Darya Ogorodnikova: Islamic Education Among the Mande Mediated by the Soninke Ajami Manuscripts
The proposed research will be concerned with West African Islamic manuscripts annotated in Soninke written in Arabic-based script (Ajami). The subject matters, specific layout and peculiarities of the language of annotations suggest that the manuscripts were used at advanced stages of Islamic learning, with Soninke being used as an explication language for educational instructions. The study will focus on paratextual elements as they give insight into the functional dimension of the manuscripts, allowing us to reconstruct learning practices. As the research will be dealing with the still living manuscript tradition, the data obtained from the primary written sources will be supplemented by the data collected during fieldwork. The outcome of the study will be a detailed description of the educational practices mediated by the Soninke Ajami manuscripts. The research will advance understanding of written and spoken transmission of Islamic knowledge in West Africa.
Ahmed Hussein Ahmed Parkar: Manuscripts and Transmission of Knowledge in Swahili Society: A Comparative Analysis on Form and Usage of Qasida Hamziyya
Qasidas are poems that are commonly sung and chanted during religious festivals or on special occasions such as marriage ceremonies. For centuries, the qasidas, have widely been used in the Muslim world. Some qasidas such as Banat Suada, Hamziyya and Burda are believed to have special spiritual attachment and healing powers. Hamziyya, one of the most frequently copied and elevated poem in Swahili land, will be the subject of my thesis. The Arabic version of Hamziyya was known as “Ummul Quraa” (Mother of Cities). It was composed by an Egyptian Sufi poet, Al-Busiri, in 12th century (CE). It was then translated from Arabic into Swahili by Sayyid Aidarus of Lamu in the 16th century. Little is known about the biographies of such scribes, their technical apparatus; paper, ink, calligraphy tools and the usage of their materials or texts. One may find Hamziyya manuscripts in Swahili-Arabic or Arabic versions with some interlinear Swahili translations. They were written by different copyists who were from different locations. Some copyists applied their own native Swahili dialects. Due to the absence of standardization, the texts varied considerably in their form, language, diction and style. The Arabic consonant ٻ (Ba), e.g., was used by scribes to represent b, bw, mb, mbw, pw and p in the Swahili texts and the Arabic consonant such as ﻮ (wau) was used to represent o, u or w. Hence, this makes the reading and deciphering of the texts extremely challenging. Based on an analysis which integrates textual, palaeographical, codicological and linguistic aspects, the social contexts of the usage of Hamziyya manuscripts will be investigated because the manuscripts were also used for oral performances. The fundamental objective of the thesis is to provide a critical edition of the Hamziyya corpus and to analyse the manuscripts with regards to the ways they have been used in order to address the overall question of how and for which purposes which type of knowledge was preserved, organized and transmitted in Swahili society.
Frederike-Wiebke Daub: Forms and Functions of the Layout of Arabic Manuscripts of Religious Texts with a Focus on Copies of the Poem Qaṣīdat al-Burda
The objects of investigation will be copies of three works that are the most famous writings in praise of the Prophet Muḥammad. First and foremost, copies of the Qaṣīdat al-Burda will be studied, a poem of praise for the Prophet Muḥammad written by al-Būṣīrī (d. 1294). Furthermore, I am going to examine copies of al-Ǧazūlī’s (d. 1465) Dalāʾil al-ḫayrāt, a prayer book or manual of blessings on the Prophet Muḥammad, and the Šifāʾ of Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (d. 1149), a handbook devoted to the Prophet’s life, his qualities and miracles. The research starts with a detailed examination of the layout. The main emphasis will be placed on the organization of the single page. One of the basic questions will be to what extent layout elements were used to organize the text and are therefore linked to its content. Furthermore it can be asked whether modes of transmission and the visual organization of the text have mutually influenced each other. Another factor that may have had consequences for the layout and that will therefore be an object of study is the way in which the manuscripts were used. This assumption is all the more plausible since copies of all three texts are regarded as sacred and up to present times talismanic value is ascribed to copies of these texts.
Daub, Frederike-Wiebke: Formen und Funktionen des Layouts in arabischen Manuskripten anhand von Abschriften religiöser Texte al-Būṣīrīs Burda, al-Ǧazūlīs Dalāʾil und die Šifāʾ von Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (Arabische Studien 12) Wiesbaden 2016.
Claudia Colini: Between Islamic Black Inks and Papers: Optimisation of Analytical Parameters for their Characterisation
Currently: Researcher in Research Field A "Artefact Profiling" at Understanding Written Artefacts.
Research on materials of Islamic manuscripts today is still a challenging endeavour. We lack the wealth of well-known, highly detailed, commonly employed and inherently simpler recipes that the Western documents have; working on Islamic manuscripts is comparable to flying blind over a mostly uncharted territory. Scientific knowledge of the components of our documental heritage is fundamental for the history of any society. Profound knowledge of ink and paper is the precondition for an adequate conservation of such cultural vessels. This knowledge together with document preservation and research are essential to the heritage. The aim of this thesis is an exhaustive study of papers and inks allowing a precise identification of the fabrication materials. In order to achieve this, the production of samples of every ink and paper type encountered in the original recipes is necessary. Their analysis data will be aggregated into a database (one for each analytical technique) and used to compare the data collected when analysing original historical materials, thereby helping to identify their composition. Studying the sample’s ageing will enable us to establish a connection between the ink type, the paper type and their conservation problems. This multidisciplinary project will also enable me to produce a more organic and accurate set of Western translations and deepen our knowledge of advanced analytic techniques in both the development and the application of procedure protocols and in the interpretation of the resulting data.
Philippa Sissis: Seeing Script? The Visual Aesthetics of Early Humanist Manuscripts
Seeing script begins with reading – or so it seems. But even before reading, or rather, before decoding the letters to form words, which then turn into content and ideas, the reader is a contemplator of the page. From the early Middle Ages onwards, the diversity of script types shows that the written page is more than the mere trace of the word: it is image at the same time as it is content.
This matter was of the highest interest to the early humanists Poggio Bracciolini and Niccolò Niccoli when copying ancient texts in Florence around 1400. They were not content with reproducing these texts: Their work was philological, historical, grammatical and orthographical with the ambition to restore the unaltered form of the texts which, throughout their transmission, had been copied, recopied and adapted at every step to the individual or historical understanding of their structure and content. In addition, Poggio and Niccoli gave them a new form. They created a humanist aesthetic which uses the script and other micro- and macrotypographical elements as parts of the page display. While the script they developed, the humanist minuscule, is well known in palaeographic research, much less attention has been given to the overall decoration and mise en page of the manuscripts with their deliberate restrained appearance. The first part of this project will analyse the humanist aesthetics of the manuscripts of Poggio Bracciolini against the background of the visual traditions of manuscripts from the Carolingian to the scholastic era. The second part will explore how the strikingly ‘modern’ appearance of Poggio’s manuscripts, developed in response to these earlier traditions, embedding him clearly in the cultural and artistic environment of early Renaissance Florence: the translation of rhetoric ideas in visual presentation forms a paratext to the humanist copies making them both visual objects and artefacts to read.
