Letter: BH1-19

Letter BH1-19



Letter in early Judaeo-Persian. Dating: ca. 790. Matters discussed include the local ruler and his daughter, a trade deal or gift exchange with them involving sheep, Sogdians, slaves, capers, musk, silk, sugar, and news of Kashgar, including the capture or killing of Tibetans in battle. The dating is based on political events in western China to which the letter seems to be alluding. The variant of New Persian in which the letter is written is, according to Zhan Zhang, very early, containing grammatical and/or lexical elements from Middle Persian, Sogdian, Hebrew, Arabic and Chinese. The letter surfaced in China in 2004 and is now housed at the National Library of China. Zhang published an edition and Chinese translation in 2009: “Yijian xinfaxian Youtaibosiyu xinzha de duandai yu shidu ⼀ 件新发现犹太波斯 信札的断代与 [Dating and interpretation of a newly-discovered Judaeo-Persian letter]," Dunhuang tulufan yanjiu 敦煌吐番研究 11 (2008) [2009], 77–99. An English translation of Zhang's Chinese translation appears in Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History with Documents (2012). Zhang is working on a new edition and a new English translation as of 2021.