Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Publisher: School of Oriental and African Studies (London), Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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ISSN 1474-0699
OCLC 225188730
Material type Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In Korea green-glazed celadon ceramics were manufactured during the Koryŏ kingdom (ad 918–1392), but by the end of the fourteenth century their manufacture ceased and they virtually disappeared from view until the 1880s when they began to be unearthed from tombs and other sites. This led to increased interest in them from Koreans, and especially the Japanese, Americans and Europeans. Focusing on British collections, this article outlines the collecting practices of Korean celadon wares from the time of their discovery in the 1880s to the market boom of the 1910s, culminating in the decrease in their availability in the 1930s. It will be argued that the desire for celadon wares was socially conditioned and that celadon were collected for a range of different, though not unrelated reasons, ranging from collectors' pursuit of unique Korean artworks, to their want of genuine antiquities and aesthetic perfection.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000906
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    ABSTRACT: Recent epigraphic discoveries shed new light on merchant groups in early medieval Bengal, a region whose history in the period from the mid-sixth to the thirteenth centuries is shrouded in obscurity. The present article attempts to provide a better delineation of this history with additional information from new inscriptions, and presents a transcription, translation and discussion of the Rajbhita stone inscription which records the activity of an association of merchants called vaṇiggrāma. The history of merchant groups in early medieval Bengal can be delineated as a process of the ruralization of urban elites in its early phase, and of the organization of merchants located in rural space towards specialized groups comparable to jātis in its later phase. The new inscriptions enable us not only to fill gaps with new information, but also give us perspectives from which we can go beyond unilineal simplicity.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000451
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    ABSTRACT: Current scholarship often describes early Ottoman historiography as a phenomenon initiated and conducted by the Ottoman state. In particular, the unprecedented growth in the number of Ottoman history books composed during the reign of Bayezid II (1481–1512) is viewed as such. Modern historians commonly argue that in the aftermath of the Kilia and Akkerman victories (1484), Bayezid II decided to propagate a new Ottoman ideology and commissioned Ottoman history books to be written for this purpose. This article argues that there is not enough evidence to suggest that Bayezid II orchestrated or directed this upsurge in history production. The premises of Halil İnalcık's earlier studies in particular, upon which much of our understanding of the subject was built, do not hold.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X1300089X

  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(3):535-537. DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000748
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    ABSTRACT: In Itō Sei's (1905–69) “Yūki no machi” (Streets of ghosts, 1937), a narrator returns to his native town of Otaru, Hokkaido, where he experiences a hellish and hallucinatory encounter with people from his past. He is forced to confront shameful aspects of his youthful life that he had tried to repress. In this paper, I propose that a close examination of the story sheds useful light on the real fears, tensions and expectations surrounding colonialism that had become an integral part of Japanese culture and society during the late 1930s. Structures of colonialism, which speak of uneven power relationships between a dominant centre and a distant weaker locality, are spelt out, for example, through the railway network and racist ideology that appear in the story. I also explore the story's depiction of a colonial relationship between mainland Japanese culture centred round Tokyo and the peripheral outpost of Hokkaido. More generally, I suggest that the story illuminates a global power configuration between Japan and its colonies that was entering an increasingly aggressive and bellicose phase during the late 1930s.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000463
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    ABSTRACT: Sculpture as an artistic medium was widely employed in the arts of Greece and the Hellenistic East, but played only a minor role in ancient East Asia. This changed dramatically with the First Emperor of China who marked his ascent to the throne in 221 bc with the erection of giant bronze sculptures outside his palace and the installation of thousands of terracotta figures in his tomb. The current text sets out to investigate the sudden and short-lived surge of sculpture making in third-century bc China and places it in the context of developments across Asia of the time. The text joins art historical, archaeological and textual evidence to investigate whether the First Emperor's extraordinary interest in sculpture may have been the result of contacts with the contemporary Hellenistic world.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000487
