Vol 19, No 1 (2022)


The Tangut Manuscript The First [Shamanistic] Ritual from IOM, RAS Collection. Textual Research and Translation

Bogdanov K.M.


The Tangut manuscript “Танг 1621” is recorded evidence of the Tangut shamanistic tradition that existed in the Xixia state, but had originated from the religious beliefs of the Tanguts’ ancestors. This text was discovered among unidentified Tangut texts in the process of cataloguing work. Prior to this this discovery, we came across some indirect references to Tangut shamanism in various sources such as historical documents (The Tangut Codex), ritual or religious text fragments. Most likely, the text in question is an original Tangut text that had originally existed in verbal tradition and was later recorded. Structurally, it consists of 14-syllable verses, including archaisms, unclear metaphors and symbolism. It is a complete manuscript with a title, a short preface, and a logical ending. The title’s translation can be only interpreted tentatively, as it literally means “The Origin of [Religious] Ecstasy (Russian kamlaniye)”. However, I guess that to translate the Tangut word 影 as “[religious] ecstasy” would not be entirely correct in this case, because we find in this text a description of a shamanistic ritual that includes kamlaniye only as its part. The main goal of the rite described here is to defend the world of living beings from the disasters that astral spirits visit on some tribes or ethnic groups for being neglectful of the rules of sacrificial rites or for damaging sacred items. Therefore, this ritual, when it was performed for the first time, was aimed at procuring Heaven’s support for people. On can assume that, once performed, this rite had laid the foundation for a ritual tradition that preserved the wealth and stability of the community that observed it, and later it became the most basic, principal ritual of the state. I can also assume that it was this archetypal rite that emperor Yuanhao performed as he proclaimed himself emperor of the Xixia State. I should add that the above-mentioned linguistic traits pose a serious challenge to the textual research into this source—first of all, to its proper translation. That is why this study is only a preliminary one. The main goal of interpreting this text is to determine the place of the Tangut shamanistic tradition within the context of the long-time scholarly definition of such religious beliefs.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):5-18
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Research works

The Problem of Ontological Independence in Mahāyāna Bud-dhist Philosophy

Burmistrov S.L.


The concept of self-existence or ontological independence (svabhāva) is one of the fundamental concepts in Buddhist philosophy. Its sense is similar to the concept of substance in early modern Western philosophy. In Hīnayāna schools, dharmas (elementary psycho-physiological states) are considered to be self-existent, and wisdom is the comprehension of any existence as the flow of momentary (kṣāṇika) dharmas. The teaching of Madhyamaka, the first Mahāyāna school founded by Nāgārjuna (2nd–3rd centuries A.D.), is based on the postulate of emptiness (śūnyatā) of all dharmas, which means that a dharma has no referent on the level of the absolute truth. According to Madhyamaka, the interpretation of enlightenment as the knowledge of the true reality proceeds from the assumption of reality of the difference between the subject and the object. But this assumption itself has a meaning only on the level of relative truth and is empty on the level of the absolute truth. The method used by Nāgārjuna and his commentator Candrakīrti (7th c.) for the demonstration of emptiness of all concepts and conceptual constructions is their reduction to absurdity and proof of their essential contradictoriness. The concept of ontological independence is the same: if everything is bound by the law of dependent origination, then everything exists only by something other and cannot be self-existent. But if there is nothing self-existent, then the opposite concept—other-dependent (niḥsvabhāva) also loses its sense, for, according to the Buddhist doctrine, the postulation of an A in the same time means the postulation of a not-A. Yogācāra, the other Mahāyāna school, formulated the conception of three natures (trisvabhāva): constructed, dependent and absolute. But the really self-existent among them is only the last one, identical with the true reality (tathatā). The store-consciousness, or the fundamental consciousness and the basis of all other forms and levels of individual consciousness, is full of real and potential afflictions and intellectual and behavioral dispositions. They all must be removed from the store consciousness, and only this will be the final liberation. In the moment of enlightenment, the difference between the true reality and the store consciousness disappears, for this difference, like any other, is a conceptual construction generated by unenlightened consciousness and therefore ontologically dependent.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):19-32
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A Multani Translation of the Lord’s Prayer Preserved in the Archival Legacy of D.G. Messerschmidt

Zorin A.V., Ivanov V.P.


