KHOTAN iv. KHOTANESE LITERATURE

 

KHOTAN

iv. KHOTANESE LITERATURE

Khotanese literature is the body of writings contained in a large number of manuscripts and manuscript folios and fragments written from the 5th to the 10th century in the Khotanese language, the Eastern Middle Iranian language of the Buddhist Saka kingdom of Khotan on the southern branch of the Silk Route (in the present-day Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China). The manuscripts were recovered from the Khotan area and the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas near Dunhuang (Gansu Province) chiefly by expeditions from the West and Japan between the end of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century. Khotanese collections are now housed in libraries and museums in Paris, London, Munich, Berlin, Bremen, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Urumqi, Peking, Lüshun, New Delhi, Kyoto, Washington D.C., Cambridge, Mass., and New Haven. Most Khotanese texts were edited or re-edited by H. W. Bailey (q.v.) in his Khotanese Texts (KT I-V) and Khotanese Buddhist Texts (KBT). The St. Petersburg collection was published in facsimile and transcription with translation by R. E. Emmerick and M. I. Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja in Saka Documents (SD) VII and Saka Documents Text Volume (SDTV) III except for ms. SI P 6 (the main manuscript of the Book of Zambasta, ms. SI P 49 (Dharmaśarīrasūtra, q.v.), and a few Chinese-Khotanese documents (see below). The London collection was catalogued and re-edited with translation by P. O. Skjærvø in SDTV VI. The other main facsimile editions are Bailey, 1938; Vorob’ëv-Desjatovskij and Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, 1965; and the six portfolios of Saka Documents edited by Bailey (SD I-IV, accompanied by the edition in SDTV I, with translation and notes) and Emmerick (SD V-VI). Detailed information on Khotanese literature may be found in Emmerick, 1992b; Skjærvø, 1999; and Maggi, forthcoming.

The older manuscripts were produced in the region of Khotan from the mid-5th (see below) to the early 9th century, while the younger, partly dated, Dunhuang manuscripts date largely from the 10th century, though some may go back to the late 9th century. Of the manuscripts from Khotan, only part of the documents are dated, usually according to the regnal years of the local Viśa’ kings, whose chronology is still imperfectly known. On the other hand, for virtually all the literary manuscripts only an approximate dating on paleographic grounds is possible, with the exception of a manuscript of the Bhaiṣajyagurusūtra, whose colophon gives evidence for the second half of the 8th century (see Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 20). The texts are written in a variety of linguistic stages usually grouped under the labels of Old Khotanese—in a sense the sacred language of Khotanese Buddhism—and Late Khotanese. The absence of Old Khotanese texts from Dunhuang and the greater freedom of the Dunhuang translations of Buddhist texts suggest that the writing and copying of Old Khotanese texts ceased because of a break in the tradition of Buddhist learning during the social and political turmoil under Tibetan rule from after 790 to the mid-9th century (Kumamoto, 1999, pp. 359-60).

Apart from a number of documents on wood (Bailey, KT IV, pp. 41-50 and 144-72; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 557-75) and a few inscriptions on paintings (Bailey, KT III, p. 148, and V, pp. 255, 262; Emmerick, 1968c and 1974a; Dudbridge and Emmerick, 1978; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 583-85; Filigenzi and Maggi, forthcoming) and on a jar (Bailey, KT V, p. 383; Maggi, 2001, pp. 537-38; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 584), Khotanese texts are written on paper. The manuscripts are either books of the pustaka type (oblong loose leaves imitating the Indian palm leaf manuscripts) or Chinese rolls (from one to several folios joined to form rolls up to several meters in length). For some information on the paper and the manuscripts production see Duan, 1992, pp. 18-21, and Sander, 1988. For the larger and the dated literary manuscripts see BUDDHISM iii.

For writing Khotanese, formal and cursive varieties of a Central Asian development of the Indian Brāhmī script were used. Formal varieties were used for literary, chiefly religious, texts, while cursive varieties were employed for both literary texts and everyday writing. The formal varieties can be grouped in four stages of development: (1) Early Turkestan Brāhmī, type b, 5th-6th centuries; (2) Early South Turkestan Brāhmī, 6th-7th centuries; (3) South Turkestan Brāhmī, 7th-9th centuries; (4) Late South Turkestan Brāhmī, 10th century (see Sander, 1984, 1986, and 1989, esp. pp. 112-18 for the dating, and cf. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. lxxi-lxxii).