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    ABSTRACT: The sudden Mongol withdrawal from Hungary in 1242 has been explained by historians in several ways and no consensus about the reason has ever been reached. Contrary to some previously expressed opinions, it was not an unparalleled event: a similar withdrawal from a successful invasion of the Song empire in southern China occurred in 1260. The parallels between the events of 1242 and 1260 are instructive, and strongly suggest that the deaths of the Khaghans Ögödei, in 1241, and Möngke, in 1259, were the basic reasons for breaking off the campaigns. The full explanation is more complex, however. The Mongol invasions of Dali and Annam in the 1250s are also briefly examined, and it is pointed out that a Mongol army led by Uriyangkhadai successfully invaded Song from Annam in 1259, a fact that has often been overlooked.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2013; 76(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000475
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    ABSTRACT: This paper constitutes the first linguistic analysis of nominal possessive constructions in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Hasidic Hebrew hagiographic tales. Such analysis is necessary because it sheds much-needed light on the grammatical structure of this prominent but largely unstudied early modern Eastern European form of Hebrew. Hasidic Hebrew possessive constructions exhibit a variety of noteworthy features, namely non-standard uses of the construct chain including definiteness of the construct noun, double definiteness, and split construct chains; construct chains with adjectives in the absolute position; the productiveness and widespread use of the construct chain; the tendency to favour the post-Biblical Hebrew possessive particle של shel only in certain syntactic contexts; and the employment of the Aramaic particle ד- de- specifically to express geographical and temporal relationships. These phenomena reflect a mix of various strata of Hebrew as well as Aramaic, Yiddish, and independent elements that combine to form a unique system distinct from other varieties of Hebrew.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 06/2013; 76(02). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000050
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper discusses the synchronic status and the origin of the semi-vowels /j/ and /w/ in Old Tibetan on the basis of modern Tibetan languages and other Sino-Tibetan languages, in particular Rgyalrong and Lolo-Burmese.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 06/2013; 76(02). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12001450
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    ABSTRACT: According to Islamic tradition the companions of Jesus in the Quran, the ḥawāriyyūn, were faithful disciples. Critical scholars largely agree that the Quran means to present the ḥawāriyyūn as such, and generally translate ḥawāriyyūn as “apostles” or “disciples”. Some add that ḥawāriyyūn is related to ḥawāryā, the Geʿez term used for the apostles in the Ethiopic Bible. In the present article I argue that while the Quran indeed means to signal the apostles of Christian tradition with the term ḥawāriyyūn, it does not consider the ḥawāriyyūn to have been faithful. The Quran praises the ḥawāriyyūn for their belief in Jesus (a belief that distinguishes them from other Israelites, i.e. the Jews) but reprimands them for abandoning his message. Hence emerges the exceptional position of Christians in the Quran: they are not condemned but rather exhorted to return to their prophet's teaching.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 06/2013; 76(02). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000062
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    ABSTRACT: This paper offers an analysis and a new translation of an Atharvanic hymn addressed to the goddess of Night, Rātrī, attested in both recensions of the Atharvaveda (AV), in the Śaunakīya, and in the Paippalāda. The translation is accompanied by a philological and text-critical commentary as well as an analysis of some linguistic features of the Vedic language of this period, such as the use of emphatic reflexive pronouns and the periphrastic progressive tense (usually disregarded in standard Vedic grammars).
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 06/2013; 76(02). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000074
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the transformation of the sacred landscape in the cities of Syria and Palestine from late antiquity to early Islam. This phase of urban and architectural history, often obscured by the changes brought in during the medieval period, is investigated through a close comparison of textual and material evidence related to the main urban religious complexes. It is suggested that the new Friday mosques were frequently built contiguous to Christian great churches, creating a sort of shared sacred area within the cities. Legal issues related to the Islamic conquest and the status of minorities are considered in order to explain the rationale behind such a choice by Muslims.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 06/2013; 76(02). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000086
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    ABSTRACT: Despite noteworthy critical editions of each having appeared within the last twenty-five years, the textual states of Jubilees, the Testaments of the Three Patriarchs, and the Ascension of Isaiah remain in flux due to the continued discovery of previously unknown exemplars. Nowhere is this more evident than in their Ethiopic versions, as copies of a multitude of manuscripts attesting these pseudepigrapha have become readily accessible in recent years. Consequently, it is now possible to append twenty Ge‘ez manuscripts to the hitherto recognized evidence for Jubilees, and five and two further witnesses to the published lists for the Testaments of the Three Patriarchs and the Ascension of Isaiah respectively.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 02/2013; 76(01). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12001449
