Tocharian A manuscript №№ 144–211 from Šorčuq: The new data. I

2023. №1, 132-150

Ilya B. Itkin
Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; HSE University, Moscow, Russia;


The article provides a general description of the Tocharian A manuscript №№ 144–211 according to the publication of Tocharian A texts by E. Sieg and W. Siegling (1921). This manuscript is a collection of stories about prince Nanda, the half-brother of Buddha, and Sundari, his beloved. Many fragments of this manuscript, both published and still unpublished, join together. The article publishes two leaves made up of joined fragments — A 144 + THT 2485 and A 171+156 + THT 2543 + THT 2265 — with a detailed commentary and translation. The first leaf describes the beginning of Buddha and Nanda’s journey to the Himalayas and, further, to the world of the Thirty-three Gods (Skr. trayastriṃśa-). The second leaf presents a dialogue between two followers of Buddha — the young women Viśākhā and Preṣikā. A whole variety of elaborately used figures of speech (realization of the metaphor, chiasmus, deliberate syntactic ambiguity, etc.) allows to call this dialogue, whose text can be reconstructed almost fully, a pearl of the Buddhist literature of the Early Middle Ages.

For citation:

Itkin I. B. Tocharian A manuscript №№ 144–211 from Šorčuq: The new data. I. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2023, 1: 132–150.


The author expresses his deep gratitude to S. I. Pereverzeva for the English translation and to S. V. Malyshev for a number of very important remarks, specifications and corrections.