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Benedek Péri

Edited by Benedek Péri

The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was established in 1826. Its collection of Persian manuscripts is the most comprehensive set of its kind in Hungary. The volumes were produced in four major cultural centres of the Persianate world, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, Central Asia and India during a span of time that extends from the 14th to the 19th century. Collected mainly by enthusiastic private collectors and acknowledged scholars the manuscripts have preserved several unique texts or otherwise interesting copies of well-known works. Though the bulk of the collection has been part of Library holdings for almost a century, the present volume is the first one to describe these manuscripts in a detailed and systematic way.

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Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila

Khwadāynāmag. The Middle Persian Book of Kings by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila analyses the lost sixth-century historiographical work of the Sasanians, drawing on a large number of Middle Persian, Greek, Arabic, and Classical Persian sources.

The Khwadāynāmag is often conceived of as a large book of stories, comparable to Firdawsī's Shāhnāme, but Hämeen-Anttila convincingly shows that it was a concise and dry chronicle. He also studies the lost Arabic translations of the book, which turn out to be fewer than hitherto thought, as well as the sources of Firdawsī's Shāhnāme, showing that the latter was only remotely related to the Khwadāynāmag. It also becomes clear that there were no separate "priestly" and "royal" Khwadāynāmags.

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Agnieszka Helman-Ważny

In Archaeology of Tibetan Books, Agnieszka Helman-Ważny explores the varieties of artistic expression, materials, and tools that have shaped Tibetan books over the millennia. Digging into the history of the bookmaking craft, the author approaches these ancient texts primarily through the lens of their artistry, while simultaneously showing them as physical objects embedded in pragmatic, economic, and social frameworks. She provides analyses of several significant Tibetan books—which usually carry Buddhist teachings—including a selection of manuscripts from Dunhuang from the 1st millennium C.E., examples of illuminated manuscripts from Western and Central Tibet dating from the 15th century, and fragments of printed Tibetan Kanjurs from as early as 1410. This detailed study of bookmaking sheds new light on the books' philosophical meanings.