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At a lonely place, in a remote hermitage somewhere in the Himālaya, the god Śiva is teaching Tantric worship to his humiliated sons, who want to regain their divine status: “You should worship the goddess Mahāmāyā Kālikā”. Remarkable are his ‘talks’ about preliminary rituals, mudrās, and animal as well as human sacrifice. The Tantric Teachings form the inner core of the Kālikā Purāna, i.e. ‘Old Stories about Kālikā’, composed by a learned Brāhmin about a thousand years ago in Kāmarūpa (Assam). Careful listening to the text has been my first priority when presenting the relevant passages in text and translation.
Asian Studies for Albert Hoffstädt
Albert Hoffstädt, a classicist by training and polylingual humanist by disposition, has for 25 years been the editor chiefly responsible for the development and acquisition of manuscripts in Asian Studies for Brill. During that time he has shepherded over 700 books into print and has distinguished himself as a figure of exceptional discernment and insight in academic publishing. He has also become a personal friend to many of his authors. A subset of these authors here offers to him in tribute and gratitude 22 essays on various topics in Asian Studies. These include studies on premodern Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean literature, history, and religion, extending also into the modern and contemporary periods. They display the broad range of Mr. Hoffstädt's interests while presenting some of the most outstanding scholarship in Asian Studies today.
Author: Jacob Cawthorne
Letters without Capitals: Texts and Practices in Kim Mun (Yao) Culture examines the writing culture of Kim Mun communities in Southeast Asia and China. The Kim Mun, who belong to the Yao ethnic group, are renowned for their Daoist religious practices and religious texts written in Chinese script. This work takes an unpublished Kim Mun letter that was composed in Laos and sent to Vietnam as its centrepiece. Through an analysis of the letter, one which uses ethnographic accounts of Kim Mun communities and studies of Kim Mun literary and religious texts, it demonstrates that writing is a cultural technology that primarily serves the purposes of the Kim Mun themselves, rather than being an artefact of historical and cultural relationships of dependency on external state institutions or religious constituencies. This has broad implications regarding our understanding of how writing can be adapted and deployed by minority communities on and beyond the margins of the state and of the underlying relationships between writing, identity and power.
Codicological and Historical Studies of an Archaeological Find in Mustang, Nepal
In 2008, an international team of climbers discovered a large collection of Tibetan manuscripts in a cave complex called Mardzong, in Nepal’s remote Mustang district. The following year, the entire cache—over five thousand folios from some sixty different works of the Buddhist and Bön religions, some more than seven centuries old—were removed to the safe keeping of a monastery, where they were later examined by experts from different disciplines. This book is the result of their findings. The authors present what they have been able to discover about the content of these manuscripts, their age, the materials with which they were made, the patrons who commissioned them and the scribes and artists who created them.

Contributors include: Agnieszka Helman-Ważny, Charles Ramble, Nyima Drandul Gurung, Naljor Tsering, Sarah Skumanov, Emilie Arnaud-Nguyen and Bazhen Zeren
Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India
In Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India, Elizabeth A. Cecil explores the sacred geography of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the Pāśupatas. This book brings the narrative cartography of the Skandapurāṇa into conversation with physical landscapes, inscriptions, monuments, and icons in order to examine the ways in which Pāśupatas were emplaced in regional landscapes and to emphasize the use of material culture as media through which notions of belonging and identity were expressed. By exploring the ties between the formation of early Pāśupata communities and the locales in which they were embedded, this study reflects critically upon the ways in which community building was coincident with place-making in Early Medieval India.
Studies in the Cultural History of India
Author: Hans T. Bakker
The 31 selected and revised articles in the volume Holy Ground: Where Art and Text Meet, written by Hans Bakker between 1986 and 2016, vary from theoretical subjects to historical essays on the classical culture of India. They combine two mainstreams: the Sanskrit textual tradition, including epigraphy, and the material culture as expressed in works of religious art and iconography. The study of text and art in close combination in the actual field where they meet provides a great potential for understanding. The history of holy places is therefore one of the leitmotivs that binds these studies together.
One article, "The Ramtek Inscriptions II", was co-authored by Harunaga Isaacson, two articles, on "Moksadharma 187 and 239–241" and "The Quest for the Pasupata Weapon," by Peter C. Bisschop.
Author: John T. P. Lai
Literary Representations of Christianity in Late Qing and Republican China contributes to the “literary turn” in the study of Chinese Christianity by foregrounding the importance of literary texts, including the major genres of Chinese Christian literature (novels, drama and poetry) of the late Qing and Republican periods. These multifarious types of texts demonstrated the multiple representations and dynamic scenes of Christianity, where Christian imageries and symbolism were transformed by linguistic manipulation into new contextualized forms which nurtured distinctive new fruits of literature and modernized the literary landscape of Chinese literature. The study of the composition and poetics of Chinese Christian literary works helps us rediscover the concerns, priorities, textual strategies of the Christian writers, the cross-cultural challenges involved, and the reception of the Bible.
Author: David J. Gundry
The first monograph published in English on Ihara Saikaku’s fiction, David J. Gundry’s lucid, compelling study examines the tension reflected in key works by Edo-period Japan’s leading writer of ‘floating world’ literature between the official societal hierarchy dictated by the Tokugawa shogunate’s hereditary status-group system and the era’s de facto, fluid, wealth-based social hierarchy. The book’s nuanced, theoretically engaged explorations of Saikaku’s narratives’ uses of irony and parody demonstrate how these often function to undermine their own narrators' intermittent moralizing. Gundry also analyzes these texts’ depiction of the fleeting pleasures of love, sex, wealth and consumerism as Buddhistic object lessons in the illusory nature of phenomenal reality, the mastery of which leads to a sort of enlightenment.
Editor: István Keul
The essays in the volume Consecration Rituals in South Asia address the ritual procedures that accompany the installation of temple images in Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain contexts, in various traditions and historical periods. Through the performance of complex rites designated with the term pranapratishtha (establishment of, or infusion with, life), man-made sculptures are ritually transformed into (receptacles of) deities. The collection is thematically and methodically broad, with a large number of detailed textual studies, but also with ethnographic contributions that discuss contemporary instances of consecration rituals. Among the overarching themes are issues related to historical continuity and change, as well as transformational moments in such rituals.

Contributors are: Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret, Marzenna Czerniak-Drożdżowicz, Ronald M. Davidson, Shingo Einoo, Marko Geslani, Dominic Goodall, Ellen Gough, István Keul, Elisabeth Raddock, S.A.S Sarma, Anna A. Ślączka, Annette Wilke.
Author: Zornica Kirkova
In Roaming into the Beyond Zornica Kirkova provides the first detailed study in a Western language of Daoism-inspired themes in early medieval Chinese poetry. She examines representations of Daoist xian immortality in a broad range of versified literature from the Han until the end of the Six Dynasties, focusing on the transformations of themes, concepts, and imagery within a wide literary and religious context. Adopting a more integrated approach, the author explores both the complex interaction between poetry and Daoist religion and the interrelations between various verse forms and poetic themes. This book not only enhances our understanding of the complexities of early medieval literature but also reevaluates the place of Daoist religious thought in the intellectual life of the period.