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A Codicological Study of Iranian and Turkic Illuminated Book Fragments from 8th-11th Century East Central Asia
Mediaeval Manichean Book Art focuses on a corpus of c. one hundred fragments of exquisitely illuminated manuscripts that were produced under the patronage of the Turkic-speaking Uygurs in the Turfan region of East Central Asia between the 8th and 11th centuries CE, and used in service of the local Manichaean church. By applying a codicological approach to the analysis of these sources, this study casts light onto a lost episode of Central Asian art history and religious book culture.
Each of the five chapters in this book accomplishes a well-defined goal. The first justifies the formation of the corpus. The second examines its dating on the basis of scientific and historical evidence. Chapter three assesses the artistry of their bookmakers, scribes, and illuminators. The fourth documents the patterns of page layout preserved on the fragments. The final chapter analyses the contextual relationship of their painted and written contents.
Mediaeval Manichaean Book Art represents a pioneer study in its subject, research methodology, and illustrations. It extracts codicological and art historical data from torn remains of lavishly decorated Middle-Persian, Sogdian, and Uygur language manuscripts in codex, scroll, and “palm-leaf” formats. Through detailed analyses and carefully argued interpretations aided by precise computer drawings, the author introduces an important group of primary sources for future comparative research in Central Asian art, mediaeval book illumination, and Manichaean studies.
The Didactic Images of the Manichaeans from Sasanian Mesopotamia to Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China
The founder of Manichaeism, Mani (216-274/277 CE), not only wrote down his teachings to prevent their adulteration, but also created a set of paintings—the Book of Pictures—to be used in the context of oral instruction. That pictorial handscroll and its later editions became canonical art for Mani's followers for a millennium afterwards. This richly illustrated study systematically explores the artistic culture of religious instruction of the Manichaeans based on textual and artistic evidence. It discusses the doctrinal themes (soteriology, prophetology, theology, and cosmology) depicted in Mani’s canonical pictures. Moreover, it identifies 10th-century fragments of canonical picture books, as well as select didactic images adapted to other, non-canonical art objects (murals, hanging scrolls, mortuary banners, and illuminated liturgical manuscripts) in Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China.

This study explores a previously overlooked aspect of the Mesopotamian context of the synagogue at Dura-Europos. It considers the function of the Jewish murals together with that of the contemporaneous pictorial art of the Manichaeans and thus brings a fundamentally new perspective to the most famous and commented-upon aspect of the synagogue. While the archeological records of the painted synagogue are silent, various characteristics of the mid-third-century Manichaean paintings are documented in literary records, including what they portrayed and the pedagogical reasons for how and why they were used. As evidenced by Iranian, Coptic, and Syriac textual sources from between the mid 3rd and the late 4th/early 5th centuries, the founding prophet of Manichaeism, Mani (active from 240 to 274 or 277 C. E.), wrote down his teachings and commissioned visual representations of them on a solely pictorial scroll – the Book of Pictures – used for oral instructions while missionizing across greater West Asia and the East Mediterranean region. When accessed together, the available evidence demonstrates that correlations between the religious function of Durene Jewish and Sasanian Manichaean art go beyond surface similarities: they both displayed a visual library of doctrinal subjects, that is, they capture in the pictorial form a large sample of core tenets, which were also recorded in the sacred texts of their respective religions; and they both fulfilled a primarily instructional role since their scenes were sermonized about and discussed in light of living interpretations.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: Mani in Dublin
In: In Search of Truth. Augustine, Manichaeism and other Gnosticism
In: Mani's Pictures
In: Mani's Pictures
In: Mani's Pictures