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A new Kharoṣṭhī wooden tablet from China

  • Lin Meicun


Many Kharoṣṭhī documents have been unearthed from the buried cities in the shifting sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the last thirty years. I went to the south of the Desert and conducted an archaeological survey along the Silk Road in the summer of 1986. A Kharoṣṭhī wooden tablet happened to be on display in the Khotan Museum when I visited there, but no serial number had been given to the new document. It was allegedly collected by Mr. Li Xuehua, an officer of the Min Feng county, when he explored the way to the Niya site for the shooting of a television programme on the Silk Road in 1981. However, he did not leave any further information on the exact place where the tablet was found in the vast area of Niya.



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1 For material concerning Khotan, Shanshan and Tunhuang, cf. Stein, M. A.. Ancient Khotan, i–III (Oxford, 1907); Serindia, i–III (Oxford, 1921), Innermost Asia, I–IV (Oxford, 1928). For material concerning Kuci, cf. Le Coq, A. v., Buried treasures of Chinese Turkestan (London, 1928); Filliozat, J., ‘L'Agalloche et les manuscripts sur bois dan l'lnde et les pays de civilisation indienne’, JA, CCXLVI, 1, 1958; Pauly, B., ‘Fragments Sanskrits d'Afghanistan‘, JA. CCLV, 34. 1967. For material concerning Luoyang, cf. Brough, J.. ‘A Kharoṣṭhī inscription from China’, BSOAS, xxiv, 3 1961. 517–30.

2 M. A. Stein, op. cit.; Burrow, T.,‘Further Kharoṣṭhī documents from Niya’, BSOS, ix, 1, 1937, 111–20.

3 Rapson, E. J., ‘Table of kings and regnal years’, in Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions discovered by Sir Aurel Stein in Chinese Turkestan, part III, (Oxford, 1929).

4 Rapson, E. J., ‘The Kharoṣṭhī alphabet of Chinese Turkestan’, in K.I. 23.

5 Lüders, H.Zur Schrift und Sprache der Kharoṣṭhī Dokumente’, BSOS, IX, 2–3, 1936, 637–55: Burrow, T., ‘Further Kharoṣṭhī documents from Niya’, BSOS, ix, 1, 1937, 111.

6 Rapson, E. J., ‘Kings and regnal years’, in K.I., part III, 323–8.

7 Stein, M. A., Ancient Khotan, vol. II; Serindia, vol. I, T., Burrow, ‘Further Kharoṣṭhī documents from Niya’, art. cit.

8 Stein, M. A., Ancient Khotan, vol. II; Serindia, vol. I; Burrow, T.,’Further Kharoṣṭhī documents from Niya’, art. cit.

9 Rapson, E. J., ‘Kings and regnal years’, K.I., part III, 323–8; Das Gupta, C. C., The development of the Kharoṣṭhī script, (Calcutta 1958).

10 Brough, J., ‘Comments upon third–century Shanshan’, BSOAS, xxxm, 1970;Enoki, Kazuo, ‘The location of the capital of Loulan and the date of Kharoṣṭhī inscriptions’, Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, no. 22, 1963;Ma, YongThe date of Kharoṣṭhī documents from Xinjiang’, Wenshi, vol. 7, 1979; Lin, Meicun, ‘Researches on Khotan kings in Kharoṣṭhī documents and Sino–Kharoṣṭhī coins’, Wenwu, no. 2, 1987.

11 Fang, Xuanling et al. , Jin shu, 86 (Peking, 1974), 2237.

12 Sima, Guang, Zizhi tongjian, 95 (Peking, 1956), 3004 [Ed. comment: ‘Sima Guang's remarks may be read to mean that the events in question took place prior to A.D. 335, not in that year.’].

13 Jin shu, 114, p. 2911; Sengyou, Chu sanzang jiji, 14, p. 100c in Taishō shinshū daizokyō, LV.

14 Jin shu, 95, p. 2498.

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A new Kharoṣṭhī wooden tablet from China

  • Lin Meicun


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