Inscribing the corpus: Scribal and ritual practice in the material culture of dunhuang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Qualities of the written sign impact the process of parsing a text, of making it accessible for vision, contemplation, recitation, and memory. In this article, I approach the manuscript as a visual field ordered by the configuration, combination, and differentiation of marks. This approach considers the particular challenges and potentialities that the space of the manuscript presents to a scribe as well as to a reader and how this blurs the boundaries between text and image. Through a case study of a Tibetan ritual manual, I illuminate the act of inscription as a technology with material, ritual, mnemonic, and pedagogical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-137
Number of pages25
JournalNumen
Volume67
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Art history
  • Buddhism
  • Dunhuang
  • Esoteric drawings
  • Manuscript culture
  • Ritual writing
  • Scribal practice
  • Tibetan Buddhism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies

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