Manuscripts and printing: East Asia

Imre Galambos, “Manuscripts and printing – East Asia.” In Jonathan A. Silk and Stefano Zacchetti, eds., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Leiden: Brill, 2015, 968–978.

Although historically East Asia has been an arena where ethnically and politically diverse states alternated with one another, from the point of view of the history of Buddhism the region refers to an area now largely covered by China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Having said that, it is important to keep in mind that this division reflects the modern geopolitical reality, according to which state boundaries and national identities separate ethnically, culturally, and linguistically distinct regions. Diachronically, however, the situation was much more complex, as states, ethnicities, and languages interacted in a variety of ways. The languages and scripts used in the region today are merely the current state of affairs, which will no doubt continue to evolve in the future.

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