Lena Sommer: Layout and Transfer of Knowledge in Two Austrian Legendaries (Heiligenkreuz, Stiftsbibliothek, Csc. 11-14; Zwettl, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Zwetl. 13-15, 24)
currently: Scholarship holder, Isa-Lohmann-Siems Foundation
The Magnum Legendarium Austriacum (MLA) is a late-twelfth-century Cistercian collection of saints´ lives and legends compiled in some Austrian monasteries. They are good examples to examine the visual organization of manuscripts. The two copies of Heiligenkreuz and Zwettl are products of a „mother“ and a „daughter“ house, which show discrepancies against the strict gridlines of manuscript spread of Cistercian customs and the close exchange of manuscripts, painters and writers between these both monasteries. They differ from each other in appearance, the organization of texts and the accentuation of certain saints by initials. The markup of initials divides them into representive-static and narrative-specific forms. The microcosm of two closely related manuscripts allows us - almost in a laboratory situation - to go further into the question of concurrent causes like conditions of production, methods of work, ways of transfer, organization of knowledge, devotional practice, political implications and possible change of monastic alignment.
Rostislav Tumanov: Moving Through the Space of the Book: The Copenhagen Hours (Kongelige Bibliotek Denmark, Ms Thot 541 4°) and it's Pictorial Program in the Context of Late Medieval Reading and Devotion
My PhD Thesis centres on a late medieval Book of Hours, the so called Copenhagen Hours (Kongelige Bibliotek Denmark, Ms Thot 541 4°). This French manuscript from about 1500 stands out due to its impressive illustrations. The Codex contains 8 text parts that are combined each with two diamond-shaped miniatures, altogether 16 illustrations. The miniatures are located in the centre of the page of each first and last part of the text. The pages that lie in-between the first and last pages of every text contain holes that are cut in the shape of diamonds. Through these "peep-holes" the reader is enabled to look at both illustrations at the same time. The aim of my dissertation is to investigate what effect the special layout of the Copenhagen Hours could have had on the devotional practices of it's readers. Whether it could have intensified or maybe even intentionally put into question the act of daily prayer and how it could have impacted the reader's religious knowledge. Furthermore an important part of the project is to ask whether the Copenhagen Hours evoke an idea of the codex as a virtual devotional 'space of the book' which can be entered through the process of reading traversed through the performative turning of the pages.
Rostislav Tumanov Das Kopenhagener Stundenbuch: Bildprogramm und Layout im Kontext Spätmittelalterlicher Lektüre- und Andachtspraktiken (Sensus 9). Köln usw. 2017
Jochen Hermann Vennebusch: Modi of Pictorial Narration in Early and High Medieval Gospel Books
Manuscripts of the four Gospels are widely considered to be the most important books in medieval liturgy. On the one hand a certain section from the Gospels was recited or read aloud by the priest or the deacon during Mass, and on the other hand the Gospelbook, the material object, was also venerated, accompanied by candles and incensed in order to express the divine presence in the words that contained this manuscript. In addition to the Gospels, the codeces also include a nearly standardised corpus of paratexts and elements of visual organization, such as the canon tables, an instrument for structuring the manuscript and expressing the integrity of the Corpus Evangeliarum compiled by Eusebius of Caesarea, and his explanatory letter to Carpianos, which were – as far as we know – not read during the liturgy. This project will examine how the physical characteristics of Gospel manuscripts from the late 8th until the 11th century were related to the usage of these books in liturgical reading, considering in particular the functions served by their paratexts and indices. Furthermore, as an art historian it is my special interest to have a closer look at narrative illustrations or ornamental illuminations and especially their role in organizing the text of the four Gospels and their potential relevance as a visual argument.
Wiebke Beyer: Private Archives as a Source of Literacy in the Old Assyrian Society
From the Old Assyrian period it is known that professional scribes existed. It has also been suggested that some private persons, merchants and their families, managed their own correspondence and documents. The question of literacy amongst them, however, can only be answered if individual scribes, their handwriting and thus documents written by them, can be distinguished. The aim of this PhD project is to discern scribal hands in the delimited and coherent corpus of an archive, belonging to a limited number of individuals. It will focus on detecting all forms of individual variability which are used to increase the probability of identification. Therefore, the research will start with an overall analysis of manuscripts, which includes i.a. the shape of the tablets, layout, palaeography, sign choice and spelling variants. The first part of the analysis will focus on letters which show the highest grade of individuality. Later on, the newly developed methodology will be used on other documents to prove its validity. The identification of individual scribes and documents written by them can help estimating literacy among the Old Assyrian community.
Rainer Herzog: Retrieval of Writing Patterns Based on Optical Similarity
The graduate work is about retrieval of writing patterns on historical manuscripts. These patterns could be characters, ligatures or any parts of characters or words. Retrieval means a computer-based automatic locating and collecting of occurrences within manuscripts, which are visually similar to a given pattern, interactively chosen by a user. By evaluating different methods used for general image retrieval, one aim is to adjust algorithms to optimally match the specific application conditions of comparing writing patterns. A proper representation should qualitatively describe the writing pattern to allow an adequate comparison, and should be adjustable to handle the specific characteristics of different writing systems. Finally, all methods will be integrated in an interactive workplace, which will support a broad scope of applications and writing systems investigated by the CSMC.
Hussein Adnan Mohammed: Computational Analysis of Writing Style in Digital Manuscripts
Currently: Researcher at Field A: Artefact Profiling.
Starting from the assumption that each hand or (writer) has a unique writing style, handwriting measurements will be investigated and analysed for the purpose of using style distinctiveness to recognise the scribe of a given manuscript. Standard datasets will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms to be developed. Eventually, the implemented methods will be integrated into a web based toolbox to support manuscript analysis at the CSMC. Computer vision and image processing techniques will be applied in order to extract and classify relevant visual features. An online text-independent writer identification scheme will be realised according to the requirements of CSMC subprojects and potentially of CSMC research groups.
Mohammed, Hussein. Computational analysis of writing style in digitised manuscripts. Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2018.
