More than one century after the discovery of the manuscripts in cave 17 in Dunhuang, the majority of documents that are preserved in different locations across the world have been catalogued and have given rise to a variety of disciplinary fields to which French researchers have contributed significantly. Nevertheless, the data that this research has brought to light remains fragmented. This project proposes to call on all experts to assess, within the confines of their respective research field, the importance of this data and draw out its specific temporal, social, intellectual and material characteristics. The results will then be compared in order to undertake the overall assessment of the data’s content by considering the collection of discovered manuscripts in its entirety, and to refine and outline with greater precision the nature of the documents that were kept together in the cave at the end of the 10th century. Scholars working on research fields such as economy, social and religious phenomena, Buddhist and secular literature, medicine, divinatory practices, charms, etc., as well as on the material characteristics of these documents, will present an overview, finally giving this scattered corpus the visibility it deserves.

Output and planned scientific activities

The on-going research will be presented in several workshops organised throughout the 2019-2023 five-year plan and will be published at the end of the programme.




Nathalie Monnet (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

CRCAO member

Associated members
Nathalie Monnet (Bibliothèque nationale de France)