Friday, December 16, 2011
This new book by IDP's Sam van Schaik and Imre Galambos is based on a Dunhuang manuscript which was carried by a Chinese monk through the monasteries of the Hexi corridor, as part of his pilgrimage from Wutaishan to India. The manuscript is a composite object from three separate documents, with Chinese and Tibetan texts on them. The most important part is a series of Tibetan letters of introduction addressed to the heads of monasteries along the route, functioning as a kind of passport for the pilgrim. The manuscript dates to the late 960s, coinciding with the large pilgrimage movement during the reign of Emperor Taizu of the Northern Song. Therefore, it is very likely that this is a unique contemporary testimony of the movement. Complementing extant historical sources, the manuscript provides evidence for the high degree of ethnic, cultural and linguistic interaction between Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists in the tenth century. Available from the publisher's website.