Friday, October 28, 2011

IDP Report: July–September 2011

Download this report as a PDF (250KB).


  • IDP photographer Rachel Roberts is currently digitising photographs from Aurel Stein’s fourth expedition to Dunhuang as well as continuing work on Dunhuang manuscripts.
  • Data on archaeological sites is currently being updated following an enhancement of the database. Miran, Endere and Kharakhoto are near completion.


  • 2–13 July: Susan Whitfield visited Afghanistan with John Falconer for meetings at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Kabul University, the National Archives and the National Museum, to discuss the development of an updated guide to resources on Afghanistan in the British Library. They continued to Delhi where they interviewed interns for the IDP/British Museum Stein artefacts project, and held continued discussions with the National Museum and the Ministry of Culture about collaboration on Central Asian material.
  • 2 September: A new scholarly resource for manuscript studies was launched on the IDP website, providing an introduction to the script types found in the Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang. This was achieved as part of as part of IDP’s Leverhulme palaeography project (2008 to 2011).
  • 26 September: Hu Wanglin arrived for a six-month internship as part of IDP’s collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China. Funding has again been provided by the British Museum’s World Collections Programme.
  • The BL received a donation of 1940s photographs of Dunhuang taken by John B. Vincent, scheduled for cataloguing and digitisation.


  • 14 July: Dr Sarah Kenderdine from the Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualization and Embodiment (ALiVE) at the City University of Hong Kong visited to discuss immersive technologies.
  • 14 July: Three researchers from LIRIS (Informatics Laboratory for Imaging and Information Systems, based in Lyon, France) visited to discuss automated character recognition systems.
  • Rebbekah Abraham and Tony Morris from Historypin visited to discuss adding historical and modern photographs to the Historypin website.
  • 5–8 September: Dr Helman-Wazny from Hamburg’s Institute of Sinology made a follow-up visit relating to her earlier paper analysis work (IDP quarterly report for April to June 2011).
  • 7 September: The BL’s Head of Architecture and Development, Sean Martin, visited the IDP studio with members of his team to see digitisation work in progress.
  • 7 September: Benjamin Albritton of Stanford University Libraries and Dr Robert Sanderson of Los Alamos National Laboratory, both working on the Shared Canvas Project visited IDP to discuss user annotation of manuscripts, after their presentation to BL staff on Shared Canvas: Interoperable Medieval Manuscript Facsimiles.
  • 12 September: Professor Ishizuka Harumichi and Professor Ikeda Shoju, from Hokkaido University, Japan, visited IDP and consulted Dunhuang manuscripts in the Asian and African Studies reading room.
  • 11–19th September: Vic Swift accompanied the BL’s visual arts lead curator John Falconer to Sri Lanka, to assist in the installation of his exhibition A Return to Sri Lanka: Images of Sri Lanka from British Collections 1640–1900, for which she designed the exhibition graphics panels.


  • 9–10 September: Sam van Schaik gave a paper at a SOAS conference entitled Bon, Shangshung and Early Tibet.
  • 11 September: Abby Baker spoke about IDP to students attending BL Learning Department workshops.
  • 21 September: Susan Whitfield spoke about IDP to members of the Buddhist Society, London.
  • 15–16 October: Imre Galambos gave a talk entitled ‘Medieval Chinese Manuscripts with Multiple Dates’ at The Rise of Writing in Early China conference in Chicago.


  • IDP News 36-37, Winter / Spring 2010–2011.
  • Imre Galambos, ‘The Tangut Translation of the General’s Garden by Zhuge Liang’, in Pis’mennyje Pamjatniki Vostoka, St. Petersburg, Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, 2011.
  • Imre Galambos, ‘The Northern Neighbours of the Tangut’, in Cahiers de Linguistique – Asie Orientale 40 (2011): 69-104.
  • Imre Galambos, ‘Touched a Nation’s Heart: Sir E. Denison Ross and Alexander Csoma de Kőrös’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 21.3 (2011): 361-375.


