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Dr Imre Galambos

Chinese manuscripts; Dunhuang studies; Tangut studies; history of Chinese writing; contacts between China and Central Asia; Silk Road
Dr Imre Galambos

Reader in Chinese

Office Phone: 01223 335098


After having studied for several years in China (Tianjin) and Hungary, I received my Ph.D. from UC Berkeley with a dissertation on the orthography of Chinese writing during the Warring States period. Following my graduation I started working for the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library and became involved in the study of Dunhuang manuscripts and the manuscript culture of medieval China in general. After 10 years at the British Library, I came to Cambridge in 2012. 

Research Interests

Medieval China; Dunhuang studies; history of Chinese writing; Chinese manuscripts and epigraphy; contacts between China and Central Asia; Tangut studies; history of the exploration of Central Asia.

My current book project is on the codicology of Dunhuang manuscripts from the 9th-10th century, focussing on the influence of non-Chinese written traditions on Chinese manuscript culture.

I am currently holding weekly research meetings on the topic of Dunhuang studies, where participants discuss their research and benefit from the input of others.

Supervision of MPhil and PhD students

I am happy to supervise graduate students working on Chinese manuscript culture, codicology and palaeography, the history of the Chinese script, Dunhuang studies, Tangut studies, Chinese contacts with Central Asia, and textual studies in general in the medieval period. Prospective MPhil and PhD applicants are advised to contact me to discuss their proposed projects.

Other Professional Activities

Sub-editor for medieval China for the Encyclopedia of Manuscript Cultures in Asia and Africa compiled at the University of Hamburg. 

Key Publications

2016    “Confucius and Laozi at the altar: Reconsidering a Tangut manuscript.” Studies in Chinese Religions 2.3, 237–264.

2015  Translating Chinese Tradition and Teaching Tangut Culture: Manuscripts and Printed Books from Khara-khoto. Berlin: de Gruyter. Berlin: de Gruyter.

2015  “She association circulars from Dunhuang.” In Antje Richter, ed., History of Chinese Epistolary Culture. (Handbuch der Orientalistik.) Leiden: Brill, 853–877.

2015  “Manuscripts and printing: East Asia.” In Jonathan A. Silk and Stefano Zacchetti, eds., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Leiden: Brill, 968–978.

2015  “Confucian education in a Buddhist environment: Medieval manuscripts and imprints of the Mengqiu.” Studies in Chinese Religion, DOI:10.1080/23729988.2015.1073896, 269–288.

2013  Studies in Chinese Manuscripts: From the Warring States Period to the 20th Century. Budapest: ELTE Institute of East Asian Studies. (Edited volume.)

2012  Manuscripts and Travellers: The Sino-Tibetan Documents of a Tenth-Century Buddhist Pilgrim. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. Co-authored with Sam van Schaik.

2012  “Non-Chinese influences in medieval Chinese manuscript culture.” In Zsombor Rajkai and Ildikó Bellér-Hann, eds., Frontiers and Boundaries: Encounters on China’s Margins. Wiesbade: Harrassowitz. 71–86.

2011 “The northern neighbors of the Tangut.” Cahiers de Linguistique – Asie Orientale 40: 69–104.

2006  Orthography of Early Chinese Writing: Evidence from Newly Excavated Manuscripts (490–221 BC). Budapest Monographs in East Asian Studies. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University.

See more here

Other Publications

2018     “An Early Manuscript Fragment of Dharmarakṣa’s Translation of the *Ajātaśatrukaukṛtyavinodana.” In Lutz Edzard, Jens W. Borgland and Ute Hüsken, eds., Reading Slowly - A Festschrift for Jens E. Braarvig, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 409–431. (Co-authored with Jonathan Silk.)

2017    “The Chinese script.” In Wiebke Denecke, Wai-Yee Li, Xiaofei Tian, eds., Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature (1000 BCE-900 CE). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 31–45.

2017     “Graphic variation in early Chinese writing.” In Gábor Kósa, ed., China Across the Centuries: Papers from a Lecture Series in Budapest. Budapest: Department of East Asian Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, 33–59.

2016    “Introduction: Sir Gerard Clauson and his Skeleton Tangut Dictionary.” Gerard Clauson’s Skeleton Tangut (Hsi Hsia) Dictionary. With an Introduction by Imre Galambos, with an Index by Andrew West; Facsimile Edition Prepared by Michael Everson. Corpus Textorum Tangutorum, v. 2. Portlaoise: Evertype, 2016. vii–xxvi. 

