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Prods Oktor Skjærvø

Khotanese manuscripts from Chinese Turkestan in the British Library: A complete catalogue with texts and translations. With contributions by Ursula Sims-Williams (Corpus inscriptionum Iranicarum, pt. 2: Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian periods and of Eastern Iran and Central Asia, vol. 5: Saka, Texts 6). London, The British Library, 2002 (corrected repr., 2003), lxxviii, 609 pp., 8 pls.

Compte-rendu réalisé par Mauro Maggi

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Index de mots-clés :

manuscrit, manuscrits khotanèses

Index by keyword :

manuscripts, Khotanese manuscripts
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Texte intégral

1This catalogue enables scholars to gain access safely to the London Khotanese materials, both published and unpublished, thus fulfilling a long-felt need. It is preceded by an introduction dealing with the Khotanese collections of the British Library, the history of Khotan and the Khotanese manuscripts described, their language, script, chronology and terminology. A bibliography and biographical notes on persons involved in the study of the collections are also included. For each item (manuscript or fragment) the following information is provided: new shelf number, original signatures commonly used by Iranists, references to previous publications (not always complete), title or type of text. The catalogue offers re-editions and new translations of most of the texts already edited as well as an edition and translation of many previously unpublished fragments. Concordances of signatures and shelf numbers, of numbers in H. W. Bailey’s Khotanese texts and Khotanese Buddhist texts and shelf numbers, of photo publications and shelf numbers, and a subject index complete the volume. The main changes in the corrected reprint are listed on p. x. Among the unpublished texts the substantial fragments of the Śūraṅgamasamādhisūtra may be mentioned. The new transcriptions of many fragments improve greatly on previous ones and allow a better comprehension of the texts. E.g., in f. 150 of the main manuscript of the Book of Zambasta Skjærvø reads Z 1.80 haṃtsa hīñe jsa pva’[ (Or 9614.4 r2, p. 79) instead of E. Leumann’s and R. E. Emmerick’s haṃtsa hīñe jsa tva’[. The new reading can easily be supplemented as haṃtsa hīñe jsa pva’[stä] ‘together with his army he feared’, a reference to Māra and his demons taking flight at the Buddha’s awakening. Although the quality of transcriptions and translations varies, as is admitted by Skjærvø, and the often innovative and enlightening translations are at times quite tentative, the work marks a great step forward in the research on Khotanese. If the transcriptions contained in Bailey’s editions provided a rough guide for reading the manuscripts, now Skjærvø’s translations provide a first orientation with regard to their contents. Unfortunately, the editions of some texts tacitly accept emendations already proposed by Bailey without signaling that the manuscript reading is different. This depends on the fact that at least some texts essentially reproduce a philologically unsatisfying electronic text resulting from the input directed by Emmerick in the 1960’s and a revision by H. Kumamoto in the early 1990’s (available in TITUS, the Thesaurus indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien of Frankfurt University: http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de). A few annotations: H. 143a NS 99 (IOL Khot 161/4) probably belongs in the lacuna of Zambasta 24.126-161; Khot (IO) 9 (IOL Khot 174/10) is the last folio of a manuscript of the Aparimitāyuḥsūtra; the manuscripts Godfrey 2 and 3 are not in the “Musée Guimet, Paris”, but in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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Mauro Maggi. Prods Oktor Skjærvø, « Khotanese manuscripts from Chinese Turkestan in the British Library: A complete catalogue with texts and translations. With contributions by Ursula Sims-Williams (Corpus inscriptionum Iranicarum, pt. 2: Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian periods and of Eastern Iran and Central Asia, vol. 5: Saka, Texts 6). London, The British Library, 2002 (corrected repr., 2003), lxxviii, 609 pp., 8 pls. », Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 26 | 2005, document 28, mis en ligne le 08 décembre 2005, consulté le 17 octobre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abstractairanica/3568

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