Category Archives: Publications

La fabrique du lisible : la mise en texte des manuscrits de la Chine ancienne et médiévale

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Jean-Pierre Drège (dir.), avec la collaboration de Costantino Moretti.

La fabrique du lisible : la mise en texte des manuscrits de la Chine ancienne et médiévale, Paris, Institut des hautes études chinoises, 2014, 420 p.

Tens of thousands of manuscripts dating from the fifth to the tenth centuries were discovered in Mogao cave n. 17 at Dunhuang, in Gansu Province. These documents have completely transformed the discipline of Chinese medieval history in its various aspects. The course of this renewal extended over several decades throughout the twentieth century. One of the fields which remained largely unexplored until recent years was the history of the Chinese book and the production of writing, with particular focus on manuscripts as objects carrying meaning. The discovery of a large number of manuscripts dating back to the first few centuries of the Common Era has opened up new perspectives and allowed parallel lines of questioning to be drawn. The emergence of codicology and the development of research on the history of text production applied to western manuscripts have provided a model upon which to open a new chapter in the history of Chinese manuscript books. This innovative approach focuses on the production of manuscripts and their utilization, handling and preservation as much as on their design, the readership for whom they were intended and how they were written and read. This book represents a first attempt at writing a history of ancient and medieval Chinese texts in their context.