A large part of Khotanese literature is in verse. Khotanese metrics was studied by E. Leumann, S. Konow, M. J. Dresden, and R. E. Emmerick but is still imperfectly understood. It is unknown whether Old Khotanese metrics, known chiefly from the Book of Zambasta is a derivation from as yet unidentified Indian models or is an indigenous system. In several works published between 1908 and 1924, E. Leumann developed the view that Old Khotanese metrics is of Indo-European descent with connections to Greek and other metrical systems and is exclusively quantitative (see the sketch in Leumann, 1933-36, pp. xxii-xxxv, and the bibliography in Emmerick, 1973a, pp. 138-39). His theory was criticized because of the many variants he admitted for the basic metrical patterns and because he emended the texts to fit them in with the postulated patterns, and its comparative part was generally rejected and was also abandoned by his son, M. Leumann (Leumann, 1971, p. 458). Konow hesitated between a quantitative model with Indian antecedents and an accentual model with possible parallels in other Iranian poetic traditions (see the bibliography in Dresden, 1962, esp. p. 43, n. 9, where an attempt is made, though without significant results, to compare Old and Late Khotanese metrics with that of other Middle Iranian poems). Emmerick considered that Old Khotanese metrics, originally quantitative and presumably derived from Indian meters, is at a stage of transition towards an accentual type that becomes exclusive in Late Khotanese poetry. He overestimated the role of the accent, however, in that he thought that a light syllable (i.e., a syllable with a short vowel followed by one or no consonant) could be counted as heavy if stressed and vice versa, and underestimated the role of quantity, which he admitted only in the cadences (Emmerick, 1968a, pp. 437-40; 1968b; 1973a; and 1973b).

Three meters, called A, B, and C, were first recognized by E. Leumann. Each meter is characterized by a basically fixed number of morae, a light syllable being worth one mora, a heavy syllable being worth two morae. A stanza consists of two verses with the same structure, and each verse consists of two halves (pāda) separated by a caesura with the exception of meter B (see below). There is complete freedom in the sequence of light and heavy syllables in the pāda openings before cadences, while in the cadences, that mark the end of the pādas, the distribution of light and heavy syllables is less free than elsewhere. The most common cadences consist of two feet: dactyl + trochee (‐ᴗᴗ‑ᴗ) and trochee + iamb (‐ᴗᴗ‑) with an ictus on the first syllable of each foot. There is a hierarchy between internal cadences (in odd pādas) and final cadences (in even pādas): these mark the end of verses and are characterized by the coincidence of ictus and accent (cf. Emmerick, 1968b, p. 2), which is not mandatory in internal cadences. A heavy syllable may be substituted for the light ones in the dactyls, and two light syllables may be substituted for one of the heavy syllables in any single cadence (in which case, in final cadences, the coincidence of ictus and accent must always take place on the first syllable of the foot). The main metrical structures for the three meters are as follows (other more or less frequent structures exist; the number of morae preceding the cadences is sometimes one mora longer or shorter than expected): A = 5 morae + ‐ᴗᴗ‑ᴗ | 5 morae + ‐́ᴗᴗ‑́ᴗ; B = 11 morae + ‐́ᴗᴗ‑́ᴗ; C = ‐́ᴗᴗ‑́ᴗ | 5 morae + ‐́ᴗᴗ́‐ (Maggi, 1992, pp. 46-51; cf. Emmerick and Maggi, 1991). Also in Late Khotanese metrics, which has never been studied in detail, a stanza consists of two (rarely three) verses and each verse consists of two pādas, but Late Khotanese metrics is based on different principles, as it is apparently regulated by the number of stresses. At least two meters exist, one with three stresses and about eight syllables per pāda (e.g., Mañjuśrīnairātmyāvatārasūtra, Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, and Book of Vimalakīrti) and another with four stresses and about twelve syllables per pāda (e.g., Bhadracaryādeśanā and Jātakastava; cf. Dresden, 1962; Emmerick, 1968a, pp. 437-38; 1968b, pp. 18-20; 1973a, p. 147; 1973b, pp. 138-39).

Khotanese manuscripts contain both literary texts and documents. Very little information is available concerning the origins of Khotanese literature. We know virtually nothing about the oral literature of Iranian descent apart from faint echoes in the legends on the foundation of Khotan and in the stylistic tendency to variation rather than repetition (Skjærvø, 1998 and 1999a, p. 314). The beginnings of written literature presumably coincided with the first Buddhist works in Khotanese, whose earliest manuscripts are written in Early Turkestan Brāhmī script, type b, and date accordingly from the 5th-6th centuries. This applies to some folios and fragments of Old Khotanese translations of the Ratnakūṭasūtra, Saṅghāṭasūtra, and Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, and to one folio of the Book of Zambasta, as well as to such secular wooden documents in Early Late Khotanese as F. II.i.006. The existence of a folio of the Book of Zambasta in Early Turkestan Brāhmī implies that the work was composed no later than the 5th century, and the fact that it often has the character of a translation in the widest sense and that one passage aims at defending the translation of Buddhist texts (23.2-6) suggests that the work may have been the very first written literary text in Khotanese (see Maggi, 2004).

The greater part of the extant literary texts are Buddhist works, most of which were translated from Sanskrit. The Khotanese adopted various translation techniques for rendering the terminology of their originals (see Emmerick, 1983; Degener, 1989; Skjærvø, 1999, pp. 312-29). As many Indian words (Sanskrit and Prakrit) had already entered the Khotanese vocabulary presumably before the earliest extant texts and translations, a solution at hand was to use those loanwords as well as to continue taking over Sanskrit technical terms. On the other hand, many Indian terms were rendered by genuine Khotanese words. It is noteworthy that, in the Old Khotanese Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra, the name Śrī of the Indian goddess of fortune is either taken up as such or translated by the Zoroastrian name śśandrāmatā-; compare Avestan spəṇtā- ārmaiti-, the ‘holy right thinking’ and the guardian of the earth (Emmerick, 2002, pp. 7-9 with reference to earlier literature). The Khotanese Buddhist terminology never developed, however, into a fixed system of equivalences such as was evolved by the Tibetans. So one Sanskrit term may be rendered by more than one Khotanese equivalent, and one Khotanese word may translate different Sanskrit terms. The translators also resorted, especially in Old Khotanese, to interpretative translations in line with the Buddhist exegetical tradition.

The Khotanese versions vary widely with regard to their faithfulness to the originals and range from close translations to free paraphrases and recastings. The prose translations of sūtras, particularly the older ones, reproduce their originals as closely as possible, because sūtras were regarded as the words of the Buddha, metrical renderings being obviously freer than prose translations. The Khotanese did not content themselves with mere literal renditions, but took great care not to misrepresent the meaning of their originals. The desire to provide clear renderings of the original meaning sometimes induced the translators to amplify the text and even to insert comments. The greatest freedom is reached in the edifying tales, which are recast rather than translated, as they were felt to be liable to modification, rearrangement, and improvement.

The following new transcriptions and text editions with translation of Buddhist texts have appeared after the treatment of Khotanese Buddhist literature in BUDDHISM iii.: Adhyardhaśatikā (Emmerick and Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, SDTV III, pp. 24-34), Amṛtaprabhadhāraṇī (Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 370-73), Aparimitāyuḥsūtra (Duan, 1992, with comm., Sanskrit and Tibetan parallels, and glossary), Avalokiteśvaradhāraṇī (SDTV III, pp. 239-50, with facs. on pls. 190-98), Book of Vimalakīrti (SDTV VI, pp. 489-99; ed., tr., and comm. of lines 224-66, 293-308, and 316-50 by Maggi, 2003a, 2003b, 2004a, and 2007), Deśanā I (SDTV VI, pp. 542-46), Deśanā II (SDTV VI, pp. 547-50), Dhāraṇī of ms. Or. 6402 b 2 (SDTV VI, pp. 24-25), Homage of Hūyī Kīma-tcūna (Duan, 1992, pp. 66-76, with glossary, and SDTV VI, 27-31), Invocation of Prince Tcū-syau (SDTV VI, 499-502), Jñanolkādhāraṇī (SDTV III, pp. 21-24, and SDTV VI, pp. 349, 355, and 451), Karmavibhaṅga (Maggi, 1995, with comm., Sanskrit parallel, and glossary), Mañjuśrīnairātmyāvatārasūtra (ed. and tr. of lines 1-54 and 278-313 by Emmerick, 1997a and 1998), Namo text of ms. Ch. 00268.1-131 (SDTV VI, pp. 502-7), Namo text of ms. Ch. 00276 (SDTV VI, pp. 303-4), Ratnadvīpa text (SDTV VI, pp. 368-70), Ratnakūṭasūtra (Skjærvø, 2003, with Sanskrit and Tibetan parallels), Saṅghāṭasūtra (Canevascini, 1993, with comm., Sanskrit original, and glossary), Sumukhasūtra (Emmerick, 1997-98), Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra (Skjærvø, 2004, with comm., Sanskrit parallel, glossary, and indexes), Triśaraṇa (SDTV VI, pp. 486-87), Vajrayāna text of ms. Ch. ii.004 (SDTV VI, pp. 292-96), Vajrayāna verses of ms. Ch. i.0021b (SDTV VI, pp. 550-56), Viśākhā and Vipaśyin texts (SDTV VI, 330-31). The editions of the St. Petersburg and London collections also include previously unpublished materials, among which there are at times substantial remains of the Buddhist texts Anantamukhanirhāradhāraṇī (SDTV III, pp. 38-40; see also Duan, 1993, for the fragment in Lüshun), Bhaiṣajyagurusūtra (SDTV III, pp. 71-75, 222 and SDTV VI, pp. 20-24), Book of Zambasta (SDTV III, pp. 212-13), Raśmivimalaviśuddhaprabhānāmadhāraṇī (SDTV III, p. 233), Samantabhadra text (SDTV VI, pp. 144-45, 199-200, 228, and 312), Śūraṅgamasamādhisūtra (SDTV VI, pp. 220, 223, 266-68, 329, 409-23), Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra (SDTV III, pp. 179-212, with Sanskrit original, and facs. in SD 7, pls. 139-51; see also Emmerick, 1995; Skjærvø, 1999b; and the index of fragments in SDTV VI, pp. 608-9), and Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra (SDTV III, pp. 213-14). Fragments of the Śrīmahādevīvyākaraṇa have been identified by K. Wille (2006, p. 487) in the Crosby collection (Washington, Library of Congress; unpublished) and the Stein collection (London).

