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Silk Road Studies (SRS 20)
A. Helman-Wazny, C. Ramble
The Mustang Archives
Analysis of Handwritten Documents via the Study of Papermaking Traditions in Nepal

approx. 360 p., 200 colour ill., 4 b/w tables, 210 x 297 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58534-5
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (05/2021)
Retail price: approx. EUR 120,00 excl. tax
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The book explores locally-produced documents from private and community archives of Mustang, Nepal. These documents are an important corpus of material for the reconstruction of Mustang’s social history, and are also an extremely valuable source of knowledge about local paper- and book-production.

The proposed book explores locally-produced documents from Mustang, Nepal, mostly dated to the year within the last two centuries. The archives are from five communities: Tshognam, Geling, Lubrak, and Jharkot. The documents were preserved in wooden or metal boxes, baskets or bags as a loose assemblage of folded sheets of paper. Some of the collections are from private households, whereas others are the communal property of villages, in which case they could be opened and photographed only in the presence of community representatives. The documents are of several different kinds, including contracts, petitions, edicts, letters, dispute resolutions, tax records and community regulations. Besides being an important source of information for the reconstruction of Mustang’s social history, are an extremely valuable source of knowledge about local paper- and book-production. It is not only their content but their material that provides information essential to tracing a past history, clarifying, among other things, the economic factors that shaped their production.

Dr. Agnieszka Helman-Ważny (Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany and the Department of Books and Media History, Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland) is a paper scientist and the author or co-author of four books and more than forty scholarly articles, including The Archaeology of Tibetan Books (Brill 2014) and Codicology, Paleography, and Orthography of Early Tibetan Documents: Methods and a Case Study (Universität Wien 2017, co-authored with Brandon Dotson). Her main research focuses on the history of the regional production and usage of paper and books in Tibet and Central Asia. Using interdisciplinary methods in collaboration with private collectors, museum curators, Tibetan artisans, as well as personal experience in “experimental manuscriptology,” Dr. Helman-Ważny’s work is concerned with establishing paper typologies, and applying modern technologies in the identification and dating of premodern non-western manuscripts, including the Dunhuang manuscripts.

Prof. Charles Ramble

is directeur d’études in the History and Philology Section of the École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL University, Paris, and director of the Tibetan Studies research team of the Centre for Research on East Asian Civilisations (CRCAO). From 2000 to 2010 he held the position of University Lecturer in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies that had recently been established at the University of Oxford, UK, with which he remains associated as a University Research Lecturer. From 2006 to 2013 he was President of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. He is currently director of the European Society for the Study of Himalayan and Central Asian Civilisations (SEECHAC) and co-director of the ANR/DFG-funded research project “Social Status in the Tibetan World”. His book publications include The Navel of the Demoness: Tibetan Buddhism and Civil Religion in Highland Nepal (2008) as well as three volumes in a series entitled Tibetan Sources for a Social History of Mustang (Nepal), (2008, 2015, 2019).
Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Methods: A cross-disciplinary approach
Chapter 2. A brief history of Mustang and its religious environment.
Chapter 3. Local archives under study: histories and geographical locations.
Chapter 4. Archival documents as a part of the tangible Cultural Heritage of Mustang.
Chapter 5. Codicological study of the documents.
Chapter 6. Tibetan papermaking traditions in Nepal: A transfer of technological knowledge in Central Asian history.
Chapter 7. Paper of Mustang: A history from scratch.

Appendix 1. Template for the descriptions of documents.
Appendix 2. Document content summaries with basic codicological descriptions.
Appendix 3. Summaries of interviews with papermakers, craftsmen and traders. (web lines with interviews itself)
Interest Classification:
Book History, Manuscript Studies & Palaeography

This publication is also distributed by: ISD
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