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Fan-Han heshi zhangzhong zhu 番漢合時掌中珠 "Simultaneous Tangut-Chinese Pearls-in-the-Hand"

The Fan-Han heshi zhangzhong zhu 番漢合時掌中珠 "Simultaneous Tangut-Chinese pearls-in-the-hand" is a Tangut-Chinese dictionary written by a persons transliterated as "骨勒茂才 Gule Maocai", a Tangutan historian at the court of emperor Renzong 西夏仁宗 (r. 1140-1193) of the Western Xia empire 西夏 (1038-1227). The dictionary was finished in 1190 and was discovered in the ruins of Kara-Khoto (Heishui 黑水城) in 1909. It is a woodblock print of 37 pages in butterfly-binding. There is a preface in Tangutan and in Chinese stressing the importance to learn two languages to administer an empire governed by a Tangut dynasty and inhabited by Chinese subjects. Each word in the dictionary is, if in Tangutan language, transcribed with Chinese characters, and, on the Chinese side, transcribed with Tangutan script. The dictionary is arranged according to encyclopedic spheres and can therefore rather be called a glossary than a real dictionary. The parts are: heaven; stars and planets; nature; earth; rivers and mountains; minerals, plants and animals; humans; the human body; and human activities. The last chapter covers almost half of the book and includes terms of kinship, Buddhism, architecture, tools and instruments of daily use, clothing and adornments, agricultural tools, terms of administration and politics and law, musical instruments, food, equestrian implements, terms of matrimonial ceremonies, etc.
The Fan-Han dictionary was printed in the Soviet Union, a Chinese edition was published by Luo Fucheng 羅福成 in 1924.

Source: Shi Jinbo 史金波 (1992). "Fan-Han heshi zhangzhong zhu 番漢合時掌中珠", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 1, p. 207. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
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October 14, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail