Tangut textual culture: Reading Tangut texts

The Institute of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University invites you to the online seminar.

Instructor: Nikita Kuzmin kuzmin@sas.upenn.edu (time to be discussed)

Tangut, one of the earliest attested literary Sino-Tibetan languages, was one of the key languages of the Tangut Western Xia Empire (1038-1227). In the 10-13th centuries, non-Sinitic powers like Khitan Liao, Tangut Xia, and Jurchen Jin were attempting to challenge the well-established Sino-centric world order in which Classical Chinese was the lingua franca – the language of diplomacy, culture and religion. All these three non-Sinitic regimes wished to gain cultural independence from the Song dynasty by creating their indigenous scripts, but the Tanguts were perhaps the most successful.

Nikita Kuzmin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA) working with various Tangut texts for his dissertation project.

The “Tangut Textual Culture” course will provide students with core background knowledge on the Tangut language and give insights into the enigmatic world of Tan- gut textual culture. The course consists of three units. In the first unit, the instructor will introduce background knowledge about the Tanguts, the remaining textual corpus, and main dictionaries and grammar books. In the second unit, the instructor will conduct a guided reading and translation of one of the Tangut Buddhist scriptures (the Avalokiteśvara-sūtra), also extant in Tibetan, Sanskrit and Chinese versions. In the third unit, the students will lead the reading and translation of passages selected by the instructor. The passages are of various genres, including Buddhist, Confucian, and legal texts. This course will be useful for any student of Asian history and Sino- Tibetan linguistics. Knowledge of Classical Chinese and/or Classical Tibetan will be helpful, but is not required. All the materials will be distributed by the instructor in advance. Preparation is required for each class. The course is conducted in English.

Course link on SIS:



The course has the status of a Required optional course (PVP).
For inquiries, please contact Veronika Zikmundová (avanek2000@yahoo.com or veronika.zikmundova@ff.cuni.cz)

Invitation in PDF is available here.

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