Since Khotan was a major center of Buddhist studies in the 1st millennium (cf. BUDDHISM i.), Buddhism also pervades secular documents and non-doctrinal literary texts. Even the Hindu story of Rāma and Sītā was changed into a Late Khotanese avadāna in verse. The Khotanese Rāmāyaṇa opens by praising the long duration of the teaching of Śākyamuni Buddha as the result of his long exertion in former births, among which was his life as Rāma. The story is not merely given a Buddhist setting: the myth itself is turned into a Buddhist myth in that it is said that Rāma also defeated Ambarīṣa and Mahādeva, which amounts to saying that the Buddha defeated Śiva and Viṣṇu, the chief gods of the Hindu pantheon (Emmerick, 2000, pp. 233-34). The story is told in a concise and lively style, as is usual in Khotanese avadānas, and abounds in material of a fabulous nature, with monkeys, ants, ravens, and donkeys appearing in the narration (mss. P 2801 + P 2781 + P 2783: Bailey, KT III, pp. 65-76; ed. Bailey, 1940a; tr. Bailey, 1940b; tr. of lines 71-78, 109-18, and 168-73 by Emmerick, 1997c and 2000).

The beginnings of two further avadānas are extant: the Kaniṣkāvadāna in prose (appended to the Panegyric on King Viśa’ Saṃgrāma; see below) with the episodes of King Kaniṣka having a monument and a monastery built and of Kaniṣka’s spiritual adviser Aśvaghoṣa casting a lump of clay on the newly built monument with the subsequent appearance of an image of the Buddha (ms. P 2787.155-95: Bailey, KT II, pp. 107-8; ed. Bailey, 1942, with tr. and comm.; tr. Bailey, 1965, 107-8); the so-called Love story about the love of a householder’s son and the daughter of one of King Prasenajit’s ministers (P 2928.4-41: Bailey, KT III, pp. 105-6; ed. Maggi, 1997, with tr., comm., glossary, and facs.).

A few magic texts such as amulets and omen texts give expression to the most extreme form of “folk” Buddhism. The apotropaic power of amulets (rakṣā) may reside in a drawing (ms. Kha. i.50: ed. Emmerick, 1968c, p. 142, with tr. and facs. on pl. II; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 585, with tr.), in a sacred formula (dhāraṇī as in ms. Kha. i.89a: Bailey, KT V, p. 137; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 203, with tr.; and in the newly found amulet from Dandan Öilik [see DANDĀN ÖILIQ]: Skjærvø, 2007), in a text (ms. Kha. i.53: Bailey, KT V, p. 131; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 193, with tr.; ms. Kha. i.310: Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 477, with tr.; ms. Reuter 2: ed. Bailey KT V, p. 395), and in a text combined with drawings, as in the case of the three folios which depict six of fifteen demons causing children’s diseases and contain the relevant Late Khotanese excerpt, with a Chinese parallel text, from the Mahāsāhasrapramardanī, a collection of sacred formulas against demons (ms. Ch. 00217 c, a, b: Bailey, KT III, p. 135; ed. Maggi, 1996, with tr., facs., and comm.; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 583, with tr.). Omen texts are contained in mss. Hedin 17, which foretells the consequences of aches in various part of the body, and 22.6-7 (ed. Bailey, KT IV, pp. 31-32 and 35, with tr. and comm. on pp. 109-17, 127, and 129), Hardinge 078.2 (Bailey, KT V, p. 283; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 126-27, with tr.), Kha. vi.4.1 (predicting the outcome of twitching in various parts of the body: Bailey, KT III, p. 130, and IV, pp. 113-14, with tr.; ed. Leumann, 1963, pp. 83-86, with tr.; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 260-61, with tr.), and Or. 11252.1 (forecasting men’s fate on the basis of the year of the duodecimal animal cycle in which they are born: Bailey, KT III, pp. 13-15; ed. Bailey, 1937, pp. 924-30, with tr. and comm.; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 82-85, with tr.).

