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The historical importance of the Chinese fragments from Dunhuang in the British Library

Rong Xinjiang


THE Dunhuang materials obtained by Sir Aurel Stein during his second and third expeditions were divided between the British Museum, the India Office and the Indian government (this final section now being in the National Museum, New Delhi). However, most of the written material remained in Britain. When the British Library separated from the British Museum in 1973 the paintings were retained by the Museum but written materials in Chinese and other languages were deposited in the Oriental Department of the British Library. In the first part of this century, Dr Lionel Giles, Keeper of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts at the British Museum, catalogued the Chinese and some bilingual manuscripts, and printed Chinese documents. His Descriptive Catalogue of the Chinese Manuscripts from Tun-huang in the British Museum was published in 1957.^ It covered Stein manuscript numbers Or. 8210/S.1-^980, and printed documents. Or. 8210/P.1-19, from the second and third expeditions. The Chinese Academy of Science obtained microfilm copies of these manuscripts and Liu Mingshu also completed a catalogue of S.1-6980, which was published in 1962.^ Until recently, only this group of manuscripts had been fully studied.

Four unpublished paintings from Dunhuang in the Oriental Collections of the British Library (PDF format), 5MB

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