[INDOLOGY] scribal self-recitation while copying

Tyler Williams tylerwwilliams at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 12:05:37 UTC 2013

Ah-- I did not, of course, mean to suggest that all those references were
contained in those three articles -- apologies if that was confusing.
 Dutta, if I remember correctly, mines information from the
Hayasīrṣá-pañcarātra, Viṣṇudharmottara, Caturvargacintāmani,
Dānakhaṇḍa, Devīpurāṇa, Kṛtyakalpataru, and Nandipurāṇa, and discusses the
pair of reciter and copyist.

Some more sources that describe the other phemomena, with page numbers, etc:

Awliya, Nizam ad-din. 1992. *Morals for the Heart: Conversations of Shaykh
Nizam ad-din Awliya recorded by Amir Hasan Sijzi*. Edited by Bruce (trans)
Lawrence, *Classics of Western spirituality ; #4*. New York: Paulist Press.
p 26 (correction of scribal errors)

Bahura, Gopalnarayan. 1984. *Catalogue of manuscripts in the Maharaja Sawai
Man Singh II Museum : Pothikhana collection (a) Dharmasastra*, *Maharaja
Sawai Man Singh II memorial series no. 7*. Jaipur: The Museum.
(Introduction) (on Rajput emulation of Mughal ateliers)

Goswamy, B.N. 2006. *The Word is Sacred, Sacred is the Word: The Indian
Manuscript Tradition*. New Delhi: Niyogi Books. pp 54-6 (on itinerant

Habib, Irfan. 2006. “Writing and the Use of Books in the Age of Persian
Manuscripts.” *Tattvabodh* 1: 22. pp 18-22 (on personal copying of books,
or copying of personal books)

Losty, Jeremiah P. 1982. *The art of the book in India*. London: British
Library. pp 44-5 (on stereotyped Jain mss)

Further references will be found in each of the above, though they are
admittedly few.  Am away from home and this is what I have on hand at the
moment; will send more once I'm back.

And as I mentioned in the earlier mail, the references are scattered,
fragmentary, and spread across multiple periods and traditions.  So I would
only conservatively suggest that these are indicative of a particular
practice at a particular place and time, rather than making any
generalizations from them.



On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 2:54 AM, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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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