When the Fu Ssu-nien Library was founded in 1928, it established a “Dunhuang Materials Research Division” to collect and edit materials contained in the Dunhuang documents. Some forty-nine Dunhuang documents were eventually acquired for this division, including a number of Chinese Buddhist manuscripts, nine Tibetan manuscripts, one Uighur manuscript, one Tangut manuscript and two fascicles of wood-block printed Buddhist images. Over the past century, the manuscripts from Cave 17 at Dunhuang, now kept in collections in various parts of the world, have gradually been published. The Fu Ssu-nien Library has now finally made its small collection available to the public in the hopes that it may contribute to the field of Dunhuang studies.

On March 20, 2002, the Fu Ssu-nien Library held a meeting to discuss whether or not to publish its Dunhuang holdings as a part of a project proposed by the National Library called “Publication of Collections of Dunhuang Documents Held in Public Institutions in Taiwan.” Because the nature and significance of the Fu Ssu-nien documents was not yet clear, it was then decided to first make the materials available on our website and await further input from specialists in the field before publishing the documents in book form. In December of the same year, the Library signed an agreement with the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) based at the British Library to digitalize our documents according to standards established by the IDP in exchange for a guarantee of unlimited, free access to the IDP database.

In 2003, the Library began the work of identifying and describing the documents. The description included identification of title, location in the Taisho version of the Buddhist canon, first and final lines, original Sanskrit title, etc. The digitalization of the manuscripts was completed in the early part of 2004. At the same time, digital images of the non-Chinese manuscripts were made available on a website, and specialists invited to comment on them. In November of that year, plans began for the creation of a webpage for the documents. In December, in accordance with the original agreement, the images and metadata were provided to the British Library.

The material on the Dunhuang Website of the Fu Ssu-nien Library consists of several parts : subject of website, collections introduction, a space for users to exchange opinions and information about the documents. This material will appear on the webpage in full by the end of January 2005 for the use of the academic community at large.


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