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 scribes)

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@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@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.


Tyler Williams

Columbia University

On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 7:20 AM, Ashok Aklujkar <ashok.aklujkar@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. 



INDOLOGY mailing list

INDOLOGY mailing list