LAUFER, Berthold

LAUFER, Berthold. Köln 11.10.1874 — Chicago 13.9.1934. German Sinologist and Anthropologist in the U.S.A. Son of Max L. and Eugenie Schlesinger. After school in Cologne studied at Berlin and Leipzig under Conrady, G. von der Gabelentz and W. Grube. Ph.D. 1897 Leipzig. In 1898 moved to the U.S.A. In 1904-06 Assistant in Ethnology at American Museum of Natural History, in 1905-07 Lecturer in Anthropology and Asiatic Languages at Columbia University. From 1907 in the Field Museum in Chicago, first Assistant Curator, from 1911 Associate Curator and from 1915 Curator of Anthropology. Travelled much: in 1898-99 in Siberia and China, in 1901-04 in China, in 1908-10 in Tibet and China, in 1923 in China. For the museum he achieved a large collection.

BL was a many-sided scholar, a philologist familiar with Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Sanskrit, Persian, Greek and Latin, and a much-esteemed Anthropologist. After early works on Tibetan and Mongolian his main interest was always Chinese art and archeology, but in this context he dealt with everything between heaven and earth in a learned and fascinating way. He was a good scholar of Chinese language and civilization, but also derived material from Central, South and West Asia, from classical antiquity, even Africa, etc., skilfully combining philology and anthropology. He was extremely productive, but nevertheless also critical. For the Field Museum he achieved a large material collection.

Publications: diss. Lp. 1897 text ed. of 37 p., whole work publ. as Klu ’bum bsdus pai sñiṅ po. Eine verkürzte Version des Werkes von der Hunderttausend Naga’s. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der tibetischen Volksreligion. Einl., Text, Übers. und Glossar. 5+20+119 p. MSFOu 11. Helsingford & B. 1898.

– “Über das va zur. Ein Beitrag zur Phonetik der tibetischen Sprache”, WZKM 12, 1898, 298-307 & 13, 1899, 95-109, 199-226.

– “Verzeichniss der tibetischen Handschriften der Kgl. Bibliothek zu Dresden”, ZDMG 55, 1901, 99-128; “Skizze der mongolischen Literatur”, Keleti Szemle 8, 1907, 165-261; “Skizze der manjurischen Literatur”, Keleti Szemle 9, 1908, 1-53.

Ein Sühngedicht der Bonpo. 60 p. DWA 46. Wien 1900; “Zwei legenden des Mila­raspa”, Archiv für Religionswiss. 1901, 672–715; Der Roman einer tibetischen Königin, hrsg. und übersetzt. 10+264 p. Lp. 1911; Milaraspa in Auswahl. Übers. 79 p. 14 pl. Hagen 1922.

Dokumente der indischen Kunst. 1. Malerei. Das Citralakṣaṇa nach dem tib. Tanjur hrsg. & üb. 193 p. Lp. 1913.

– “Historical jottings on amber in Asia”, Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association I:3, 1907, 211-244; “Die Sage von den goldgrabenden Ameisen”, T’oung Pao série 2, t. 9, 1908, 429-452; “Arabic and Chinese trade in walrus and narwhal ivory”, TP 14, 1913, 315-370; “The Story of the Pinna and the Syrian Lamb”, The Journal of American Folk-Lore 28, 1915, 103-128; “Asbestos and Salamander. An essay in Chinese and Hellenistic folk-lore”, TP 16, 1916, 299-373; “Supplementary notes on walrus and narwhal ivory”, TP 17, 1916, 348-389; “The Origin of the word Shaman”, Am. Anthropologist 19:3, 1917; “The Reindeer and its Domestication”, Mem. of the Am. Anthropological Assoc. 4:2, 1917, 91–147; “La mandragore”, TP 18, 1917, 1-30; “Malabathron”, JA 11:12, 1918, 5–49.

Chinese Pottery of the Han Dynasty. 20+349 p. 75 pl. Leiden 1909 (repr. Rutland, Vermont 1962); Chinese Grave-Sculpture of the Han Period. 45 p. 10 pl. L. 1911.

Jade. A study in Chinese archaeology and religion. 370 p. Field Museum of Natural History Publ. 154 (Anthropological Series 10), Chicago 1912.

Notes on Turquois in the East. Field Museum of Natural History Publ. 169 (Anthropological Series 13:1), Chicago 1913; Chinese Clay Figures. Part I. Prolegomena on the history of defensive armour. ibid. 177 (A.S. 13:2, 73–315). Ch 1914 (n.b. chapter 1 “History of the Rhinoceros”, 73–173); The Diamond. A study in Chinese and Hellenistic folk-lore. Ibid. 184 (A.S. 15:1). Ch. 1915; The beginnings of porcelain in China. Ibid. 192 (A.S. 15:2, 79–183) Ch. 1917; Sino-Iranica. Ibid. 201 (A.S. 15:3, 185–630), Ch. 1919; The prehistory of aviation. Ibid. 253 (A.S. 18:1, 1–96), Ch. 1928; The domestication of the cormorant in China and Japan. 61 p. 10 pl. Ibid. A.S. 18:3. Ch. 1931.

– “Confucius and his portraits”, The Open Court 26, 1912, 147–168, 202–218; “History of the finger-print system”, Smithsonian Inst. Report 1913, 631–652; Chinese Baskets. 2 p. 38 pl. Field Museum, Anthropology Design Series 3. Chicago 1925; Ivory in China. 78 p. 10 pl. Field Museum, Anthropology Leaflet 21. Ch. 1925; The ostrich. Field Museum, Anthr. Leaflet 23. Ch. 1926; Agate. Field Museum, Geology Leaflet 8. Ch. 1927 (with O. C. Farrington); Insect Musicians and Cricket Champions of China. 27 p. 12 pl. Field Museum, Anthr. Leaflet 22. Ch. 1927; The Giraffe in history and art. 100 p. