Transition of Role of the Jingtu Monastery in Later Tang: A study on the account book of the Jingtu Monastery in 931
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
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The study of Dunhuang manuscripts have been one of the important areas in Sinology as well as in the study of world history. Many previous studies had done on the Buddhist manuscripts found in Dunhuang, however, only few studies had focused on the economic manuscripts. This thesis examines the management book of the Jingtu Monastery in the year 931 to argue that the Jingtu Monastery has became an independent entity rather than a place only for religious purpose. This four columns style management book records every single transactions happened throughout the year of 930, including income and expense. Based on the analysis of the income part of the management book, the interest on loans is the most important way of collecting income, while comparing to records from previous years, the interest on loans is not as important as the income from land lease as well as donations. The analysis clearly shows that monasteries in Dunhuang, including the Jingtu Monastery, functioned as an independent economic entity, since they owned lands, they monopolized essential installations for agriculture, and they even issued loans to people. That is to say, monasteries were not depending on the government or the donations from disciples; rather, the major source of income shift to interest on loans.
Mengnan Zhang was a Bryn Mawr College student.