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Variant Characters

(942 words)

Author(s): Imre GALAMBOS
Variant characters ( yìtǐzì 異體字) are alternate forms of the same character: 峰/峯 fēng 'mountain top', 群/羣 qún 'group, flock', 册/冊 , 裏/裡 'inside'. While the term yìtǐzì has been – and still is – used in this sense by the general public in China, modern research prefers to deemphasize the character in favor of the word it represents in context. Accordingly, a variant is defined by the word it stands for, even if one would intuitively identify it as a different character on account of graphical properties. For this reason…
Date: 2017-03-02

Manuscripts and Printing: East Asia

(7,357 words)

Author(s): Imre Galambos
Although historically East Asia has been an arena where ethnically and politically diverse states alternated with one another, from the point of view of the history of Buddhism the region refers to an area now largely covered by China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Having said that, it is important to keep in mind that this division reflects the modern geopolitical reality, according to which state boundaries and national identities separate ethnically, culturally, and linguistically distinct regio…