This article presents a document dated from the 1730s and housed at the Indian Collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which contains a translation of the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster) into Multani (Saraiki). The document is addressed to Anna Ioannovna, hence its dating to the time of that empress’s reign. The authors of the article managed to establish that the document had been compiled by the outstanding explorer of Siberia D.G. Messerschmidt, while the translation of the prayer into Multani had been made for him by one of the Astrakhan Indians, a certain Sung(h)ara (Petr Ivanov after baptism). Among D.G. Messerschmidt’s documents housed at the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a series of drafts were found, testifying to his work on this manuscript. It can be assumed that, by means of this document, both Messerschmidt and Sung(h)ara tried to attract the attention of the Empress and enlist her support, each pursuing his own goals.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):33-51
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History and historiography

Sogdian Manuscript Fragments from the Collection of S.F. Oldenburg (The Serindia Collection of the IOM, RAS). Part 2

Zaytsev V.P., Chunakova O.M.


This paper, published in two parts, presents the results of joint work on several Sogdian fragments recently discovered in the Serindia Collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IOM, RAS), written on the scrolls with the Chinese texts on the back, as is the case with most similar texts. The study of the Chinese texts on the other side has made it possible to identify them as belonging to the commonly-occurring Buddhist text of the Lotus Sutra (the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtra), and to determine the order of all the fragments. This enabled us to collate the new Sogdian fragments with some previously published ones, to determine their order and thus to get a closer understanding of the Sogdian texts of these fragments. It is also possible to note some features of the use of Chinese scrolls by the Sogdian Manichaeans (cutting the scrolls into separate sheets, the possible gluing together of the sheets in a different order, etc.).

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):52-70
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Historical Events of 1705 in Tibet. Part 2

Oyunbilig B., Garri I.R.


Based on a large corpus of sources in Mongolian, Manchu and Chinese languages from the Chinese archives, the article reconstructs the history of one of the most significant events in the history of Tibet — the assassination in 1705 of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s regent, Sangye Gyatso, by Lhavsan Khan of the Khoshot court. The author thoroughly reproduces a cruel confrontation between the khan and the regent which ended by the latter’s execution and shows why the events of 1705 were of great importance for the history of the Mongols and the Tibetans. A series of events that followed, such as the death of the Sixth Dalai Lama, the enthronement of the “true” Seventh Dalai Lama in Kokonor, the invasion of the Dzungars in Tibet in 1717 and, ultimately, the entry of the Qing army into Tibet eventually led to the establishment of the Qing control over Tibet through the Khoshot Mongols. The author concludes that the events of 1705 became an important historical milestone that had a long-term impact on the formation of a unified multinational state under the Qing rule.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):71-85
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The Description of Araki Murashige’s Uprising in the Shinchō-kō ki by Ōta Gyūichi

Polkhov S.A.


The article examines the representation of one of the events of Japanese political history in the last quarter of the 16th century—the rebellion of Araki Murashige, the ruler of the land of Settsu, against Oda Nobunaga, the “unifier of Japan” in the Shinchō-kō ki chronicle. Tracing the main stages of Araki Murashige’ life, the author pays special attention to clarifying the motives of the lord of Settsu, which forced him to oppose Nobunaga. Araki Murashige joined a broad coalition of Nobunaga’s enemies in 1578. The author compares the facts from Murashige’s political biography with his portrait in the Shinchō-kō ki, coming to the conclusion that the chronicler is inclined to portray the ruler of Settsu as an ungrateful traitor who challenged the merciful lord—Nobunaga. Using similar techniques, Gyūichi paints a portrait of another enemy of Nobunaga—Matsunaga Hisahide, one of the lords of the Yamato province. The image of the “traitor” created in the Shinchō-kō ki is intended to emphasize the power and inevitability of Nobunaga’s victory on the one hand, and to show his opponents in an unseemly light on the other.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):86-107
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From the History of the Decipherment of West Semitic Writing: Events and People. 7. Barthélemy the Orientalist: Between Scholarship and High Society. Part II

Yunusov M.M.


In June 1744, Abbot Barthélemy arrived in Paris with many letters of recommendation. One of these letters was given to Claude de Boze, curator of the royal Cabinet des Médailles. Soon the young abbot was recruited as an assistant to de Boze and began active work in the field of numismatics. A few years later, with the help of patrons and friends, Barthélemy was elected as a member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, where he made several presentations immediately recognized by the scholarly community. One of them was the first part of the Essai d’une Paléographie Numismatique, which proposed a new method for its time for attribution and systematization of the most archaic coins in the Mediterranean. However, Barthélemy did not pursue systematic work on the subject being for many years distracted, among other things, by writing his archaeological novel, Voyage du jeune Anacharsis en Grèce. This work brought the author worldwide fame and recognition of the general public. At the end of his life, he nevertheless continued to work on his Paléographie and was very sorry that he would not have time to finish it. The scholar’s contemporaries and biographers noted that this delay cost Barthélemy the honorable place of the founder of modern numismatics.

Pis'mennye pamiatniki Vostoka. 2022;19(1):108-128
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Academic Life

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