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Writing, painting and sketching at Dunhuang: assessing the materiality and function of early Tibetan manuscripts and ritual items

  • The paintings and manuscripts discovered in the sealed ‘library cave’ in Dunhuang, Western China, contain the earliest surviving examples of Tibetan artistic and scribal practice (9the10th centuries AD). Despite their importance, their material characteristics have not previously been studied. The present paper discusses the results of the analysis of paper and pigments in a selection of items across a variety of forms and functions: (i) Buddhist manuscripts, (ii) official letters, (iii) hung paintings, (iv) ritual items, (v) banners, and (vi) stencils and preliminary sketches. The material analysis of these items is presented in historical context, to address three research questions. First, whether there is a correspondence between the materials used in the creation of these objects and their geographical origin. Second, in terms of the choices made in the available materials and techniques, whether there is a detectable correlation between materials chosen and the intended functionThe paintings and manuscripts discovered in the sealed ‘library cave’ in Dunhuang, Western China, contain the earliest surviving examples of Tibetan artistic and scribal practice (9the10th centuries AD). Despite their importance, their material characteristics have not previously been studied. The present paper discusses the results of the analysis of paper and pigments in a selection of items across a variety of forms and functions: (i) Buddhist manuscripts, (ii) official letters, (iii) hung paintings, (iv) ritual items, (v) banners, and (vi) stencils and preliminary sketches. The material analysis of these items is presented in historical context, to address three research questions. First, whether there is a correspondence between the materials used in the creation of these objects and their geographical origin. Second, in terms of the choices made in the available materials and techniques, whether there is a detectable correlation between materials chosen and the intended function of the objects. Third, whether the characteristics of the objects analysed here be considered to be part of a broader Central Asian artistic and scribal culture. The authors conclude that a local culture of paper and pigment production can be detected in these results, though further research is needed especially on the geographical origin of raw materials for pigments. The results show that artists and scribes made technological choices in paper and pigments depending on the function of the objects they were creating. Finally, understanding of the broader Central Asian context of these results will depend on future analysis of material from other archaeological sites, and comparison with the results of this study.zeige mehrzeige weniger

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Metadaten
Autoren/innen:S. van Schaik, A. Helman-Wazny, Renate Nöller
Dokumenttyp:Zeitschriftenartikel
Veröffentlichungsform:Verlagsliteratur
Sprache:Englisch
Titel des übergeordneten Werkes (Deutsch):Journal of Archaeological Science
Jahr der Erstveröffentlichung:2014
Organisationseinheit der BAM:4 Material und Umwelt
4 Material und Umwelt / 4.5 Kunst- und Kulturgutanalyse
Verlag:Elsevier Ltd.
Jahrgang/Band:53
Erste Seite:110
Letzte Seite:132
DDC-Klassifikation:Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / Chemie / Analytische Chemie
Freie Schlagwörter:Fibre analysis; Tibetan Dunhuang manuscripts; VIS; XRF
Themenfelder/Aktivitätsfelder der BAM:Analytical Sciences
Analytical Sciences / Spurenanalytik und chemische Zusammensetzung
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.09.018
Verfügbarkeit des Volltexts:Volltext-PDF im Netzwerk der BAM verfügbar ("Closed Access")
Datum der Freischaltung:25.04.2018
Referierte Publikation:Nein