[INDOLOGY] rubrication in Indian mss.

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at uchicago.edu
Sun Nov 29 15:56:41 UTC 2015

We're now far from rubrication, but in connection with Ashok's comment about "dust-boards," it
may be of interest to note that Tibetans employed a similar technique in order to economize on
paper. White ash would be sprinkled on a slate or blackboard, on which students could then
practice their writing using a dry bamboo pen. But there was a deluxe version of this as well,
in which a lacquered black surface, fastened into an often elaborately decorated case, so that the
ash would not be disturbed after writing, served as the medium for transmitting messages among
the high aristocracy. The recipient, on receiving the message, would transcribe it into his journal
if necessary, but then wipe the slate clean before returning it.

Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
The University of Chicago

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