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Zhuge Liang’s «The General’s Garden» in the Mi-nia Translation
(in collaboration with Gong Hwang-cheng)




The British Library houses several thousand fragments of Mi-nia texts (OR12380 collection). This material was acquired from the famous Khara-Khoto, or Black City, in 1914 by M. Aurel Stein. Collection OR12380 is inferior only to the Kozlov collection held in St. Petersburg (Russia), which represents the largest Mi-nia collection in the world, consisting of about nine thousand Mi-nia texts and innumerable fragments. The Russian collection comes from the same site, but its discovery was made five years earlier, in 1909, and, thus, colonel Kozlov, the discoverer of Khara-Khoto, could take nearly everything found by him inside and outside Black City. The remains (these were obviously damaged texts and fragments) were taken by Stein.

Nowadays the content of the Russian collection is rather well known and a lot of Mi-nia texts from this collection have been published by scholars of different countries (the enumeration of these publications being rather lengthy is obviously out of place in this essay).

However, what is held in the British Library collection, in general still remains a mystery. We know for sure about thirteen Buddhist texts held in London: the list of these Buddhist texts (seemingly not short fragments, but rather lengthy parts of respective texts) is given by Chinese scholar Shi Jin-bo (Shi 1988:368). And it goes without saying that the great mass of the thousands of Mi-nia fragments in London represents Buddhist texts. But the most interesting part of any Mi-nia collection in the world is its non-Buddhist part, i.e. the secular texts, and among them especially fascinating are Mi-nia indigenous texts.

However Mi-nia secular and indigenous texts are very rare and to the best of my knowledge, so far are known to be held only in St. Petersburg and London.

E. Grinstead, the curator of the Mi-nia collection in London in the 1950’s –1960’s, was quite conscious of the importance of secular works in the Mi-nia language. The list of his publications reveals his special interest in this kind of Mi-nia texts.

From the London collection Grinstead has published one page of the military treatise (a wood-block) the Art of War by the famous Chinese strategist Sun zi (in the British Library there are altogether two pages of this text preserved) (Grinstead 1961). The page he published represents the beginning of Sun zi’s seventh chapter. St. Petersburg collection also has a wood-block containing the Mi-nia translation of Sun zi’s the Art of War, but it lacks the beginning of the seventh chapter. The binding («butterfly»), the number of characters both in a line and on the page in both wood-blocks and the fact that there are not eleven, as in the traditional text of Sun zi, but only three commentators — Cao Cao (155-200), Li Quan (8th century) and, seemingly, Du Mu (803-852) — indicate that Sun zi’ two pages held in London belong to the same edition as the text of Sun zi housed in St. Petersburg.

Grinstead has also published the last part of the scroll (eleven lines) of another military treatise from the London collection, which is a manuscript representing Zhuge Liang’s the General’s Garden (Grinstead 1963). So far this text is not registered in the list of texts held in the St. Petersburg collection (not to mention any other Mi-nia collections in the world). Thus, we may suppose that it is a unique Mi-nia text which gives access to the Chinese text before it was edited during the Sung dynasty...


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Zhuge Liang’s «The General’s Garden» in the Mi-nia Translation
(in collaboration with Gong Hwang-cheng)

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