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CHINOPERL Papers No. 31 (2012)©2012 by the Conference on Chinese Oral and Performing Literature ENGLISH-LANGUAGE STUDIES OF PRECIOUS SCROLLS: A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SURVEY WILT L. IDEMA Harvard University* Before trying to summarize the history of English language scholarship on precious scrolls (baojuan 寶卷), it is first necessary to introduce the early developments of the field in China and Japan. The modern study of precious scrolls can be said to begin with the publication by Zheng Zhenduo 鄭振鐸 of his “Foqu xulu” 佛曲敘錄 (A catalogue of Buddhist songs; 1927) in Zhongguo wenxue yanjiu 中國文學研究 (Studies on Chinese Literature). This article presented brief descriptions of a few bianwen 變文 (transformation texts), followed by more detailed descriptions of 36 precious scrolls. In his Zhongguo su wenxue shi 中國俗文學史 (A History of popular literature in China; 1938), Zheng devoted a separate chapter to the discussion of precious scrolls, in which he provided lists of the titles he had seen and illustrated his argument by extensive quotations from selected precious scrolls.1 Precious scrolls were *A Chinese version of an earlier draft of this research note will accompany the reprint of the precious scrolls in the collection of the Harvard-Yenching Library by the Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe 廣西師範大學出版社 (Guangxi Normal University Press). This publication, edited by Dr. Huo Jianyu 霍建瑜, will mostly consist of texts from the Hanan Collection. I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Huo Jianyu, Dr. Rostislav Berezkin, Prof. James Robson, my student Sun Xiaosu, and an anonymous reviewer for pointing out omissions and mistakes in earlier versions of this survey and drawing my attention to additional materials. 1 See Rostislav Berezkin, “Zheng Zhenduo’s Contribution to the Study of Baojuan (Precious Scrolls): Problems of the Origin and Early History of the Genre,” in Problemy literatur Dal’nego Vostoka: Sbornik materialov III Mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii, Sankt-Peterburg, 24–28 iiunia 2008 g. (Papers from the 3rd International Scientific Conference “Issues of Far Eastern Literatures,” Saint-Petersburg, June 24–28, CHINOPERL Papers No. 31 164 part of the materials that were collected in the 1930s by the Academia Sinica.2 Scholarship on precious scrolls in China in the 1950s and 1960s was basically limited to the publication of catalogues, such as Hu Shiying 胡士瑩, Tanci baojuan shumu 彈詞寶卷書目 (A catalogue of plucked string ballads and precious scrolls; 1957), and Li Shiyu 李世瑜, Baojuan zonglu 寶卷總錄 (A comprehensive catalogue of precious scrolls; 1960). Li Shiyu had encountered precious scrolls in his research on local religions (sects) in Northern China, which he published in his Xianzai Huabei mimi zongjiao 現在華北秘密宗教 (Secret religions in contemporary North China; 1948). For the first three decades of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), scholarship on precious scrolls was almost non-existent because of the obvious link of the genre to popular religion, but it should be pointed out that Chen Ruheng 陳汝衡 treated precious scrolls briefly as a genre of prosimetric storytelling in his Shuoshu shihua 說書史話 (A history of story-telling; 1958 [pp. 123–29]). During those three decades, however, important work on precious scrolls was done by Japanese scholars. As early as 1960, Sakai Tadao 酒井忠夫 included a long chapter on the precious scrolls and sectarian religions of the Ming dynasty in his famous Zhūgoku zensho no kenkyū 中国善書の研究 (A study of China’s morality books; pp. 437–85). The most important scholar in the field, however, was Sawada Mizuho 澤田瑞和. Sawada published widely on many genres of traditional popular literature. His most important contribution to the study of precious scrolls was his Hōkan no kenkyū 寶卷の研究 (A study of precious scrolls; 1963). An expanded version of this work was published in 1975 as Zōho Hōkan no kenkyū 增補寶卷の研究 (A study of precious scrolls, expanded and supplemented). In the first part of this work Sawada discussed over three hundred individual precious scrolls, providing for each title a detailed summary of the contents along with discussions of authorship, printing history and other such matters. The second part of the volume consisted of a number of articles each devoted to one of the new religions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that used precious scrolls to 2008), Guo’en Chen and E. A. Serebriakov, eds., 2 vols. (Saint-Petersburg: SaintPetersburg University Press, 2008), 1: 9–19. 2 Many of these...

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Additional Information

ISSN
0193-7774
Print ISSN
2051-6150
Pages
pp. 163-176
Launched on MUSE
2020-04-07
Open Access
No
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