Gidena Mesfin Kebede: Multi-Language Use, Organizational Structure and Orality in Ethiopian Medicinal and Magical Texts
Currently: Researcher, Technische Universität Berlin
This study will focus on the patterns of multi-language use, organizational structure and orality of Ethiopian medical and magical manuscripts with the aim of exploring their textual transmission, the contribution of oral-traditional knowledge in the application and preservation of medical and magical procedures, and attempting an overall textual synthesis of the treatises. Multi-language use will be explored with the aim of synthesizing the alleged use of Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, Pseudo-Arabic and Pseudo-Hebrew and other forms with Ge‘ez (Old Ethiopic) as the main language of composition. Methods of historical linguistics will be employed to arrive at safe conclusions about the actual languages involved in the manuscripts. Moreover, the alleged language use within the manuscripts will be utilized as a key instrument to figure out the transmission history, ideological implication and cultural contact of the manuscript cultures of the actual languages involved. Secondly, organizational structure analyses will involve elements of internal textual organization, lay-out and image combination, order and pattern of repetitive elements. Eventually, the role of orality in the application of the knowledge contained in the treatises and the indicators of such oral involvment will also be discussed thoroughly. Data will be collected from private collections, churches and monasteries in Ethiopia, and from libraries and museums both in Ethiopia and abroad. The data will be analyzed using philological methods (textual-comparative method highlighting an innovative “conceptual base manuscript” approach) and where appropriate appealing to historical linguistics (sound changes, etymological connections and semantic shifts).
Kebede, Gidena Mesfin: Ethiopian Abǝnnät Manuscripts: Organizational Structure, Language Use, and Orality . Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2016.
Nafisa Valieva: Tradition and Significance of the Gädlä Lalibäla
The aim of this project is to investigate the tradition and the significance of the hagiographic celebration of King Lalibäla, as well as preparing a critical edition of the Gädlä Lalibäla (GL) ‘(Spiritual) Combat (or Vita) of Lalibäla’ and his miracles. The GL is the main source about the life and deeds of King Lalibäla. King Lalibäla is considered a saint along with other kings of the so-called Zagwe dynasty, who ruled in the twelfth-thirteenth century ce, who is given credit for the construction of the renowned rock-hewn churches in the city of Lalibäla, named after the king. The term Gädl, lit. ‘Combat’, defines a text written according to the hagiographic genre, which, with its own rules and conventions, reveals at the same time the author’s own ideas. Therefore, hagiographical texts are excellent witnesses to the history of thoughts, mentality, and practices. The only scholarly yet partial edition of this text was carried out by the French philologist Jules Perruchon in 1892. This incomplete basis has been misleading researchers. The working hypothesis is that the GL results from merging two originally independent texts – as it appears in some manuscripts – with distinctly marked ideological approaches, which were eventually transmitted as one text. Such merged redaction is already attested in the oldest known manuscript dating back to the fifteenth century. The first text, containing only the Gädl, presents us Lalibäla as a legitimate king of Ethiopia, whereas the second text, the ‘Miracles of King Gäbrä Mäsqal’ (throne name of Lalibäla) introduces him as an illegitimate ruler, not to say as an usurper. To date the writing of all these texts, to find out the aim of the writing, to reconstruct the way of their transmitting, to find their place in the liturgical practice are further challenging tasks of the research.
Pelagia Vera Loungi: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Book I): Manuscripts and Transmission
The purpose of this PhD project is to examine all Greek manuscripts which transmit the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics, the most extensive and popular treatise of Aristotle on ethics. Whereas the manuscripts of the two other ethical treatises by or ascribed to Aristotle (the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia) have been thoroughly studied, the examination of the Nicomachean Ethics’ transmission still remains a gap in the philological research. There are about 120 manuscripts of that particular moral treatise, most of which have not been taken into consideration in the recensio yet. All previous editors from the Renaissance to modern times have considered only a small number of the extant manuscripts in their reconstruction of the text. The oldest manuscript of the NE dates back to the end of the 9th cent. (Laur. Plut. 81.11) and is the oldest representative of the first most important family of manuscripts, whereas the main codex of the second family is dated to the 12th cent. (Paris. gr. 1854) However, the currently accepted arrangement of the manuscripts into groups as proposed by former researchers is likely to change, since the total amount of manuscripts will be examined in its entirety for the first time. Furthermore, the dating of some manuscripts has recently been shown to be earlier than assumed (i.e.Vind. phil. gr. 315 into the 11th-12th cent., formerly 13th cent., Laur. 81.18 and Riccard. 46 into the 12th cent., formerly 14th cent.), giving these manuscripts particular importance in the reconstruction of the text, as they are now considered to be in more relevant positions in the stemma codicum. A new evaluation of these manuscripts and, subsequently, a new examination of them together with all others in order to elucidate their precise interconnections will shed new light on the text’s transmission insofar as the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics is concerned. In addition to that, many witnesses of the indirect tradition of the text will be taken into account, because they can attest variant readings that are not to be found in the surviving manuscripts. These are the commentaries written by various scholars from the late antiquity (Aspasios, 1st cent. CE) till the Middle Ages (Eustratios, Metropolit from Nicaia), excerpts, paraphrases and the Latin translation of the late 13th cent. made by Robert Grosseteste. The study of the textual witnesses of the Nicomachean Ethics will allow to attempt a new arrangement of them into groups and the construction of a stemma codicum for the first book.
Luigi Orlandi: Writing and Philology of a Byzantine Scholar: Andronicus Callistus’ Manuscripts
Currently: Researcher Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Before: Researcher Universität Hamburg
Andronicus Callistus was a leading figure among the Byzantine emigrants who worked in the humanistic Italian circles during the second half of the fifteenth century. The studies on him begun with the pioneering work of É. Legrand (1841-1903), but more information on this scholar became available when a series of literary manuscripts (transmitting for example the poetical texts of Apollonius Rhodius, Theocritus and Pindar) had been identified as his work. Modern studies on Greek scribes of the Renaissance have brought to light the philological depth of his erudite personality, and pointed out that data taken for granted still needs to be further examined. To name one example it is often very difficult to find the antigraphs of the texts copied by Andronicus. That inevitably raises questions about the origin of the lectiones presented in the scholar’s codices; in other words, should they be considered as traditional or should they be taken as original interventions and ope ingenii corrections? His teaching methods and philological activity are the two sides of the same coin, they cannot be separated. In this context, using a synergistic approach to philological and palaeographical data, the research project I propose has two main objectives: 1. outlining and defining Andronicus’ cultural activities in the philological as well as didactic field, by examining all the manuscripts transcribed or annotated by this scholar; 2. making an inventory (with all the necessary palaeographical, historical and bibliographical notes) of all the manuscripts ascribable to Andronicus and attempting to reconstruct the history of his own library. The very remarkable manuscript collection belonging to Andronicus, as is well known, was lost in the last few years of his life. Somehow during the sixteenth century a considerable part of his collection ended up in the Estense Library of Modena, and many other European libraries are still hosting some of the disiecta membra of his manuscript collection. The new palaeographical data will enable us to give an updated outline of Andronicus’ biography. To organize all the data emerging from the three-year research project in a monographic study and to clearly prove and explain the key role Andronicus played at the critical time of the translatio of Greek literature and knowledge into the western culture, is the final objective.