Besides the great bulk of Buddhist texts, literary works also include a number of both indigenous and translated non-doctrinal texts in Late Khotanese: lyric poetry, epistolary poetry, burlesque poetry, panegyrics, a geographical text, medical texts, and a few bilinguals. Their interpretation is at times difficult because our knowledge of the vocabulary rests mainly on religious texts.

Lyric poetry is devoted to the magnification of love. Some of the verses are quite beautiful, and it is a great pity that not more of them are extant. Nine lyrical verses on love are found at the end of the Staël-Holstein miscellaneous roll (see below). The main collection of lyrical verses is the so-called Lyrical poem, a difficult text known from six partly overlapping manuscripts from Dunhuang and dealing with “the coming of spring, various flowers and birds, songs of the bards (māgadha), and homage to the amorous sports of young lovers” (Bailey, 1964a). The tradition of the text is not homogeneous: the Lyrical poem proper consists of thirty verses and is preserved virtually entirely in three manuscripts, two of which agree closely, while the third differs (mss. Ch. 00266.1-42, P 2025.7-79, and P 2956); three shorter manuscripts (P 2022, P 2896.49-55, P 2985) contain verses from the Lyrical poem but in a different order (Bailey, KT III, pp. 34-48; synoptical ed. in Dresden, 1977, with facs.). Though the lyrical stanzas make up about two thirds of the poem, this closes with the admonition not to follow worldly pleasures (ed. of verses 22-29 by Kumamoto, 2000, with tr. and comm.).

Epistolary poetry is represented by a comparatively large number of letters in verse that are contained in several Dunhuang manuscripts. Though the verses, which mostly appear as unfinished drafts, are in the form of letters written by travelers during their journeys and addressed to their families, teachers, and friends in the homeland, they are not drafts of letters that were actually intended to be sent but elaborate literary works of an at times lofty poetic mode developing the theme of separation from the homeland (see Kumamoto, 1991a, 1993, and 1996b, pp. 93-94).

The only specimen of burlesque poetry is a ten-line fragment from Dunhuang containing a humorous poem. It was written by one Kīma-śanä, who is possibly to be identified with the contemporaneous Zhang Jinshan (cā kīmä-śąnä) mentioned in the colophon of the Jātakastava and other Late Khotanese religious texts (ms. P 2745: Bailey, KT II, pp. 92-93; ed. Kumamoto, 1995, pp. 243-45, with tr. and comm.).

Panegyric literature comprehends three eulogies that extol the figures and deeds of three kings of the Khotanese Viśa’ dynasty. Though they refer to historical persons and events contemporary with their composition and can be regarded as documents, they are characterized by an elevated rhetorical mode and a very elaborate style that recall that of Sanskrit inscrip-tional eulogies (praśasti). The metrical Panegyric on King Viśa’ Kīrtta (r. from 791 CE; see Kumamoto, 1996a, p. 42), which is preserved by a manuscript from the region of Khotan, celebrates the King’s funding, in his 16th regnal year (806), of religious activity for the sake of welfare in his reign (ms. M.T. b.ii.0065: Bailey, KT II, p. 72; SDTV I, pp. 90-91, with tr., and facs. in SD III, pl. lxvi; ed. Konow, 1939, with tr.; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 285, with tr.). The other panegyrics are known from two Dunhuang manuscripts. The metrical Panegyric on King Viśa’ Dharma (r. from 978; see Pulleyblank, 1954, p. 94), which opens with a lengthy Vajrayānist invocation mentioning the Buddha Vairocana, was written on the occasion of an embassy the King sent to Dunhuang in his 5th regnal year (982) to ask the hand of a Chinese princess (ms. Ch. i.0021a.a: Bailey, KT II, pp. 53-55; ed. SDTV I, pp. 68-70, with tr., and facs. in SD III, pls. xlix-li; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 522-24, with tr.). The long Panegyric on King Viśa’ Saṃgrāma (r. 9th century? see Kumamoto, 1986, pp. 235-39, and Skjærvø, 1991, p. 269), which is followed by way of comparison by the Kaniṣkāvadāna, praises the King, on the occasion of the ceremony performed by monks at the end of the rainy season, for his religious merits imparting spiritual and material well-being to the land of Khotan and for erecting a monastery (ms. P 2787.1-154: Bailey, KT II, pp. 101-7; tr. and comm. by Bailey, 1965). Another eulogy of King Viśa’ Saṃgrāma is found at the beginning of a verse letter (ms. Or. 8212.162.14-36: Bailey, KT II, pp. 1-3; SDTV I, pp. 19-20, 25, and 29-30, with tr. and comm., and facs. in SD I, pls. ix-x; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 45-47, with tr.).

