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Bonpo Manuscript Culture:
Towards a Definition of an Emerging Field
Part 2

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
10 - 11 March 2017


Although a number of important xylographic editions of Bon texts are known to have existed, for the most part this religion has demonstrated a much more marked preference than Tibetan Buddhism has for manuscript works. Manuscripts account for the entire range of Bonpo literary production, from all the major canonical works to the collected writing of famous masters, and the plethora of ritual texts that are coming to light in many parts of the region. Manuscripts have been essential in supporting the efforts of Bon monks, nuns and hereditary priests to preserve their unique culture, as well as the attempts of scholars elsewhere to understand not only the Bon religion but also the early cultural and intellectual history of Central Asia.
Research on the Bonpo literary corpus is still very much in its infancy. Wherever Bon manuscripts have been found, the focus has been on making the material accessible, in either printed or digital form, but little else. The long-standing interest in Buddhism and the preservation of cultural heritage, combined with the more recent focus on the conservation of manuscript collections within Tibet and the Himalayas, has triggered a wave of interest in the codicological, historical and anthropological study of Tibetan book culture. However, Bon manuscripts have not yet been clearly identified as a distinct corpus, or formed the object of codicological and material studies.
The previous workshop was intended primarily as an open-ended discussion on the existing collections of Bon manuscripts which, besides providing a textual record of history and religion, are also material objects that belong to a sustainable cultural world heritage. In this follow-up workshop we intend to refine and formulate these preliminary ideas into a research programme. Along the same lines, we would like to continue an interdisciplinary discussion that will make it possible to see Bon manuscripts in the wider perspective of manuscript studies. The participants are specialists in different academic disciplines, and will present their research on a variety of topics including different collections of Bon manuscripts, “emic” Bonpo ideas about their textual traditions, the science and technology of book studies, inter alia. Following peer review we aim to publish our contributions within the De Gruyter series Studies in Manuscript Cultures.


Download Programme (update 27.02.2017)


The workshop will be held at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany. How to find us


Participation is free of charge and vistors are welcome.

You may find the Hamburg Tourismus site useful for finding a suitable accommodation.
For more information please contact us.