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    ABSTRACT: The treatment of Proto-Iranian *θw (PIE *t ) is one of the isoglosses distinguishing Middle Persian from Parthian and thus important for Western Iranian dialectology. The re-discussion of the Parthian development of this consonant cluster by Nicholas Sims-Williams presents a welcome opportunity for some notes on the matter. I will argue that there is some additional evidence in favour of his suggestion that the Parthian result is not -f- as previously assumed, but a consonant cluster. I will also suggest a modification of the steps that the development takes. The Middle Persian development of *θw as well as some related issues of historical phonology and Pth. orthography and Western Ir. are likewise discussed.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 02/2013; 76(01). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X13000013
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    ABSTRACT: There are six complete versions of the Pavāraṇā Sutta (Pravāraṇā Sūtra). The Ekottarika Āgama version (EĀ 32.5) differs significantly from the other five. It contains an episode involving Ānanda, a non-arhat, which is not found in the other five versions. In the five versions other than EĀ 32.5, this Pravāraṇā ceremony is depicted as an assembly of arhats, who are endowed with different “liberations”. This paper shows that such divergences are correlated with one another and that EĀ 32.5 could be earlier than the other versions. In this connection I elucidate diverse notions of liberation as developed in the textual history and discuss the possibility that sectarian stance on the issue of liberation has a bearing on the inclusion of various types of arhats in the five versions, and their exclusion from EĀ 32.5, whose sectarian affiliation is identified in this study as Mahāsāṃghika.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 02/2013; 76(01). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12001437
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores the repeated renovation of south Indian temples over the past millennium and the conception of the Tamil temple-city. Though the requirement for renovation is unremarkable, some “renovations” have involved the wholesale replacement of the central shrine, in theory the most sacred part of the temple. Rather than explaining such radical rebuilding as a consequence of fourteenth-century iconoclasm, temple renovation is considered in this article as an ongoing process. Several periods of architectural reconstruction from the tenth to the early twentieth centuries demonstrate the evolving relationship between building, design and sacred geography over one millennium of Tamil temple history. The conclusion explores the widespread temple “renovations” by the devout Nakarattar (Nattukottai Chettiar) community in the early twentieth century, and the consequent dismay of colonial archaeologists at the perceived destruction of South India's monumental heritage, in order to reassess the lives and meanings of Tamil sacred sites.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 02/2013; 76(01). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12001462
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    ABSTRACT: In light of the recent discovery of Warring States period bamboo slips, now in the collection of Tsinghua University, inscribed with texts described as shu, “documents” or “similar to shu”, this article explores the question of “what were shu?” It suggests that shu can be understood as a literary form apart from the history of the Confucian classic, the Shang shu 尚書 (Ancient Documents) or Shu jing 書經 (Book of Documents) and the Yi Zhou shu 逸周書. Formal characteristics include: shu were – or pretended to be – contemporaneous records; and shu include formal speeches by model kings and ministers from ancient times. Many shu include the expression wang ruo yue 王若曰, which is also found in bronze inscriptions, where it indicates that a royal speech was read aloud by an official. Thus, the literary form originated with the practice of composing speeches in writing before they were read out in formal ceremonies, with a bamboo slip copy presented to the officials addressed. Later shu were fictional compositions, written in the style of these ancient documents.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2012; 75(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12000547
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    ABSTRACT: This article brings together evidence from both documentary texts and royal inscriptions from Susa in order to develop a chronological and historical perspective on the transitional period between the loss of control of the Ur III empire and the institutionalization of the Sukkalmaḫ regime. A study of the archaeological and archival context of the administrative texts resulted in a new chronology for the beginning of the Sukkalmaḫat, the basic argument for which is the early dating of the rule of Atta-ḫušu. Newly discovered inscriptions and new interpretations of existing inscriptions serve not only to adjust this chronology, but also to pave the way for an innovative and coherent socio-economic history of the early Sukkalmaḫat.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2012; 75(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X1200136X
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    ABSTRACT: At the end of the second century ah al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820) advocated stoning as the sole penalty for adultery instead of an earlier rule that combined flogging with stoning. Al-Shāfiʿī's innovative doctrine was barely noticed by the jurisprudents, exegetes and ḥadīth collectors during the first half of the third century ah, but apparently provoked a legal debate shortly thereafter. This article explores the development of the third-century dual- vs. single-penalty dispute and its implications for the chronology of al-Shāfiʿī's Risāla.
    Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10/2012; 75(03). DOI:10.1017/S0041977X12000572