Category Archives: 20th century

Aurel Stein – Flowers to Lajos Lóczy

Last summer we were at Lake Balaton in western Hungary and decided to take a day trip to the Balatonarács cemetery to visit the grave of the famous Hungarian explorer and geologist Lajos Lóczy (1849-1920). In the West, he is … Continue reading

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Unattested character variant

Last May, Sam and I went on a trip to Gansu and Qinghai provinces to visit the sites along a medieval pilgrimage route. (On this trip, see Sam’s entry on his blog: Amdo Notes II.) I got to Lanzhou first … Continue reading

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Cangjie created writing and the ghosts wailed at night

“When Cangjie created writing, Heaven rained millet and the ghosts wailed at night” 蒼頡作書而天雨粟鬼夜哭. The above cryptic statement comes from the Huainanzi 淮南子, a text compiled during the 2nd century B.C. Since there are very few details regarding the invention of … Continue reading

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Denison Ross and the Tibetan monks in London

While in Shanghai, I also visited the Xujiahui branch of the Shanghai Library, where they have old western books and newspapers. This is the old Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei with an amazing architecture and equally impressive holdings of books. I spent some … Continue reading

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A mysterious manuscript about the discovery of Dunhuang manuscripts

The mysterious manuscript referred to in the title is a little notebook written in a cursive caoshu hand and is currently located at the Gansu Provincial Library. The title Dunhuang xianhua 敦煌闲话 (Idle Chat about Dunhuang) is included in the notebook so … Continue reading

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Criticism of Chen Mengjia by fellow scholars

Reading on the history of simplified characters I came across a small book called 1957年文字改革辩论选辑 (Shanghai: Xin zhishi, 1958) which contains a series of articles from contemporary periodicals about the writing reform. I was surprised to find two vicious articles … Continue reading

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