Anton Sadovskyy: The Manuscript Transmission of Plato’s Laws (Book I and V)
Research on the manuscript transmission of Plato’s works is still in many respects a research desideratum. Especially the manuscripts of the Nomoi (Laws) have not yet been investigated in depth. More than 260 manuscripts of the Corpus Platonicum are preserved, 23 of which entirely or partially transmit the Nomoi. However, no collation (systematic comparison of textual transmission) has ever been carried out for some of them, and there is reason to suspect that previous published collations of a number of manuscripts are not always reliable or complete with regard to this particular work.
The aim of the present project is to deliver a detailed evaluation of the existing manuscript evidence at our disposal pertaining to the text of the Laws, as well as to elucidate this work’s textual transmission. The mutual relationships of the known manuscripts shall be investigated fully, assessing their value to the reconstitution of the text. At the same time, there will be a focus on the scribes and scholars who produced, studied, and worked on these manuscripts and generally, on the cultural environment in which the manuscripts originated and were put to use.
This project intends to make a significant contribution to solving important questions of textual criticism, the manuscript transmission and the history of Plato’s work, particularly the Laws. The approaches to be applied might further be useful in working on the manuscripts and textual criticism of other Platonic texts as well as texts of other Ancient Greek authors.
Philipp Schäfer: Editio princeps of the Commentary of George Scholarios on the Nicomachean Ethics. The Reception of Aristotle in Late Byzantium
Georgios Gennadios II Scholarios was the first patriarch after the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and is considered as the last philosopher of the Byzantine Empire. His works were published in eight volumes between 1928 and 1936; however, Scholarios’s commentary on the ten books of the Nicomachean Ethics is nowhere to be found in these volumes and, until now, has never been studied. This commentary is of interest, on the one hand, because of its late date, and, on the other, because of Scholarios’s excerpts from earlier commentators. What we encounter here is an attempt at an exegesis of Aristotle’s text, based on Scholarios’s adaptation of previous commentaries. This enables us to see how ancient Greek philosophical texts were used and interpreted in late Byzantium. The commentary was transmitted in three Byzantine manuscripts, all written in the 15th century. It is generally assumed that the Parisinus is an autograph manuscript. For all these reasons, my dissertation focuses on providing the first critical edition, together with a translation (German), of the first book (1094a1-1103a10) of this work.
Accessible as :
Schäfer, Jan Philipp. Editio princeps of the Commentary of George Scholarios on the Nicomachean Ethics The Reception of Aristotle in Late Byzantium. Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2016.
Danilo Valentino: Transmission of Medicine Tradition in Everyday Byzantine Society: The Medical Recipe Book of the ff. 121r-278v of the MS. Panor. XIII.C.3
The Greek medical recipe books are practical usage texts, which are usually collected in miscellaneous manuscripts and were widely spread during the late Byzantine era. Although these works, generally named Iatrosophia, had a practical function and offered remedies for common illnesses, their knowledge often originates from the classical medicine tradition: by analysing these texts, it is possible to readjust the relevant role of the common use of medicine in Byzantium and to offer hints to the medical habits in the context, where they come from. An interesting medical recipe book is given by the ff. 121r-278v of the Ms. Panorm. XIII.C.3. This is a XVI century manuscript, which is located in the Biblioteca regionale siciliana of Palermo and probably comes originally from Crete; the main source of the text is the Epitome de curatione morborum by Theophanes Nonnos. The goal of my research project is to edit and translate the medical recipe book of the Ms. Panorm. XIII.C.3 and to focus on its features, contents and language, with the intention of comparing this work with other samples of this medicine daily usage genre and to find occurring characteristics in them.
Till Hennings: East-Frankish Anthologies of the 9th Century: Latin Poetry at the Intersection of Cultural and Material History
Poems were passed down in the form of collections almost by default – their short nature making them “collectibles” like no other genre of medieval literature. Because of their small format they also form part of larger collections together with texts of different genres. These short pieces were also easily shared and transcribed. As such they are suitable for a study of manuscripts as collections and collections in manuscripts. The specific set of texts such as classic poems from antiquity and contemporary verse from the 9th century is exceptionally well researched in terms of editions and manuscript catalogues. By tapping into this reservoir of classical scholarship, I hope to integrate traditional methods with the new emphasis of contemporary manuscript studies.
This is especially apparent in multiple text manuscripts (MTM) with their wide variety of texts also known as “one volume library”. The combination of texts in these manuscripts is crucial to understanding them in their socio-cultural setting. For example, a text, which is part of an educational collection, must be read differently than one from an authorial collection. However, recent studies on MTMs have often been limited to the analysis of a single volume and its codicological properties, but codicological units may also obscure the relationship between the texts, especially in the case of repeated copying. Only a comparative analysis of manuscripts containing the same texts can reveal the associations of the larger textual tradition. Connections between manuscripts and their texts are also connections between people and institutions. The circulation and proliferation of a text show the inner workings of the cultural networks of the Carolingian age.
The usage of a text may be obscured as well in the context of a larger manuscript; on the other hand, a family of manuscripts of similar use can reflect the use of single texts. By establishing a typology of collections we get closer to the intended use of the texts and the role of the manuscript in the transmission of learning and literary culture.
Arne Ulrich: The Normative Manuscripts of St. Gall Monastery as Mirror of Juridical Knowledge and Practice in the Early Middle Ages
This study examines the juridical knowledge of Early Medieval monastic communities and how juridical manuscripts were used, chosen, copied, exchanged and preserved. The St. Gall Monastery (founded in 719 by its first abbot Othmar) was far away from the Carolingian court and until the reign of Louis the Pious (c. 820) not well-disposed towards the Franks, but bound to the Alemanni, to whom it owes many of its possessions. It later became an influential Imperial abbey with a magnificent Monastery school. Thanks to lucky circumstances most of its former library survived in the “St. Galler Stiftsbibliothek” and predestines itself for this study. The former library contains 471 codices (among them lots of juridical texts, which have already been identified as utilitarian manuscripts) from the 5th to 12th century more than 280 of them originating in the 9th century and written at the St. Gall Monastery. The “St. Galler Stiftsarchiv” holds more than 800 documents from the time between 731 and 1050. This rich lore is in comparison to the other great monasteries of its time, with which St. Gall was in contact, inimitable. I regard the manuscripts not only as simple writing material, containing laws and norms, but will examine them on several levels (i.e. the variety of normative texts, their visual organization, the division of chapters, etc.) to see how juridical knowledge was absorbed, understood and used. The main emphasis will be placed on the question how the manuscripts were designed with regard to the potential user and which actual knowledge – representative for other communities – can be assumed.
