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Paul Pelliot : biography

1878 - 1945

Paul Pelliot (28 May 1878– 26 October 1945) was a French sinologist and explorer of Central Asia. Initially intending to enter the foreign service, Pelliot took up the study of Chinese and became a pupil of Sylvain Lévi and Édouard Chavannes.

Pelliot worked at École française d'Extrême Orient in Hanoi, from where he was dispatched in 1900 to Beijing to search for Chinese books for the École's library. While there, he was caught up in the Boxer Rebellion and trapped in the siege of foreign legations. Pelliot made two forays into enemy territory during the siege—one to capture an enemy standard and another to obtain fresh fruit for those under siege. For his bravery, he received the Légion d'honneur. At age 22, Paul Pelliot returned to Hanoi, where he was made a Professor of Chinese at the École. He was later elected professor at the Collège de France.

Rediscovery of Funan

Pelliot's first great scholarly achievement was the publication of his monograph "Le Fou-nan" in the journal Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême Orient. The ancient kingdom of Funan had existed in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam from approximately the 1st to the 6th century A.D. However, its history was not well-understood. Pelliot brought together the source-texts regarding this polity that he could find in the dynastic histories of China, translated them into French, and drew upon them in writing the first modern history of Funan. While some of Pelliot's conclusions regarding Funan have been criticized, chiefly on account of his reliance on the Chinese sources, in general his work has been validated by subsequent archeological excavation in southern Vietnam of sites belonging to the Oc Eo culture, which is thought to be the material culture of Funan.

Works and Publications

  • Pelliot (with E. Chavannes), "Un traité manichéen retrouvé en Chine", Journal asiatique 1911, pp. 499–617; 1913, pp. 99–199, 261-392.
  • " Les influences iraniennes en Asie Centrale et en Extrême-Orient," Revue d'histoire et de littérature religieuses, N.S. 3, 1912, pp. 97–119.
  • "Mo-ni et manichéens," Journal asiatique 1914, pp. 461–70.
  • "Le 'Cha-tcheou-tou-fou-t'ou-king' et la colonie sogdienne de la region du Lob Nor", Journal asiatique 1916, pp. 111–23.
  • "Le sûtra des causes et des effets du bien et du mal". Edité‚ et traduit d'après les textes sogdien, chinois et tibétain par Robert Gauthiot et Paul Pelliot, 2 vols (avec la collaboration de E. Benveniste), Paris, 1920.
  • avec la collaboration de MM. Borghezio, Masse‚ and Tisserant, Revue de l'Orient chrétien, 3e sér. 3 (23), 1922/23, pp. 3–30; 4(24), 1924, pp. 225–335; 8(28),1931, pp. 3–84.
  • "Les traditions manichéennes au Foukien," T'oung Pao, 22, 1923, pp. 193–208.
  • "Neuf notes sur des questions d'Asie Centrale," T'oung Pao, 24, 1929, pp. 201–265.
  • Notes sur Marco Polo, ed. L. Hambis, 3 vols., Paris 1959-63.
  • Notes on Marco Polo, (English version), Imprimerie nationale, librairie Adrien-Maisonneuve, Paris. 1959-63
  • "Recherches sur les chrétiens d'Asie centrale et d'Extrême-Orient I, Paris, 1973.
  • "L'inscription nestorienne de Si-ngan-fou", ed. avec supléments par Antonino Forte, Kyoto et Paris, 1996.
  • P. Pelliot et L. Ηambis, "Histoire des campagnes de Gengizkhan", vol. 1, Leiden, 1951.
  • * Marco Polo: The Description of the World. 1938. Translated and edited by A. C. Moule & Paul Pelliot. 2 Volumes. George Routledge & Sons, London. Downloadable from ISBN 4-87187-308-0
  • Marco Polo Transcription of the Original in Latin (with Arthur Christopher Moule) ISBN 4-87187-309-9
  • P. Pelliot, "Artistes des Six Dynasties et des T’ang", T’oung Pao 22, 1923.
  • "Quelques textes chinois concernant l'Indochine hindouisśe." 1925. In: Etudes Asiatiques, publiées à l'occasion du 25e anniversaire de l'EFEO.- Paris: EFEO, II: 243-263.
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