by Hye-jin Juhn, East Asian Studies Librarian
The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired two resources that serve as important scholarly sources for those who study Chinese/Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist art. These resources are the highly-regarded 1970s reprints of original publications from the 1920s:
The Thousand Buddhas: Ancient Buddhist Paintings from the Cave-temples of Tun-huang on the Western Frontier of China. Recovered and described by Sir Aurel Stein, with an introductory essay by Laurence Binyon
This Tokyo reprint (1978) was praised by Dr. W. Pachow, a Chinese Buddhist scholar, as a “extraordinary” and “very valuable.” His review that appeared on The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies in 1981 is a worthy introduction to the resource that includes a detailed description of the size and composition of the folio and its contents. Also important to note is Dr. Pachow’s point about a few unintended misinterpretations by Sir Aurel Stein who did not understand Chinese.
Die buddhistische Spätantike in Mittelasien: Ergebnisse der Kgl. preussischen Turfan-Expeditionen (Postancient Buddhist Culture in Central Asia: Results of the Royal Prussian Turfan-Expedition). Records of items recovered and described by Albert von Le Coq.
This 1973-1975 print of the original Berlin edition (1922-1933) consists of seven volumes. Detailed descriptions about the first five volumes are available online.
The publications symbolically represent the early 20th century history of the Silk Road where long-lost cultural relics were discovered and then disappeared again, some of them permanently. Peter Hopkirk’s Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia is a classic that tells of of the brave expeditions the above authors are credited with (or the blatant exploitation that they are accused of).
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