Jung Lan Bang: A Study of the Tradition of 11th Century Śaiva Sanskrit Manuscripts in Nepal Based on the Tantrasadbhāva
Nepal is the most noteworthy area in the world where Hinduism and Buddhism coexist, and have done so throughout the region's recorded history. The tradition of Sanskrit manuscripts in Nepal is the most attractive and valuable source in order to approach the interrelationship between Hindu Śaivism and Buddhist Tantrism. My main field of research is tantric manuscripts with an emphasis on the early Śaiva Trika system as it survives in Sanskrit texts from the 8th–11th centuries. My proposed Ph.D. project is to research manuscripts of Hindu Tantra text, especially the Tantrasadbhāva, “The Essence of Tantra”. This text comes to us in four manuscripts, all of which were microfilmed by the NGMPP (Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project). By studying the manuscripts of the Tantrasadbhāva in contrast to relevant Buddhist tantric texts and recensions of earlier and later Śaiva tantras, my research intends to highlight and identify those aspects of manuscript culture, which were unique to the Nepalese environment around 11th century.
Bidur Bhattarai: Dividing Texts: Conventions of Visual Text-organization in North Indian and Nepalese Manuscripts up to ca. CE 1350
Currently: Researcher and Coordinator of the project “Safeguarding the Manuscripts of Nepal”
This project studies the ways in which scribes of Sanskrit manuscripts visually demarcate a text from paratexts (such as introductory matter, or concluding colophons) or from other texts (such as texts preceding and/or following in a multiple-text manuscript, or from a commentary or commentaries transmitted together with a text). Such demarcation may involve the use of space(s), variation in the size and/or the style of writing, symbols, colours (rubrication), or a combination of these. In the course of this study 40 different Sanskrit manuscripts from North India and Nepal, written on birch-bark or palm leaves until ca. CE 1350 will be analysed. Particular attention will be paid to what the study of such scribal practices reveals about how textual knowledge is organized and structured (on several levels, including those of the division of individual texts and of chapters within texts), made use of, and how it is conceived. In addition, the study aims to contribute to a broader understanding of such scribal practices in manuscript cultures, as well as to the working out of a more precise, non culture-specific, terminology for their description.
Bhattarai, Bidur. Dividing Texts. Conventions of Visual Text-Organization in North Indian and Nepalese Manuscripts up to ca. CE 1300. (Studies in Manuscript Cultures 10) Berlin 2019.
Andrey Klebanov: The Commentaries on Kāvya: Texts Composed while Copying. A Critical Study of the Manuscripts of Selected Commentaries on the Kirātārjunīya, an Epic Poem in Sanskrit
My research focuses on the manuscript transmission of the commentaries on classical Indian belletristic literature (so called kāvya). As the basis for my investigation I use a hypothesis, which was put forward by several scientific publications dealing with literary and textual studies of concerned texts. This theory proposes (1) a continuous alteration of the commentaries on kāvya in the course of time as well as (2) a typology of the most common alterations. My research project is aimed at examining this hypothesis from the point of manuscript studies and raises a set of basic questions, such as by whom, how, why, under which circumstances, under the influence of which local or intellectual traditions etc. such changes in the manuscripts were undertaken. I shall limit my survey to the study of the manuscripts of three unpublished commentaries on a poetical work in Sanskrit, the Kirātārjunīya. One of these commentaries is transmitted primarily in South Indian, the other in North Indian and the third one in Nepalese manuscripts.
Klebanov, Andrey. Texts composed while copying : A Critical Study of the Manuscripts of Selected Commentaries on the Kirātārjunīya, an Epic Poem in Sanskrit. Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2017.
Julian Schott: Kāṇhapādasya Dohākoṣaḥ: Buddhist Tantric Poetry
The project focuses on a rare and special poetic genre – Dohā – dating back to the later phase of tantric Buddhist development and which in particular had a great influence on the two Tibetan genres Glu and mGur. Dohās are characterized by an interrelation of form and content in which its language Apabhraṃśa – peppered with puns, phonetic plays and metaphors – plays a key role. How those elements are related to and constituted through script and language and how this relation is displayed in the manuscripts will be exemplarily investigated on by menas of a set of verses (and their commentaries) attributed to Kāṇhapāda, also called Kṛṣṇavajrapāda, a very important, but rarely studied tantric master. The basis for such investigation is the text-critical and philological study of two northeast Indian manuscripts, written in a script close to Bengali, and the various Tibetan translations. Since one main goal of the project – besides making the work and its commentaries accessible to Buddhist studies scholars – is to examine the relation of orality and literarity, it is a matter of particular interest to analyse the Tibetan way of dealing with its Sanskrit counterparts.
Judith Unterdörfler: Expressing Devotionalism while Copying Texts – A Critical Study of Selected Medieval Sanskrit Manuscripts
This research project pursues the question in which particular manners the scribes of medieval India expressed their individual devotional involvement while producing manuscripts. My initial investigation of the Vaiṣṇava Sanskrit poem Govindavilāsamahākāvya has already shown that the significant differences in both examined manuscripts can be interpreted on the basis of the distinct devotional techniques of their scribes. To investigate such expressions of devotionalism, all known manuscripts of this particular text will be examined, with selected sections being critically edited and annotated. The project will focus on a comparative analysis of these manuscripts and another group of manuscripts of the Vaiṣṇava poems Harivilāsa and Gītagovinda, originating from the same time period and geographic location. The study will take into consideration 1) the level of the text itself (omission or addition of text parts, number of mistakes, (deliberate) duplication of particular words/names etc.), 2) the paratextual level (entrance vers(es), colophons, information in margina such as comments, revisions, style of numbering verses/pages etc.) and 3) the visual organization (e.g. particular aesthetic designing such as ornamentation, rubrication etc.) of the manuscripts. On the basis of these exemplary manuscripts of 16th century Rājasthān, this research project will for the first time establish a typology which specifies and categorizes the various ways in which scribes expressed their individual devotionalism while copying texts.
Berenice Möller: Utai'ehon: Nô-theatre as Text and Image
This PhD project focuses on the so-called utai’ehon, illuminated manuscripts dated c. 1600 containing the texts of works of the Japanese Nô-theatre. The manuscripts come in two different shapes: bound books or handscrolls. They combine not only different media like text and image, but also reflect the influence of theatre performances and different contemporary types of books. They reflect many developments in the artistic field as witnesses of the manuscript culture of Japan around 1600, a time of grave social and political changes. They bear testimony to new means of expressions, the beginnings of commercial book-production and the incipient application of block-print-techniques to secular literature among other things. Since manuscripts at that time were only produced for individuals, clearly defined groups or a narrow market, the strategies of handling different media in the transition from the medieval period to the early modern era in utai’ehon can shed new light on the preoccupations of their likely recipients: urban citizens. The project aims at reconstructing the contexts of the creation and reception for the “under-researched” manuscripts. In doing this, they can be placed in the larger picture of a historical context. Since it is evident from the script and illustrations that they were not used by actors and not only for rehearsing in a private sphere either, the leading questions are: for whom and for which purpose were these books? A crucial key to these questions lies in the materiality of the manuscripts. The interplay and style of writing and painting and the medial realisation as handscroll or bound book for example hint on the contexts in many ways. The understanding of utai’ehon is relevant for Japanese studies because it makes new material accessible and contextualises it. On the one hand it contributes to exploring the cultural distractions and conceptions of the urban citizens in a tumultuous time, and on the other hand to the history of the book in Japan and the reception of Nô-theatre in media different from performances. In a more interdisciplinary perspective it might add to methodological frameworks for other text-image-relationships.
