[INDOLOGY] scribal self-recitation while copying

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 00:54:58 UTC 2013

I haven't read Data's 1971 article, but in the other citations I don't
recall detailed documentation for the interesting 4-5 modes of copying and
3 types of copyists that you mention.  Could you point to the documented
evidence for each, please?

Many thanks,
Dominik Wujastyk

On 24 July 2013 14:28, Tyler Williams <tylerwwilliams at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
> There is, of course, quite a bit of variation in scribal practices over
> time and region; at various places and times there is documented evidence
> of, or oblique references, to scribes working singly, collectively, with
> reciters, and without reciters, and with the establishment of Islamicate
> courts in northern India, ateliers on the model of the kar-khana.  There
> were significant differences in practice between, say, monks working in a
> temple or monastic institution, itinerant Kashmiri scribes that travelled
> singly or in groups around northern India, copying texts for a fee, and
> court 'scribes' (who were actually much more), who have received a good bit
> of attention from O'Hanlon and Minkowski. The question of mass-produced
> manuscripts is an interesting one that has received a little bit of
> attention in the Jain context; some helpful sources on these and other
> questions include:
> Cort, John E. 1995. “The Jain Knowledge Warehouses: Traditional Libraries
> in India.” *Journal of the American Oriental Society* 115 (1): 10.
> Data, Kali Kumar. 1971. “The Ritual of Manuscripts.” *Our Heritage:
> Bulletin of the Department of Post-Graduate Training and Research, Sanskrit
> College, Calcutta *19 (1).
> Losty, Jeremiah P. 1982. *The art of the book in India*. London: British
> Library.
> Data's article sites a number of texts that give normative prescriptions
> for how a text used for ritual performance was to be copied.  Losty
> discusses a period and genre of mass-produced stereotyped Jain manuscripts.
> Most references are, unfortunately, terse and scattered.  For South Asia,
> more work has been done on scribal practices among the Persianate elites;
> for Europe the body of research is quite significant.
> Best,
> Tyler Williams
> Columbia University
> On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 7:20 AM, Ashok Aklujkar <ashok.aklujkar at gmail.com>wrote:
>> On 2013-07-23, at 7:56 PM, Allen Thrasher wrote:
>> ...  I wonder if there is any evidence that scribal workshops would ever
>> produce many copies of a work at one time, with a single reader and a
>> number of scribes. ... Presumably there would be a market for standard
>> classics (e.g. the Gita) that in some circumstances would justify producing
>> them in advance of specific individual orders.  ... But everything I recall
>> reading seems to assume that copies were produced singly.  It need not even
>> be a question of one person recruiting scribes so to speak off the street;
>> it could also be a workshop of a scribe and his sons (younger brothers,
>> nephews, etc.), a family operation.<
>> As I recall, king Kurmaarapaala of northern Gujarat is said to have
>> arranged one thousand scribes to produce one thousand copies of
>> Hema-candra's grammar, ;Sabdaanu;saasana, soon after it was completed.
>> There is documentary evidence for this, but I cannot put my hands on it at
>> present. Perhaps Georg Buehler's Life of Hema-candra specifies the source.
>> In the late 1920s, when travelling teams went to collect manuscripts in
>> the Madras Presidency, those collected manuscripts which were to be
>> returned to their owners were copied (i.e., transcribed into Nagari on
>> paper) at Madras with one pandit reading and another pandit writing the
>> heard text. Then they usually reversed roles and the faithfulness of the
>> transcription was ascertained (or a more experienced pandit was requested
>> to check the accuracy of the transcription) before the manuscript was
>> returned. You still see evidence of this in several transcripts in the GOML
>> and at Adyar Library and Research Centre with the names of pandits
>> specified and the date of completion of the process written at the
>> end.Confirming signatures also appear.
>> It is quite likely that at places of pilgrimage the Kaayastha families
>> kept a few extra copies of popular texts on hand to sell to pilgrims.
>> a.a.
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