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Research on Ancient Chinese Manuscripts

The project is aiming to lay preliminary methodological foundations for a comprehensive and detailed study of manuscripts written in Chinese script and develop a suitable terminology for the description of manuscripts according to verifiable objective criteria. The research will be conducted on selected ancient Chinese bamboo and silk manuscripts dating from the third to the first century BCE and will be focusing on some hitherto insufficiently studied questions such as standards of writing supports, of types and styles of script and orthographic standards.

In co-operation with Chinese and Western scholars, methods well-established in auxiliary fields of Western history and philology – such as codicology, diplomatics, palaeography and graphology – are to be applied and adapted to the special features of ancient Chinese manuscripts.

In the course of the research a database of manuscript desriptions and individual manuscript characters will be created and made available on the internet. The database as well as the methodological research are designed to improve the basis for the ongoing research on ancient Chinese manuscripts, which mostly concentrates on historical and philosophical aspects of the manuscript texts. At the same time, the results of this project “Methodology for the Study of Ancient Chinese Manuscripts” may also benefit the systematic research on manuscripts of different materials and from later periods (e.g. the paper manuscripts from Dunhuang).

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Last changed: 15. June 2005  Imprint / Browserinfo