Medieval German Literature
Marco Heiles: Multiple-text-manuscripts in Medieval German Scientific Literature. Studied on the Example of Geomantic Manuscripts of the late 15th Century
Currently: Researcher, RWTH Aachen
Before: Researcher, Universität Düsseldorf
The German Altgermanistik has always been working with a very broad concept of literature, including not only literary, i.e. fictional and / or poetic texts, but also theological, philosophical and scientific texts. Although most of the medieval texts we have are non-literary texts, they have never been in the main focus of scientific research and editing. Indeed most of these texts are still unknown today. This is caused mainly in the form of the texts and the medium in which they have been written in: Most non-literary medieval texts are written in multiple-text-manuscripts. Usually these texts have no known author, their text is not stable and it is very difficult to determine clear text borders within one single manuscript. So these texts cannot be understood or classified through classical idealistic concepts like work or author. The aim of my exemplary research on a small group of geomantic manuscripts of the late 15th century is to understand the German medieval multiple-text-manuscript as a medium of its own. I focus on the following questions: What was the function of these manuscripts? How are they structured (materially, logically)? What types of layout and paratexts are used? And how can we define clear text borders? My corpus includes until now six manuscripts: Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, cpg 584; Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, cpg 844; München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, cgm 596; München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, cgm 987; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Broxbourne 84.3 and Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 5327.
Heiles, Marco: Das Losbuch: Manuskriptologie einer Textsorte des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts (Archiv für Kulturgeschichte. Beihefte 83) Köln, Weimar und Wien 2018
Andreas Janke: The End of a Music-Manuscriptculture in Early Italy: Organisation of Knowledge in the Palimpsest San Lorenzo 2211
Currently: Researcher, Universität Hamburg, SFB 950
The project focuses on the still unknown early fifteenth-century repertory of three composers closely associated with the florentine cathedral, namely Giovanni and Piero Mazzuoli and Ugolino of Orvieto. Their secular compositions are found in the palimpsest Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, San Lorenzo Archivo Capitolare 2211, which seems to be the last copy of a specific music-manuscript culture in late medieval Italy. The compositions will be analysed and contextualised for the first time. Furthermore, the palimpsest will be considered not only as the source for the music, but also as a document within the trecento manuscript culture, and will be compared with the so-called “international” music manuscripts. Working on the palimpsest includes recovering lost writing and focusing equally on palaeographical and philological features. All three composers are key elements in understanding the musical manuscript cultures in use at the beginning of the fifteenth century.
Andreas Janke: Die Kompositionen von Giovanni Mazzuoli, Piero Mazzuoli und Ugolino da Orvieto im San Lorenz Palimpsest (ASL 2211) (Musica mensurabilis 7). Hildesheim 2016.
Eva Maschke: Organum and Conductus Fragments Re-examined: Case Studies for a New Approach to the Notre-Dame Repertoire
Currently: Researcher, Universität Heidelberg, SFB 933
Before: Research Fellow, Universität Hamburg
The dissertation aims at providing a new approach to the organum and conductus repertoire associated with Notre-Dame of Paris, one of the most famous repertoires of music history. The thesis follows two main aims: firstly, a new view of the sources that looks into the realm of manuscript cultures rather than into outdated conceptions of the composer and the artwork and secondly, case studies on individual pieces or groups of pieces in order to explore a variety of methodological approaches towards this well-known repertoire. An updated survey of the sources since Ludwig’s Repertorium (1910) seems necessary, as until recently, new fragmentary sources have been found. The large amount of fragmentary sources as well as entries in historical library catalogues that mention sources now lost point to a much larger amount of manuscript dissemination than the three main sources may suggest. The fragmentary sources will be the main sample of the thesis. Questions of provenance and context will be discussed and the attempt will be made to draw unknown connections between sources and institutions. However, open questions of the reputedly well-known main sources F, W1 and W2 will also be taken as a point of comparison. Case studies on individual pieces or groups of pieces will then consider aspects of style and transmission, including questions of mentalities, manuscript culture and material culture.
Maschke, Eva M.: Notre Dame Manuscripts and Their History: Case Studies on Reception and Reuse. Diss. Univ. Hamburg / Univ. of Southampton 2015.
Max Jakob Fölster: The Imperial Collection of the Former Han and the Origins of Philology in China: A Study of the Bielu, Qilüe and Hanshu Yiwenzhi
Currently: Researcher, Max Weber Stiftung
The imperial library of the Former Han dynasty (206 BCE–9 CE) is the first collection about there is substantial information in form of a catalog. This is the Yiwenzhi chapter of the Hanshu, the dynastic history compiled by Ban Gu (32–92). As is well known this catalog goes back to two earlier sources, the Bielu and the Qilüe, which originate from the collation project started in 26 BCE. This grand project was not only about making an inventory, but also encompassed producing editions of the different texts. In the beginning the project was headed by Liu Xiang (79–8 BCE), who wrote editorial reports on each of the edited texts, all of these reports are believed to have been brought together in the Bielu. After Liu Xiang’s death the work was continued by his son Liu Xin (ca. 50 BCE–23 CE), who summarized the reports in the Qilüe, which Ban Gu indicates as his direct source. The Bielu and the Qilüe have only come down to us in fragments. The present work brings together all extant fragments as well as the Yiwenzhi in translation for the first time.
The first part investigates in which relation the three sources stand to each other precisely. On the one hand, it can be shown that the Bielu only came into being after the Qilüe. On the other hand, it becomes clear that the marked changes found in the Yiwenzhi, which traditionally are attributed to Ban Gu, go back to Liu Xin. The latter had continued the collation project under the reign of Wang Mang and produced a revision of or sequel to the previously finished Qilüe.
Ban Gu does not mention this deliberately because he denies Wang Mang any legitimacy and makes him responsible for the fall of the Former Han-dynasty. The second part is devoted to the history of the imperial collection. There are good reasons to assume that the assembling of manuscripts only began under emperor Wu (r. 141–87 BCE) and that there existed various collections at different places within the palace. The collation project led to the production of new manuscripts and thus created a new collection, which is what the Yiwenzhi describes. It is evident that administrative documents and judicial texts were not part of the collection, these were rather stored in special archives. The initial motivation behind the collation project cannot be reconstructed entirely, but, Liu Xiang, in any case, used his editorial reports as a means to try exerting influence on the emperor.
