Between China and Tibet: A Documentary History of Khotan in the Late Eighth and Early Ninth Century

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Between China and Tibet: A Documentary History of Khotan in the Late Eighth and Early Ninth Century

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Title: Between China and Tibet: A Documentary History of Khotan in the Late Eighth and Early Ninth Century
Author: Zhang, Zhan
Citation: Zhang, Zhan. 2016. Between China and Tibet: A Documentary History of Khotan in the Late Eighth and Early Ninth Century. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Access Status: This work is under embargo until 2018-11-01
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Abstract: Since the late 19th century, expeditions in Khotan sponsored by various countries have yielded several collections of Khotanese manuscripts. Among them, the British Collection, the Russian Collection, and the Hedin stand out as they contain most of the secular documents from the Khotan region. In his groundbreaking work in 2006, Yutaka Yoshida regrouped these secular documents into six archives, Archive 0 to Archive 5, according to date and provenance.

In my dissertation, I continue Yoshida’s work and focus on Archive 3, a group of texts from the Domoko Oasis, some 120 km east of Khotan, dating from 798-802, the initials years of the Tibetan occupation of Khotan (790s-840s).

First, I divide the documents in Archive 3 into six groups according to genre and subject: 1) communications, 2) vouchers, 3) accounts, 4) patrol rosters, 5) rosters of other tasks, and 6) miscellaneous. Next, I re-edit and re-translate all the documents with a new editorial method. Instead of presenting the documents according to their appearance in the manuscripts as previous editors did, I present them in sections according their inner logic. This method is especially helpful for synoptic texts. It also shows more clearly how the text corresponds to the translation. By paying close attention to the formulae in orders, petitions, vouchers, and rosters, I restore many documents, and establish the original line length, which in turn helps restore more lacunae. When re-editing, I also check the text of each document against its facsimile, and improve the readings along the way.

A more accurate reading and understanding of each document in Archive 3 sheds light on the history of Khotan during the late eighth and early ninth century, allows glimpses into various aspects of lives in Khotan, such as the administrative system, the taxation system, the distribution of corvée work, and various other issues.

By studying the documents of Archive 3 with a disciplined methodology, I also set up a framework for further research of Khotanese secular documents in other archives.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33840754
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