity of not only this collection, but also the entire chuci poetic tradition.
Key words: Chinese poetry, the verses of Chu, Chuci editions, the Chuci zhangju collection, Wang Yi

Sergey L. Burmistrov. The Typology of Buddhist Didactic Texts in Asanga’s Compendium of Abhidharma — 67
Asanga’s treatise Compendium of Abhidharma (Abhidharma-samuccaya, 4th century) presents twelve types of Buddhist didactic instructions, viz. sūtras, verse narration (geya), exposition (vyākaraṇa), stanza (gāthā), solemn utterance (udāna), circumstance (nidāna), exploits (avadāna), “thus it was said” (itivṛttaka), birth-stories (jātaka), development (vaipulya), marvels (adbhūta-dharma), instruction (upadeśa). These are different means of propagation of the Buddhist doctrine, and the aim of this propagation is the salvation of all sentient beings from the wheel of saṃsāra. The propagation of Buddhist Dharma is therefore one of essential aspects of the way of bodhisattva, and the topic of the respective part of the treatise is the “skilful means” (upāya-kauśalya) as one of the form of bodhisattva’s compassion and charity. In contrast to the Hindu stotra (religious hymn), a Buddhist didactic text appeals primarily to the rational side of the mind, presenting to the hearers entirely new religious knowledge, while the stotra presents concisely that which they already know about the god who is the subject of this hymn.
Key words: didactic text, sūtra, religious sermon, bodhisattva ideal, Mahāyāna


Shimon M. Iakerson. “Making Many Books…”: A Remark on the Characterization of Hebrew Scribes’ and Earliest Printers’ Practices — 83
Colophons of Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula, in addition to bibliographical information, contain, as a rule, various blessings or good wishes associated with the completion of work or the hope of its further continuation. The main source of these texts is, of course, the Hebrew Bible. This article is dedicated to the analysis of one of such good wishes, whose meaning in the context of colophons is diametrically opposite to its meaning in the original biblical text.
Key words: Hebrew Bible, Ecclesiastes, colophons, benedictions, manuscripts, incunabula, scribes, earliest printers, Sephardim

Viacheslav M. Rybakov. T’ang Criminal Laws Restricting Arbitrary Actions in the Area of Military Activities — 92
Military activities are critical to state-building at all times. Arbitrary actions of the middle and lower ranks of the administration in this area have always been considered dangerous for the state and therefore absolutely unacceptable. At the same time, the state inevitably had to provide these ranks with some means of immediate response to situations where external aggression or internal rebellions began to pose a threat to the country. The criminal law of traditional China very skillfully and subtly tried to solve this twofold problem: to stop unjustified initiative and at the same time to make justified initiative non-punishable and even mandatory. In this article, the result of such attempts is described and analyzed on the basis of written records of the T’ang dynasty.
Key words: traditional China, state and law, the T’ang dynasty, military activities, unauthorized actions of local administration

Pavel V. Basharin. Early Sufism in Russian Islamic Studies: History and Prospects — 105
This paper concentrates on studies of early Sufism in Russia. Early Sufism has never been a traditional trend in Russian Islamic studies. A. Y. Krymskii’s book (1896) shows the trend of the European positivist science of the late 19th — early 20th centuries. A vivid example of the psychology-centered European view of Islamic mysticism was K. K. Kazanski’s work (1905). The books of Ye. E. Bertels and I. P. Petrushevski shaped the common view on Sufism accepted in the scholarly community of the Soviet Union. In some cases, Sufis became objects of studies as representatives of “free-thinking” tradition. A milestone for Russian Islamic study was the publication of the encyclopedic edition entitled Islam: An Encyclopedic Dictionary (1991) and A Reader on Islam (1994). In the post-Soviet period since the early 1990s, there has been an upsurge of interest in Sufism. However, the reader was provided with basic information about early Sufism by translated literature alone. Translations and researches of original early Sufi texts are rare. The only major book dealing with early Sufism is by I. R. Nasyrov — The Foundations of Islamic Mysticism (Genesis and Evolution), 2009.
Key words: Russian Islamic studies, Krymski, Kazanski, Bertels, Petrushevski, “free thinking”, post-Soviet period, Knysh, Prozorov, Nasyrov


Svetlana S. Sabrukova. Russian Scholars in Mongolian Studies A. V. Burdukov and T. A. Burdukova (A Review of Their Collection at the Archives of the Orientalists, IOM RAS) — 119
The article describes the lives of A. V. Burdukov (1883–1943) and his daughter T. A. Burdukova (1912–1987) as well as the collection of documents (No. 165) housed at the archives of Orientalists in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The reviewed documents have been divided into two groups: (1) A. V. Burdukov — a collector and scholar in Mongolian language; his scholarly works and studies, biographical and work documents, personal letters, related studies by other scholars, maps between 1909 and 1991. (2) T. A. Burdukova — a scholar in Mongolian language, senior lecturer at the Faculty of Oriental Languages of Leningrad State University; her scholarly works and studies, biographical and work documents, personal letters, related works by other scholars, publications between 1932 and 1987. The present study could be of interest to researchers looking for original documents on the history of Mongolian studies in Russia.
Key words: A. V. Burdukov, T. A. Burdukova, study of Mongolian languages, literature, folklore, archives of Orientalists of the IOM RAS


Anna A. Turanskaya. The First International Conference “Oriental Manuscripts: The Issues of Codicology and Conservation” (St. Petersburg, December 4–6, 2019) — 135

Dmitrii A. Nosov. The Fourth International Academic Conference “The Turko-Mongol World: Past and Present” in Memory of Sergei G. Klyashtorny (1928–2014) (St. Petersburg, February 12–13, 2020) — 140


Songs of the Great Peace at South Wind. Tr. from Korean by A. A. Gur’eva. St. Petersburg: Hyperion, 2019 (Traditional Literature of Korea. A Collection of Bestsellers). 284, [4] pp. (in Russian) (Julia V. Boltach) — 145


Eduard Naumovich Temkin (1928–2019) (T. V. Ermakova) — 150

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