A Reconstruction Study of an Old Uyghur, Parthian, and Middle Persian ManuscriptBetül Özbay
Many researchers have studied the considerably diverse contents and an assortment of artifacts from the region of Turfan since they had been introduced to the world with the discoveries at the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, most of the manuscripts in this archive of unique importance are fragmentary. Despite this being a severe limitation for field studies, various methods have been developed to bring the fragments together in the best possible way. Most of the manuscripts in this rich corpus, especially the Manichaean texts, are fragmentary, so much so that some pieces are only the size of a small coin. Putting all these small pieces together is an essential skill that requires much attention. Undoubtedly, the first studies in the early 1900s did a very good job of unearthing the materials and bringing together the fragments very well. On the other hand, although the early studies were highly meticulous and accurate, they were not without fault. The current study emphasizes the importance of finding the closest arrangement and format to the original work by bringing entire manuscripts together as well as the physical properties of the materials and writing styles as the elements that should be considered when classifying fragments as belonging to the same manuscript. This study also discusses the importance of codicology studies for reconstruction when classifying the fragments that belong to the examined manuscript by examining added fragments that do not belong to the manuscript and the errors that occur when combining them into a page.
Eski Uygurca, Partça ve Orta Farsça Bir Yazmanın Rekonstrüksiyon ÇalışmasıBetül Özbay
20. yüzyılın başlarındaki keşiflerle dünyaya tanıtılan son derece çeşitli içerik ve türdeki Turfan Bölgesi eserleri, bulundukları ilk yıllardan bugüne değin pek çok araştırmacı tarafından çalışılmıştır. Eşsiz önemdeki bu arşivde bulunan çoğu yazma ne yazık ki parçalı hâldedir. Bu durum alan araştırmaları için ciddi bir sınırlılık arz etse de yıllar içinde parçaların olabilecek en iyi şekilde bir araya getirilmesi için çeşitli yöntemler geliştirilmiştir. Bu zengin külliyattaki, özellikle Manihaizm dini ile ilgili yazmaların çoğunluğu fragmanlardan oluşur. Öyle ki bazı parçalar yalnızca küçük bir madenî para büyüklüğündedir. Parçalarına ayrılmış bir eseri bir araya getirmek ise oldukça incelik isteyen önemli bir hünerdir. Şüphesiz 1900’lü yılların başında yapılan ilk çalışmalar, eserleri sadece toprak üstüne çıkarmakla kalmamış pek çoğunu oldukça başarılı bir şekilde tasnifleyerek parçalı malzemeyi birleştirebilmiştir. Öte yandan, her ne kadar ilk yapılan çalışmalar son derece titiz ve isabetli olsalar da hatasız değildir. Elinizdeki çalışmada aynı yazmaya ait fragmanlar tasnif edilirken nelere dikkat edilmesi gerektiği, malzemenin fiziki özellikleri, yazı üslubu gibi öğelerin yanında, el yazmasının bütününü bir araya getirerek orijinal esere en yakın düzenleme ve formatı bulmanın önemi üzerinde durulmuştur. Ayrıca, incelediğimiz yazmaya ait fragmanların tasnifinde eklenen bir parçanın aslında esere ait olmadığı ve bir fragmanın birleştirilmesindeki hata irdelenerek kodikoloji çalışmalarının rekonstrüksiyon için önemine değinilmiştir.
The archaeological findings from the region of Turfan in Northwest China that occurred during the discoveries at the beginning of the 20th century are highly unique in terms of Turkic and world history. The works here have provided a precious archive written in dozens of different languages as well as many different scripts and alphabets. These works have attracted the attention of field researchers in many countries since the first years they were found.
The corpus of these findings has maintained its place among the essential resources of researchers from many fields of science for more than a century due to its comprehensive content, with the multilingual works in this rich archive being particularly exciting. These works contain texts within the same codex or book scroll that have been written in different languages, clearly showing the period’s multinational, multilingual, and multicultural structure, and these can be counted as the most interesting pieces of the archive. The essential corpus of Manichaeism, which had spread from Mesopotamia to the world in the 3rd century and is now a lost religion, should also be noted to be included in this archive. However, due to the fragmentary nature of many of the texts on Manichaeism, a significant part of the corpus is unfortunately missing. Therefore, contributions from a variety of different experts are required to arrange and reassemble the fragments in order to overcome this limitation.
Since the second half of the 1900s, codicology has been one of the most commonly used methods for assembling manuscript fragments. The French historian Alphonse Dain proposed the term codicology in 1949 in response to the German term Handschriftenkunde for manuscript studies. The term is a combination of the Latin codex [book] and the Greek suffix -logia [study of] and was initially used for studies on the dating of manuscripts but was later expanded to involve the examination of all aspects of a book (Gulásci, 2005, p. 8; Lowden, 1992, pp. 9–10).
Meanwhile, art historians such as John Lowden emphasized the most crucial feature of the codicological method to lie in its emphasis on the integrity of a book and underlined the impossibility of fully understanding a historical work without resorting to all the elements that compose a book, such as its title, decorations, writing style, page arrangement, and the quality of the written material (Lowden, 1992, p. 9). Zsuzsanna Gulásci is known for her important contributions regarding illustrated Manichaean works and also stated how she uses codicology for a holistic codicological/archaeological approach (Gulásci, 2005, p. 9). This broad area of this term’s usage, which has expanded significantly through the contributions of art historians, is also critical. As can be observed below regarding this study, an artifact that has remained in the dark for a long time now gains a different appearance upon reaching the light again. No matter how meticulously researchers try to reconstruct the so-called old whole by putting the pieces together, losses are inevitable.
The findings obtained in this paper as a result of analyzing elements such as the paper structure, paleographic features, damage characteristics, and book format of the Old Uyghur, Parthian, and Middle Persian fragments that have been classified as belonging to the same manuscript are as follows. The manuscript examined here was written in the Manichaean square script using a single-page codex format and contains Parthian, Middle Persian, and Old Uyghur passages. The Turfan Studies archive of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities catalogues notes the fragments archived by shelf and number as M 6220, M 6221, M 6222, M 6223, M 6230, M 6232, M 6233, M 6238, M 6239, M 6240, M 6241, M 6242, M 6243, M 6255, M 6257, M 6258, M 6259, M 6260, M 6261, M 6262, M 6263, M 6264, M 6265, M 6266, M 6267, M 6268, U 7, U 8, U 9, and U 10 to be part of the same manuscript. This article studies these fragments and their composition.