  • Manuscripts and Travellers: The Sino-Tibetan Documents of a Tenth-Century Buddhist Pilgrim by Sam van Schaik and Imre Galambos is due for publication by de Gruyter in November.
  • Imre Galambos: ‘Punctuation marks in medieval Chinese manuscripts’, in Sobisch and Quenzer (eds.), Manuscript Cultures: Mapping the Field, Berlin and New York, de Gruyter.
  • Imre Galambos: ‘Correction marks in the Dunhuang manuscripts’, in Imre Galambos (ed.) Chinese manuscripts: Copies and Originals, Budapest, ELTE University.
  • Imre Galambos: ‘Popular character forms (suzi) and semantic compound (huiyi) characters in medieval Chinese manuscripts’, Journal of the American Oriental Society.
  • Imre Galambos: ‘Japanese exploration of Central Asia: The Ōtani expeditions and their British connections’, Bulletin of SOAS.
  • Sam van Schaik: ‘Towards a Tibetan Paleography: A Preliminary Typology of Writing Styles in Early Tibet.’ Manuscript Cultures: Mapping the Field, edited by Jörg Quenzer and Jan-Ulrich Sobisch. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Sam van Schaik: ‘The Origin of the Headless Style (dbu med) in Tibet.’ Tibeto-Burman Linguistics, edited by Nathan Hill. Leiden: EJ Brill.
  • Sam van Schaik and André Alexander: ‘The Stone Maitreya of Leh: The Rediscovery and Recovery of an Early Tibetan Monument’. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. October 2011.
  • Susan Whitfield. Contribution on Buddhist sites on the Eastern Silk Road for The Cambridge World History of Religious Architect: Buddhist Volume.
  • Susan Whitfield, ‘Creating a Codicology for Chinese and Tibetan Manuscripts’ for the Proceedings of the Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Partners' Meeting in Dunhuang

At the IDP partners' meeting, generously hosted by the Dunhuang Academy from 11–13 October 2011, representatives from IDP Centres around the world met to discuss IDP's future direction. Presentations and lively discussion took place over the two days of the meeting and continued during the visits to local sites.

A full report will be given in the next issue of IDP News.

Pictured front row (left to right):

  • Yoshihiro Okada, Director of the Digital Archives Research Centre, Ryukoku University
  • Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, Director of the Turfan Research Group, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities
  • Li Xiao, Director, Turfan Museum/Academy
  • Susan Whitfield, Director, IDP UK, The British Library
  • Wang Xudong, Executive Vice-Director, Dunhuang Academy
  • Lin Shitian, Researcher, National Library of China
  • Nathalie Monnet, Curator of Chinese Collections, Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Khasim Anwar, Vice-Director, Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology
  • Yong-chul Choe, Director, Research Institute of Korean Studies

Back row (left to right):

  • Sheng Yanhai, Head of IDP, Dunhuang Academy
  • Lou Jie, Director, Exhibition Centre, Dunhuang Academy
  • Liang Xushu, IDP Imaging Assistant, Dunhuang Academy
  • Liu Zhijia, Research Assistant, Turfan Academy
  • Shouji Sakamoto, Researcher, Ryukoku University/British Library
  • Yoon-hee Hong, Research Professor, Research Institute of Korean Studies
  • Chunhee Wu, Researcher, Research Institute of Korean Studies
  • Ma De, Director, Document Research Institute, Dunhuang Academy
  • Barbara Meisterernst, Researcher, Humboldt-University
  • Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, Paper scientist, Hamburg University
  • Alastair Morrison, International Manager, IDP UK, The British Library
  • Birgit Schlyter, Director, South and Central Asian Studies, Stockholm University
  • Ann Olsen, Photograph Archivist, Ethnography Museum, Stockholm
  • Vic Swift, International and Technical Manager, IDP UK, The British Library
  • Yang Xiuqing, Secretary General, Researcher, China Dunhuang Cave Preservation Research Foundation, Dunhuang Academy
  • Luo Huaqing, Vice-Director, Dunhuang Academy
  • Zhang Yuanlin, Director, Information and Resources Centre, Dunhuang Academy
  • Liu Gang, Vice-Director, Digital Centre, Dunhuang Academy
  • Taeshik Shim, Senior Research Fellow, Manager, Office of International Affairs, Research Institute of Korean Studies
  • Liu Bo, Researcher/ Head of IDP Beijing, National Library of China

IDP News Issue No. 36–37 now online

IDP News Issue No. 36–37, Winter/Spring 2010–11 is now available online. This issue covers the launch of the IDP Seoul website featuring the keynote address by Professor Mair and articles from Korean scholars.

In this issue we also report on links being developed with institutions in Afghanistan to make resources held in the British Library accessible to all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sacred Texts on the Silk Road

As a new addition to the popular Sacred Texts workshop, run by the British Library learning team for school years 7–13, groups are now offered the option of a Sacred Texts on the Silk Road add-on.

This hour-long session, run by a member of the International Dunhuang Project, will introduce students to some of the manuscripts, paintings and artefacts that were uncovered in Dunhuang and other Silk Road sites in northwest China in the early twentieth century, and use them to explore how important the Silk Road was as a conduit for religion and ideas through the first millennium.

Interested schools should contact the BL learning team for more details, and to book.

Image: Book of Buddha's Names Or.8210/S.253.