Apart from a long list of cities of Eastern Central Asia in the Staël-Holstein roll (see below), the only known geographical text is the so-called Itinerary, a description of a southward journey through Gilgit and Chilās to Kashmir, at that time under the rule of King Abhimanyugupta (r. 958-72), who is mentioned in the text (ms. Ch. i.0021a.b: Bailey, KT II, pp. 55-57; ed. Bailey, 1936, with tr. and comm.; Bailey, SDTV I, pp. 70-73, with tr. and comm., and facs. in SD II, pls. lii-lvi; Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 524-26, with tr.; cf. Morgenstierne, 1942, pp. 269-71).

Medical texts belong to the Indian Āyurvedic tradition, which spread in Central Asia along with Buddhism. In fact, the Vyadhipraśamanaparivarta (Chapter on healing illness) of the Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra refers to principles similar to those of Āyurvedic medicine (Nobel, 1951). Fragments of medical texts and substantial portions of prose translations of two Sanskrit metrical treatises are extant: the Siddhasāra of Ravigupta and the Jīvakapustaka. For the fragments see Emmerick, 1992b, p. 45; the St. Petersburg fragments SI P 45.1-3 and SI P 102 b4-15 are now published in Emmerick and Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, SD VII, pls. 23-25 and 105, and SDTV III, pp. 36-37 and 134-35; four unpublished fragments from a single medical text in the Crosby collection are reported by Emmerick, 1992a, p. 673, and 1993, p. 59); an unidentified text on poultices is contained in mss. P 2893.32-267 + Ch. 00265, that once formed one single manuscript (see Maggi, 2008).

The Late Khotanese Jīvakapustaka is known from an incomplete Sanskrit-Khotanese bilingual manuscript of 71 folios, presumably from the 10th century (ms. Ch. ii.003: Bailey, KT I, pp. 136-95; ed. Konow, 1941, with tr. and glossary). The work is an otherwise unknown compilation of prescriptions taken from various sources (see Emmerick, 1979, pp. 235-37) and organized by type of preparation in four complementary chapters introduced by the Sanskrit auspicious formula siddham ‘success’ and devoted respectively to an antidote, to drugs mixed with ghee, to drugs mixed with sesame oil, and to powders. The Khotanese version is based on the corrupt Sanskrit, which the translator could not fully understand (Emmerick, 1979, p. 243).

A Late Khotanese version of Ravigupta’s Siddhasāra (about 650 CE; Emmerick, 1975-76) is contained in 64 of the 65 folios of manuscript Ch. ii.002, whose fol. 100 contains a different medical text (Bailey, KT I, pp. 1-104; facs. in Bailey, 1938, pp. 1-67; cf. Emmerick, 1980-82). Ms. P 2892 is a variant of fols. 5-14 (Bailey, KT V, pp. 315-24). Of the original thirty-one chapters, the still extant ones are those on the theoretical foundations (1), drugs (2), food (up to 3.26.12), piles and genital fistulae (from 13.27), yellow disease (14), hiccoughs and uncomfortable breathing (15.1 and 15.15-23), swollen testicles (18.53), dry excrement and heart diseases (19), madness and epilepsy (20), diseases due to wind (one of the three humors of Indian medicine together with bile and phlegm) and rheumatism (21), liquor disease (22), erysipelas (23), swellings (24), healing wounds (25), and diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, teeth, and throat (26.0-68 and 26.75-90). The Khotanese version, presumably from the 10th century CE, contains an introduction in verse (ed. Emmerick, 1983, 19-21, with tr.), from which we know that the work was translated from Tibetan—though the translator also consulted the Sanskrit original and corrected mistakes in the Tibetan version (Emmerick, 1971)—in order to improve medical knowledge and public health in the country.

