Once Again on the Structure of the Mongolian Ganjur

Alekseev Kirill (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Once Again on the Structure of the Mongolian Ganjur

(57th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Vladivostok, 2014)

The Mongolian Ganjur has survived to the present day in two main versions. The first, the manuscript version, was created under Ligdan Khan in the years 1628–1629. The final product of this translation and editorial work was a special manuscript written in gold on a blue background, subsequently named the “Golden” Ganjur (AK). The Ligdan Khan’s version of the Ganjur also exists in a number of plain or “black” copies, probably the oldest and the most complete of which is the 113 volume collection kept at the St. Petersburg State University Library (PK). Together with it is enclosed a catalogue of the Ganjur called Naran-u Gerel (NG). Later on the Ligdan Khan’s Ganjur became the basis for yet another edition of the Mongolian Ganjur – at this stage a blockprint – created under the auspices of the Emperor Kangxi in 1718–1720 in Beijing (MK).

A substantial divergence between the structure of PK, NG, and MK (the order and the number of sections, volumes and works etc.) led scholars to suggest that PK is a draft copy written down some time before 1629. It is also considered that NG does not provide a catalogue of the manuscript Ganjur and presents another preliminary draft for the final translation.

Using some newer data and a multidisciplinary approach combining Mongolian and Tibetan studies, textology and codicology, the paper reconsiders the entire picture of the genesis of the Mongolian Ganjur, proving that PK was written later than AK and that PK, NG and MK have the same structure.