Friday, June 26, 2009

List of Travelogues & Translation

As we mentioned earlier, the travelogues played a very important role in resurrecting history. The Buddhist monks used them as a guide to plan their religious and educational trips as they gave a detailed account of the pilgrimages with the description of the school of thoughts followed by different monasteries. These scriptures were always a cherished part of Chinese culture but they didn’t contribute much to the rest of the world till they were translated into the western languages.

It was in 1830’s that the first translation of the eyewitness accounts of two monks Fahien and Xuanzang were available in French and English and provided a major break through in understanding Buddhism and the places associated with Buddha.
This information was well appreciated among the enthusiastic orientalists and explorers. Subsequently many translations were published in 19th and 20th century giving better insight. These translations equipped the explorers with much needed details about the religion, the places associated with it, the history, the importance of monasteries, trade practices, people, demography etc. It proved to be the inspiration that many orientalists were looking for and hence conceived ambitious plans to bring to light the past of the silk route and the Indian subcontinent.


Given below is a list of translations:

A. Fahien translations

1. “Foe Koue Ki” of MM.Remusat, klaproth and Landresse. 1833. -- Remusat is the originator of the French translation work and then it was taken by Heinrich Julius klaproth and when both of them died in 1832 and 1835 respectively, it was taken up by M. Landresse who saw it through to publication. An English Summary of this book was prepared by Wilson in 1837.
2. The English translation “The pilgrimage of Fahien” from French edition of “Foe Koue Ki” of MM.Remusat, klaproth and Landresse was published in Calcutta in 1848 by Laidley.
3. A complete English version from original Chinese version was published in 1869 in by Rev. S. Beal.
4. “Records of Buddhist Kingdom By Fahien” translated by James Legge, 1886

B. Xuanzang Translations

1- 1st in 1853- Histoire de la vie de Hiouen Thsang by M. Julien
2- 2nd in 1857 Memoires sur les contrees occidentales by M.Julien
3- Buddhist records of the western worlds (“Travels”), translated from Chinese of Hiuen Tsiang (AD 629) by Samuel Beal in 1884
4- The life of Xuanzang (“Life”)- Shaman Hwui Li by Samuel Beal in 1911
5- On Yuan chwang’s travels in india(“Travels”) - Thomas watters in 1904-05

C. Wou-Itsing- A record of Buddhist region by J. Takakusu

D. Dharmasvamin--- Biography of Dharmasvamin by, Dr. G. Roerich

NEXT: Interpretation of travelogues  

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