No grammatical work is known. Among the texts from Dunhuang, however, there are a word list and a few bilingual texts that originated presumably from the need felt by members of the Khotanese community in Dunhuang (on which see Kumamoto, 1996b) to acquire some knowledge of foreign languages for practical purposes. The word list is a Turkish-Khotanese bilingual, which arranges systematically, and partially glosses in Khotanese, Old Turkish words for parts of the body and technical terms concerned with archery and horse equipment, presumably to be used in military instruction (ms. P 2892.166-85: Bailey, KT III, pp. 81-82; ed. Emmerick and Róna-Tas, 1992, with tr., comm., indexes, facs., and ref. to earlier literature). The most extensive bilingual text is a veritable conversation manual and contains Sanskrit words and sentences followed by a Khotanese rendering (ms. P 5538b.9-87: Bailey, KT III, pp. 121-24; ed. Kumamoto, 1988, with tr., comm., and glossaries). The other bilingual texts are short collections of sentences and a few single words in Chinese, in Brāhmī script with Khotanese translation (mss. Ch. 00271.2-5, Or. 8212.162.1-12, P 2927.4-25 and S 5212a: Bailey, KT II, pp. 1 and 49, and KT III, pp. 103 and 136; see also Bailey, SD I, pl. ix, and SDTV I, pp. 17-19; Takata, 1988, pp. 197, 203-7, 217-27, and 435-37; and Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 44-45 and 515; and cf. Kumamoto, 1996b, pp. 94-96).

While literary texts provide us with information on the culture and religious beliefs of the Khotanese, a considerable number of secular documents, which are written on paper and, more rarely, on wood, refer to contemporary persons and events, and thus give us glimpses into the society, daily life, and the political situation in Khotan, mainly in the 8th-10th centuries. Unlike many literary texts, the documents are particularly difficult to interpret because, apart from a few bilingual documents, they are not translations of texts known to us in other languages. Furthermore, practically all of them are written in Late Khotanese, a common feature of which is the dropping of syllables, especially the final ones, with the consequent shortening of the inflectional endings; and they contain some words and a great many names and titles from Chinese, Old Turkish, and Tibetan that are hard to recognize when adapted to Khotanese phonology and spelling conventions. Khotanese documents are mostly kept in London (Hoernle and Stein collections: ed. Bailey, KT II and V, partly SDTV I, with tr. and comm.; and Skjærvø, SDTV VI, with tr.), Paris (Pelliot collection: ed. Bailey, KT II, partly SDTV I, with tr. and comm.), Stockholm (Hedin collection: ed. Bailey, KT IV, with tr. and comm., partly SDTV I, with tr. and comm.), and St. Petersburg (Petrovskiĭ, Oldenburg, Malov, and Strelkov collections: ed. Emmerick and Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, SDTV III, with tr.). New documents have also come to light in recent years (see Emmerick, 1984; Duan Qing and Wang Binghua, 1997). On the documents in general, see Kumamoto, 1982, pp. 2-36; Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, 1992a, pp. 44-75; and Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. lxv-lxviii, lxxiv-lxxviii. The documents can be divided into two chronological groups: the ones found in the Khotan area (on which see Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, 1992b; Kumamoto, 1996a; Yoshida, 2006 and 2007), which probably go from the 5th to the beginning of the 9th century but belong mostly to the 8th century, and the ones discovered at Dunhuang, which are often much lengthier and date to the 10th and perhaps in part to the 9th century. Among the extant documents there are originals and copies or drafts. Miscellaneous manuscripts may contain one or more document copies or drafts and even literary texts. Thus, the Staël-Holstein miscellaneous roll, which is said to come from Dunhuang and whose present whereabouts is unknown, contains, besides two versions of a Tibetan document, three Khotanese documents dated 925 CE and nine lyrical verses in Khotanese (Bailey, KT II, pp. 72-76; ed. Thomas and Konow, 1929, with tr., comm., and facs.; Bailey, 1951, with tr. and comm.; cf. Pulleyblank, 1954; Hamilton, 1958, with ref. to earlier literature; and Hamilton 1977, pp. 515-21). The colophons and the rarer introductions that are found in a number of literary manuscripts, including the Khotanese colophons of the Kashgar manuscript of the Sanskrit Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra (see Emmerick, 1974b, and Bailey in Lokesh Chandra, 1976, pp. 1-2 and 430) are also of historical interest and comparable to documents, as they are sometimes dated according to the regnal years of the Khotanese kings and contribute to our knowledge of Khotanese prosopography (see Bailey, 1944; Dresden, 1955, pp. 403-4 with n. 21; and Sander, 1988).

