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Sazykin A. A Mongolian Manuscript ‘Sungdui’ // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 5, No 3, September 1999. P. 62-69.


Among the vast ritual and liturgical Buddhist literature in the Mongolian language, which includes translations from the Tibetan carried out in the second half of the sixteenth— seventeenth centuries, the work known to scholars by the short title Sungdui (Tib. gZungs bsdus, Mong. Tarnis-un quriyangyui) (Collection of Incantations) occupies an important place. The Mongolian version was published several times in Peking as a xylograph, hence, copies of various editions are held in many collections of Mongolian print and manuscript books. The collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies is no exception. It holds both Mongolian versions of the collection known at present. These are the Peking xylographs of the Sungdui.

The original version is represented in Peking editions present in the collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies: 1707 (call number К 7-a), 1723 (call number К 7-b), 1727 (call number I 100), and 1729 (call number Q 2581). In the first half of the eighteenth century, a new version of the Sungdui appeared, also printed in Peking. Three copies (call numbers H 338, copies 1—2 and Dbl. 2) are preserved at the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies as well.

In addition to the xylograph editions of the Sungdui, the Mongolian collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies also contains a manuscript of the Sungdui's original version (call number К 6). The manuscript was acquired by the Asiatic Museum (now the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies) in 1838 as part of the second collection of P. L. Schilling vonCanstadt (1786—1837). It was purchased after the scholar's death from his heirs for forty thousand rubles. Previously, Schilling von Canstadt had bought the collection from A. V. Igumnov (1761—1834) during a scientific expedition to Eastern Siberia in 1830—1832.

In 1781, Igumnov accompanied the seventh religious mission to Peking as an interpreter. While there, he acquired several manuscripts (including the manuscript Sungdui) and 96 Peking xylograph editions in the Mongolian language. At present, all of these are stored in the sixth collection of the Mongolian fund of the manuscript collection of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies.

The acquisition of a manuscript Sungdui by the Asiatic Museum during the first decades of its existence may be regarded as an event of much importance, since in the subsequent century and a half Petersburg collections of Mongolian manuscripts and xylographs were not enriched by a single full manuscript copy of the Sungdui. Other manuscripts of the collection are at present attested only at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, which contains a “beautifully executed monastic MS” of one collection and one of the volumes of another. The colophons are lacking in both Copenhagen manuscripts. Their contents, according to the compilers of the catalogue, are the same as the Peking xylographs of the early eighteenth century.

Unlike the Copenhagen manuscripts, the Petersburg Sungdui contains a full colophon located at the end of the second volume on two folios with separate pagination. We give here a transliteration of the colophon…

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