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Uyghur Donors and Old Uyghur Texts

As a Turkic speaking tribe, the Uyghurs gradually converted to Buddhism after their migration from Mongolia into the Eastern Tianshan (天山) area in the second half of the 9th century. In the second half of the 10th or at the beginning of the 11th century Buddhism seems to have won a status of the state religion and this situation did not change dramatically until the end of the Mongolian period (14th century).

After their conversion, the Buddhist Uyghurs produced many Buddhist texts in their own language, Old Uyghur. The production of those texts was often supported by the Uyghur donors who hoped the achievement of not only their religious but also their secular wishes with this way. Their donations are sometimes recorded as a part of the Old Uyghur Buddhist texts. Those texts inform us an important part of the activities of those Uyghur Buddhists at that time. In this project, not only the colophons which are added at the end of the Old Uyghur texts and contain much information on the Uyghur donors, but also other Buddhist texts will be taken into consideration. The goal of the project will be to describe the relationship between the Uyghur donors and the Old Uyghur Buddhist texts from different aspects.

The results of this project will lay the foundations for further research within the framework the ERC-project BuddhistRoad.