2016    “Composite manuscripts in medieval China: The case of scroll P.3720 from Dunhuang.” In Michael Friedrich and Cosima Schwarke, ed., One-Volume Libraries: Composite Manuscripts and Multiple Text Manuscripts. Berlin: de Gruyter, 355–378.

2016    “A snapshot of Dunhuang studies, circa 2016.” Orientations 47.4, 33–38.

2016    “Scribbles on the verso of manuscripts written by lay students in Dunhuang.” Tonkō shahon kenykū nenpō 敦煌寫本硏究年報 10, 497–522.

2016    “Manuscript and print in the Tangut state: The case of the Sunzi.” in Hildegard Diemberger, Karl Ehrhard and Peter F. Kornicki, eds., Tibetan Printing: Comparison, Continuities, and Change. Leiden: Brill, 135–152.

2015    “The valley of Dantig and the myth of exile and return.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 78/3, 475–491. (Co-authored with Sam van Schaik.)

2014  “A Chinese tract in Tangut translation.” Central Asiatic Journal 57, 71–83.

2014  “New incarnations of old texts: Traces of a move to a new book form in medieval Chinese manuscripts.” In Tōhōgaku kenkyū ronshū kankōkai 東方学研究論集刊行會, ed., Takata Tokio kyōju taishoku kinen Tōhōgaku kenkyū ronshū 高田時雄教授退職記念東方学研究論集. Kyoto: Rinsen shoten, 369–389.

2014  “Punctuation marks in medieval Chinese manuscripts.” In Jörg Quenzer and Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, eds., Manuscript Cultures: Mapping the Field. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 341–357.

2014  “Buddhist relics from the Western Regions: Japanese archaeological exploration of Central Asia.” In Nile Green, ed., Globalizing Central Asia: The Writing of Travel at the Crossroads of Asia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2014  “The Chinese script.” In Tim Wright, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. URL:

2013  “Correction marks in the Dunhuang manuscripts.” In Imre Galambos, ed. Studies in Chinese Manuscripts: From the Warring States Period to the 20th Century. Budapest: ELTE University, Department of East Asian Languages. 191-210.

2012  “Consistency in Tangut Translations of Chinese Military Texts.” In Irina Popova, ed., Tanguty v Tsentral’noj Azii: Sbornik stat’ej v chest’ 80-letija prof. E. I. Kychanova [Tanguts in Central Asia: a collection of articles marking the 80th anniversary of Prof. E. I. Kychanov]. Moscow: Oriental Literature. 84–96.

2012  “Simplified characters.” In Naomi Standen, ed. Demystifying China: New Understandings of Chinese History. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. 187–195.

2012  “Japanese exploration of Central Asia: The Ōtani expeditions and their British connections.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 75: 113–134. Co-authored with Kitsudō Kōichi.

2011  “Popular character forms (suzi) and semantic compound (huiyi) characters in medieval Chinese manuscripts.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 131.3: 395–409.

2011  “Touched a nation’s heart: Sir E. Denison Ross and Alexander Csoma de Kőrös.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 21/3: 361–375.

2011  “The Tangut translation of the General’s Garden by Zhuge Liang.” Written Monuments of the Orient (Pis’mennyje Pamiatniki Vostoka), No. 1 (14): 131–142.

2010  “Japanese ‘spies’ along the Silk Road: British suspicions regarding the second Otani expedition (1908–09).” Japanese religions 35 (1 & 2): 33–61.

2009  “Manuscript copies of stone inscriptions in the Dunhuang corpus: Issues of dating and provenance.” Asiatische Studien/Etudes asiatiques LXIII, 4: 809–826.

2008  “The story of the Chinese seals found in Ireland.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 18: 465–479.

2008  “A 10th century manuscript from Dunhuang concerning the Gantong monastery at Liangzhou,” Tonkō shahon kenkyū nenpō 敦煌寫本研究 2: 63–82.

2005  “A Corpus-based approach to palaeography: The case of the Houma covenant texts.” Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques LIX 1: 115–130.

2004  “The myth of the Qin unification of writing in Han sources.” Acta Orientalia (Hung.) 57.2: 181–203.

2004  “Dunhuang Characters and the Dating of Manuscripts.” In Susan Whitfield, ed., The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War & Faith. Chicago: Serindia. 72–79.