The third part is on the philological methods developed by Liu Xiang to make editions of the text. Despite the innovative nature of the methods it is clear that Liu Xiang resorted to procedures in the production of documents and copying of texts that had been employed in the bureaucracy before. At the same time, different types of editions have to be distinguished. In some cases these are compilations of texts by Liu Xiang; others are editions on the basis of a body of texts attributed to a certain author, which before had been circulating individually; finally there were already stable editions, which probably did not need much editing. Without a doubt, Liu Xiang’s editorial work had a significant influence on all received texts as we know them today.
Fölster, Max Jakob. The Imperial Collection of the Former Han and the Origins of Philology in China. A Study of Bielu, Qilüe and Hanshu Yiwenzhi. Hamburg 2016.
Jingrong Li: Penal Law in Qin and Han According to the Corpora of Shuihudi, Zhangjiashan and Yuelu Academy
Currently: Assistant Professor, Hunan University in Changsha (China)
It remains a question whether the Qin had ever a concept and a definition of penal law, or classifications of different laws. So a proper definition of penal law is very central for my research. The corpora are all excavated manuscripts; I cannot avoid discussing the archeological evidence, materiality, because only in this way I will have a better understanding of their nature and function. Through research of the material evidence and context, I try to reconstruct some characteristics of penal law in Qin and Han. The excavation locations of Ernianlüling and Falü dawen are both in Hubei Province, near to the capital of the pre-imperial state of Chu 楚. The provenance of the Qin bamboo manuscript in the possession of Yuelu Academy is not clear. So I would discuss whether characteristic of penal law which can be found in these three corpora are national or only regional.
Li, Jingrong: The Ernian lü ling Manuscript. Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2014.
Leif Luckmann: Aspects of the Economic Order During the Qin and Han Dynasties. An Analysis of Economic Legal Texts Found among the Manuscripts of Shuihudi, Zhangjiashan and the Yuelu Academy
Until the 1970s, historians had to laboriously gather knowledge about the officials on the lower administrative levels and their education in early imperial China from historical works and commentaries. The nature of this work took a decisive turn with the discovery of two tomb manuscripts containing educational texts that can be dated to the end of the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BCE) respectively the Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BCE): The first manuscript is known as *Wei li zhi dao (“The Way of an Official”), belonging to the manuscript collection of Shuihudi (discovered in 1975), and the second one is called Wei li zhi guan ji qianshou (“How to be an Official, and how to govern the office and the common people”), being part of the Yuelu Academy Qin manuscripts (purchased in 2007). Both manuscripts share similarities in content and layout. The objective of this PhD thesis is to determine nature and function of the two manuscripts as well as to contribute to the improvement of knowledge about the source material. In doing so, the thesis will analyze the manuscripts’ textual, codicological and paleographical features, and compare them systematically. Who were the authors/compilers of the manuscripts’ texts? Which textual units refer to passages from the transmitted literature? What were the criterial for the selection of the textual unit? Is there a pattern in their sequence? In addition, it is also necessary to analyze the two statutes of the Wei kingdom that can be found at the end of the *Wei li zhi dao, especially with regard to their structure, function and position in the manuscript.
Luckmann, Leif Thomas. Lehrtexte für den Beamten. Eine Studie zu zwei Grabmanuskripten aus der Qin-Zeit. Hamburg 2017.
Thies Staack: Reconstructing Early Chinese Bamboo Manuscripts: Towards a Systematic Approach Including Verso Analysis
Currently: Researcher in Research Field D “Formatting Contents” at Understanding Written Artefacts
Before: Researcher, Universität Heidelberg, SFB 933
For scholars studying bamboo and wood manuscripts from pre-imperial and early imperial China reconstruction is very basic work. This is due to the fact that these manuscripts usually do not come to us in a complete state, but as disordered collections of individual slips. In almost every case the binding strings that once held together several slips to form complete codicological units do either not exist anymore or only remain as traces on individual slips. With regard to the state of the art in the field of manuscript reconstruction, there are mainly three aspects that deserve further attention. First, even in China there are only few works that try to deal with manuscript reconstruction in a comprehensive or even systematic way. Typically discussion is confined to the special circumstances of a concrete case, either a certain manuscript or a certain corpus of manuscripts. Second, there are particular problems with regard to manuscript reconstruction, which can usually not be satisfactorily solved. They often boil down to the core problem of distinguishing manuscripts that comprise several self-contained textual units—these may be multiple-text manuscripts (MTM) or composite manuscripts —from separate manuscripts with one self-contained textual unit in each (single-text manuscript, STM). Even if the possibility of a multiple-text or composite manuscript is considered, the question of the arrangement of self-contained textual units inside such a manuscript is equally difficult to solve. Third, new manuscript publications since late 2010 have enabled an analysis of the verso of the slips for a considerable amount of bamboo manuscripts. As it turned out, the slips’ verso often contain information that is extremely valuable for the purpose of reconstruction. Especially the so-called verso lines have become a focus of interest during the last few years, because there appears to be a relation between the verso lines and the original sequence of the slips in a manuscript. However, this relation has turned out to be rather complex and calls for further clarification. A second phenomenon that sometimes occurs on the verso of the slips, namely mirror-inverted imprints of writing, has not yet received the attention it actually deserves. Although it has been shown years ago that an analysis of such imprints can provide evidence for manuscript reconstruction, they have thenceforth rarely been used for that purpose.
The dissertation hopes to fill the mentioned gaps in research and is mainly devoted to two aims. The first is to clarify and illustrate that an analysis of the verso of the slips can be the key to solving remaining problems (e.g. with regard to multiple-text and composite manuscripts) and how exactly the two phenomena verso lines and verso imprints of writing can be utilized for the purpose of manuscript reconstruction; the second is to systematically approach the reconstruction of early Chinese bamboo manuscripts and develop both a comprehensive catalogue of criteria as well as guidelines for reconstruction, which take into account possible evidence from the verso of the slips. Although this dissertation is largely confined to the investigation of bamboo manuscripts, some of the findings are equally relevant to the reconstruction of wood manuscripts.
Staack, Thies. Reconstructing Early Chinese Bamboo Manuscripts. Towards a Systematic Approach Including Verso Analysis. Diss. Univ. Hamburg 2015.
Bin Wang: Tomb Manuscript Collections in Ancient China (3rd – 1st cent. BCE): Organization, Function and Status
Numerous archaeological discoveries of ancient tombs containing manuscripts in mainland China since the 1970s made it possible for the first time to investigate systematically tomb manuscript collections from the last centuries before the Common Era. In the past decades, scientific research on excavated manuscripts showed great progress, especially in the palaeographical and linguistic fields. However, dealing with tomb manuscript collections raises fundamental questions as to the organization, function and status of the collections which still remain unresolved. How were the collections organized physically and thematically for tombs, and is it possible to classify excavated manuscripts following a comparison with transmitted sources? What is the real function of manuscript collections contained in tombs, and how is the function influenced by cultural background such as views of the afterlife, funerary rites and practices as well as social and political circumstances? Which status did the tomb manuscript collections have and what is the relationship between manuscript collection and tomb owner? Based on these questions the study will focus on investigating several significant collections as case studies and aims at drawing general conclusions regarding the organization of tomb manuscript collections in ancient China.
