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Lost Dunhuang Tibetan Documents Published by China, France and UK
2005-05-12

The Dunhuang Chinese historical documents, which were lost overseas and returned to China through publication in the 1980's, will once again return to China through publication. The signing ceremony of the Dunhuang Tibetan Documents jointly published by the Northwest University of Nationalities, the National Library of France, the National Library of The UK and Shanghai Classic Publishing House was held in Beijing recently.

It is said that the Dunhuang Tibetan documents contain the most valuable historical data and that the collection of documents in the National Library of France and the National Library of The UK are the most important ancient ethnic documents of large quantity ever lost overseas.

Since the 1990's, domestic experts have mainly concentrated on compiling and publishing the Dunhuang Chinese documents and the representative work of this period is 15 volumes from the British collection of Dunhuang documents compiled by the National Library of the UK and 17 volumes from the Russian collection of Dunhuang documents as well as 34 volumes from the French collection of Dunhuang and Western Region Documents.

In the 21st century, with most Chinese historical documents in Dunhuang and the Western Region already published, the Tibetan documents, which play the most important role in ancient ethnic writings, have aroused the curiosities of domestic academic and publishing circles. The Northwest University of Nationalities, which set up the earliest Overseas Ethnic Documents Institute in China, undertook the mission of compiling, researching and publishing Chinese ethnic ancient documents preserved in various overseas museums. They are now working together with Shanghai Classic Publishing House for the research, compilation and publication of the Dunhuang Tibetan documents, and have reached an agreement with the National Library of France and the National Library of The UK for the preparation of an official publication of the French collection of Dunhuang Tibetan documents, the French collection of ethnic documents and the British collection of Dunhuang Tibetan documents.

It is reported that the current publication of Tibetan documents is much more difficult than that of Chinese documents in terms of its scale and academic aspects. The entire project is expected to be completed within two to three years and experts believe that this will be another crucial development for the studies of Dunhuang.

Peoples Daily


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