Lunchtime Seminar – 26 November – Alessandro Boesi – Plants and the Buddha’s Word: Raw Materials for Paper Manufacture in the Tibetan World.

November 20th, 2014 by

A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Wednesday 26 November 2014, 1.00–2.00

All welcome

Alessandro Boesi

University of Milan

Plants and the Buddha’s Word: Raw Materials for Paper Manufacture in the Tibetan World


In the seventh century, when Tibet became a powerful empire in Asia and the basis of Tibetan civilization was laid, recording of information became a crucial undertaking, primarily for administrative purposes. A new script based on a Sanskrit alphabet was devised; stone inscriptions were carved and wood was often used as a writing surface but had significant limitations. As paper, and techniques for making it, were imported from neighbouring countries, much more extensive writing became possible. It was most likely during this period that Tibetans selected the local plants that could be used to produce paper, and started this activity in their own country.

This seminar explores the issues related to the plant species used for paper production in Tibet through the examination of field data, available research, and classical Tibetan _materia medica_ treatises.

It aims at identifying the most important Tibetan paper-plants, discussing the reasons why they were selected, and examining the areas where these plants have been used.

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