From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls

From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls looks closely at a wide variety of Asian manuscript traditions with a special focus on both their history and the ways in which scholars have employed digital technology to make their cataloguing, comparative study, and aesthetic appreciation more accessible to scholars and students.

From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls
New Approaches to the Study of Asian Manuscript Traditions

Edited by Justin Thomas McDaniel and Lynn Ransom

2015 | 304 pages | Cloth $49.95
Cultural Studies | Asian Studies | Religion
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Table of Contents

—Lynn Ransom
—Justin Thomas McDaniel

Chapter 1. The Characteristics of Elephants: A Thai Manuscript and Its Context
—Hiram Woodward
Chapter 2. Representations of Space and Place in a Burmese Cosmology Manuscript at the British Museum
—Alexandra Green
Chapter 3. Stories Steeped in Gold: Narrative Scenes of the Decorative Kammavaca Manuscripts of Burma
—Sinead Ward

Chapter 4. Drawn to an "Extremely Loathsome" Place: The Buddha and the Power of the Northern Thai Landscape
—Angela S. Chiu
Chapter 5. Shifting Modes of Religiosity: Remapping Early Chinese Religion in Light of Recently Excavated Manuscripts
—Ori Tavor
Chapter 6. Living with Ghosts and Deities in the Qin ? State: Methods of Exorcism from "Jie ? " in the Shuihudi ??? Manuscript
—Daniel Sou

Chapter 7. Spoken Text and Written Symbol: The Use of Layout and Notation in Sanskrit Scientific Manuscripts
—Kim Plofker
Chapter 8. Abbreviations in Medieval Astronomical and Astrological Manuscripts Written in Arabic Script
—Sergei Tourkin
Chapter 9. Creating a Codicology of Central Asian Manuscripts
—Susan Whitfield
Chapter 10. Providing Access to Manuscripts in the Digital Age
—Peter M. Scharf


Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]


This collection of essays inaugurates a new series for the field of manuscript studies: the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Studies in Manuscript Culture. The Schoenberg name has a long history of use at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries due to the generosity and vision of Larry Schoenberg (C'53, WG'57), who sadly passed away in 2014 before seeing the first volume of the series published. The impact of Larry and his wife, Barbara Brizdle, on manuscript studies at Penn has been felt through the establishment of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image in 1996 and the creation of the Schoenberg Initiative in 2006 to assist the Libraries in purchasing new manuscripts, and the annual Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age, which began in 2008. In 2011, Larry and Barbara donated their collection of manuscripts to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, which led to the founding of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies in 2012. Consistent with Larry's vision of sharing his collection and the knowledge gained through studying manuscripts, this new series will bring together scholars from around the world and across disciplines to present research related to the study of premodern manuscripts and to consider the role of digital technologies in advancing manuscript research. Whether relying on traditional methods of scholarship or exploring the potential of new technologies, the research presented in each volume will highlight the value of the manuscript book in understanding our intellectual heritage.

Several of the essays in this volume were first presented at the Fourth Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age, "Writing the East: History and New Technologies in the Study of Asian Manuscript Traditions," which was held October 21-22, 2011, at the University of Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia. The symposium covered a range of issues relating to Asian reading and writing cultures, especially as they pertain to the manuscript source. The success of the event inspired the editors to invite contributions from other scholars. The resulting collection of essays explores such topics as best practices for preservation and cataloging; demonstrates the value of collaboration among scholars who work on different aspects of codicological, paleographic, orthographic, and material culture studies; and reveals how these material objects were used for religious, political, cultural, and pedagogical purposes. Whereas manuscript studies in the West have benefited from a long history of scholarship, scholars of Asian manuscript traditions have only recently begun to excavate this rich field of study. As their work continues, their research can only enhance our understanding of manuscript culture. It is fitting, then, that the first volume of the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Studies in Manuscript Culture begins its work in the area of Asian manuscripts by giving scholars the opportunity to share their work and advance our knowledge.

We also acknowledge here our gratitude to those who made the publication of this volume possible. Our first thanks go to the volume's co-editor, Justin McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, who first approached us with the idea to devote an entire symposium to Asian manuscript traditions. We would also like to thank H. Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jerome Singerman, Senior Humanities Editor at the University of Pennsylvania Press, who through their generosity and good will make possible the continued publication of volumes in this series. In gratitude for everything that the Schoenbergs have done, we dedicate this volume to the memory of Larry Schoenberg and to Barbara Brizdle, whose ongoing support ensures the continuation of the good work that Larry began. We can repay his generosity only by spreading his vision as widely as possible. We offer this series as a small contribution toward that enormous debt.

Lynn Ransom
Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
University of Pennsylvania Libraries