Jonas Buchholz: Tiṇaimālai Nūṟṟaimpatu: Text and Tradition
Currently: Researcher, NETamil
As part of the project ‘Going from Hand to Hand: Networks of Intellectual Exchange in the Tamil Learned Traditions’ (NETamil), my PhD project deals with the Tiṇaimālai Nūṟṟaimpatu (TN), a poetical work of late-classical Tamil literature probably composed around the middle of the 1st millennium. While trying to investigate the ways in which the TN has been transmitted, my project involves manuscriptological methods. In the case of the Tamil tradition, we are faced with the unique situation that, while the texts date back up to almost two millennia, due to the climatic conditions in South India, the manuscripts at our disposal have an age of approximately 300 years at most. One goal of the project is to preserve the surviving primary witnesses and make them available through means of digitisation, cataloguing, and text-critical analysis. We have seven TN manuscripts (four on palm-leaf and three on paper) to date and hope that field-trips will yield further material. The other important goal is to find out what the manuscripts tell us about the way the texts were handed on. This involves a study of the paratextual material found in the manuscripts—commentaries, glosses, colophons, etc. An investigation of this material will help us to understand the dynamics of the intellectual tradition through which the TN was transmitted.
Silpsupa Jaengsawang: Relationship between Anisong Manuscripts and Rituals: A Comparative Study of the Lan Na and Lao Traditions
The research aims at studying Anisong manuscripts in Northern Thailand and Laos and is associated with the research project (A08 sub-project) which aims at analyzing a corpus of Buddhist anisong homiletic texts. Most anisong manuscripts contain rather short texts with less than 10 folios; some bundles are multiple-text manuscripts which contain more than one text. The main corpus of 287 manuscripts to be studied is from Luang Prabang, the ancient royal capital of Laos and centre of Lao Buddhism where the practice of anisong is still alive. This corpus, which for a greater part is accurately dated, will be compared with a microfilmed collection of almost 300 anisong manuscripts from northern Thailand and with another collection of about 40 Tai Lü manuscripts from northern Laos and the Chinese province of Yunnan.
Anisong (Pali: ānisaṃsa) is a specific genre of homiletic texts related to the perfection of gift-giving (dāna). It explains specific benefits or advantages (anisong) gained from various kinds of merit-making; a believer may expect from a particular religious deed. Because they deal with and acts as an incentive for offerings made to monasteries and the community of monks (sangha), they serve an important function in the social and economic relationship between laity and Sangha. On the basis of numerous dated copies available, anisong manuscripts may also be seen as a testimony of customs and practices of local Buddhism over at least three centuries until now.
As the textual structure, the text in general begins with some meritorious acts done by somebody. An arahat disciple of the Buddha or a famous figure in the Buddha period always asks the Buddha about consequential benefits derived from the meritorious act; the Buddha then explains them in details. Such anisong texts were inscribed or written on different writing supports such as palm-leaf and mulberry paper. Anisong manuscripts can be categorized as follows based on the preaching on different rituals: specific occasions, rites of passage, gift-giving ceremony, and non-specific rituals. The main purpose of anisong manuscripts is to be a medium of sermons. Anisong manuscripts are not only containers of texts but objects of important functions in ritual practices. Rituals are therefore regarded as being inseparably connected with anisong manuscripts.
All described above are preliminary observation and survey on anisong manuscripts found in Lan Na and Laos with considerations toward rituals. This corpus of manuscripts provides significant clues about rituals on one hand and gives considerable meanings to rituals on the other hand; they reveal both vernacular cultural aspects and cross-cultural aspects. Traditions of anisong preaching have predominantly occurred in Lan Na and Laos; however, similarities and differences between the anisong manuscripts of two regions are explicitly found in the initial stage of the research. Anisong manuscripts of Lan Na and Laos definitely suggest significant aspects which worth being comparatively studied to reach more conclusions on cultural details.
Peera Panarut: Ayutthaya Literature in the Hands of Bangkok Scribes and Scholars: Scribal Paratexts and Transmission History of Ayutthaya Literature in Bangkok Period
The literature of the Ayutthaya Period (1351–1767), though long perceived as the classical, and even national, literature of Thailand, has rarely survived as original manuscripts. Due to the destruction of the former Siamese capital in 1767, most manuscripts from that classical period got lost. Nevertheless, in the subsequent Bangkok period (since 1782) royal scribes, scholars, and intellectual monks searched for surviving manuscripts to compile and restore the corpus of Ayutthaya literature. However, the role of these scribes and scholars in this complex process has never been thoroughly studied, and our knowledge of manuscripts in the history of transmission of Ayutthaya literature remains unclear. Therefore, this study focuses mainly on the scribal paratexts, such as prefaces, colophons and annotations, from the extant manuscripts of Ayutthaya literature in order to explore in detail the roles which the scribes and scholars of the Bangkok period played in the transmission history of Ayutthaya literature.
Apiradee Techasiriwan: An Analysis of Colophons and Prefaces in Tai Lü Manuscripts
Currently: Researcher at the Archive of Lān Nā Inscriptions, Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
This research focuses mainly on the study of the colophons and prefaces in Tai Lü mulberry paper manuscripts from Sipsòng Panna in the People’s Republic of China and Müang Sing in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. These two kinds of paratexts can show information on history of the manuscripts. Thus I interested in specific study colophons and prefaces in the two corpora of mulberry paper manuscripts from the countries where the original homeland of Tai Lü is situated. For the purposes of this research are to study the form of colophons and prefaces in Tai Lü manuscripts, the purpose of the scribe (author or copiest) to written colophons and prefaces in Tai Lü manuscripts, the difference of colophons and prefaces which appear in religious texts on the one side and in secular texts on the other side. I am most interested to analyse how the Tai Lü way of life, state of society, belief system and cultural background is reflected colophons and prefaces of Tai Lü manuscripts. Moreover, in a preliminary study, I found some colophons in religious Tai Lü manuscripts that are similar to inscriptions on the pedestal of Buddha images in Müang Sing. It will be interesting to make a comparative study of colophons in Tai Lü manuscripts and those inscriptions on the pedestal of Buddha images. The results of this research might hopefully contribute to understanding the importance of the manuscripts with the Tai Lü society which make for the revival of Tai Lü manuscript culture in the present time after the most of Tai Lü manuscripts were destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.