Khotanese documents, a few of which are Chinese-Khotanese bilinguals (see Kumamoto, 2001 and 2007, for the St. Petersburg ones), are typologically quite varied (see Kumamoto, 1996a, and Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. lxxiv-lxxv). Besides several private letters (pīḍaka-; e.g., ms. M.T. a.i.0033 addressed by a man to his wife: Bailey, KT II, p. 71; facs. Stein, 1921, pl. cli; ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, SDTV I, pp. 73-74, with facs. in SD III, pls. lv, lxix; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 270-71), numerous official letters are preserved, which include messages from superior to subordinate officials (parau- “order,” e.g., ms. Hedin 3: ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, KT IV, pp. 22, 67-71), messages between peers (parmäcā-, lit. “exchange,” e.g., ms. D. v.4: Bailey KT V, p. 259; ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, SDTV I, pp. 42-43, with facs. in SD I, pls. xix-xx; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 560; see Yoshida, 2007, pp. 465-67), messages from inferior to superior officials (haṣḍi- “report, petition,” e.g., ms. Hedin 2.1-7 addressed to a ṣṣau official and followed by the ṣṣau’s order as a reply to it: ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, KT IV, pp. 21-22, 61-67) and messages to religious superiors (vīñatti- “report,” ultimately from Skt. vijñapti-, or haṣḍi-, e.g., ms. Hedin 7 and 7v respectively: ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, KT IV, pp. 25-26, 82-92). Among the messages to subordinate persons there is a highly formal letter of the king of Khotan (ms. P 5538a: Bailey, KT II, pp. 125-29; tr. and comm. Bailey, 1964b, pp. 17-26; ed. and tr. Bailey, SDTV I, pp. 58-61, with facs. in SD II, pls. xxx-xxxviii). Many orders and petitions are about administrative matters, but a number of petitions to and orders by various officials deal with legal cases and disputes (gvāra-). Legal documents (pīḍaka-, pāḍā-) include purchase contracts (gärya-vāḍā-, e.g., ms. Or. 6397/1 = Hoernle 7: Bailey, KT II, p. 66; facs. Hoernle, 1897, pl. v; ed. and tr. Bailey, SDTV I, p. 54, with facs. in SD II, pl. xxviii; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 9), promissory notes (pāra-vastua- (pīḍaka-), e.g., ms. Or. 6397/2: Bailey, KT V, pp. 5-6; ed. and tr. Bailey, SDTV I, p. 55, with facs. in SD II, pl. xxviii; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 9-10), adoption contracts (perm(y)a-vāḍa-, e.g. ms. Or. 9268B: Bailey, KT II, p. 14; ed., tr., and comm. Bailey, SDTV I, pp. 6-9, with facs. in SD I, pls. iv-v; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 68-69; see Skjærvø, forthcoming and other contracts. Economic documents comprise vouchers (kṣau-, from Chinese chao [Mathews, nos. 255 and 258], e.g. ms. Or. 6396/1: Bailey, KT V, p. 4; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 7-8; see Bailey, KT IV, p. 55), receipts for goods (e.g., mss. Or. 9611/a-i and Or. 9612: ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 77-78) or money (e.g. ms. Hardinge 073 I.1: Bailey, KT V, p. 272; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 123), and account books (e.g. ms. P 2024, a commercial document recording expenses and incomes in terms of rolls of cloth used as a monetary unit: see Kumamoto, 1995, pp. 230-38), including a monastic account book (ms. SI P 103.52: ed. and tr. Emmerick and Vorob’ëva-Desjatovskaja, SDTV III, pp. 157-59, with facs. in SD VII, pl. 126; see Emmerick, 1996). Administrative documents include records and registers regarding water rights (e.g., ms. Kha. ix.61, 62, 62a: Bailey, KT V, p. 187; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 564), recipients of grain, etc. (e.g., ms. M.T. 094: ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 60-61), debtors (e.g., ms. Har. 060: ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 41), taxpayers (e.g., ms. Har. 057: ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, p. 41), tax collectors (e.g., ms. Kha. ii.3: Bailey, KT V, p. 174; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 571-72), lists of names of people eligible for guard service and other corvée work (e.g., ms. Or. 11344/1: Bailey, KT II, pp. 30-31; ed. and tr. Skjærvø, SDTV VI, pp. 104-6), and more.

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Idem, “Brāhmī Scripts on the Eastern Silk Roads,” Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik 11-12, 1986, pp. 159-92.

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(Mauro Maggi)

Originally Published: July 28, 2008

Last Updated: July 28, 2008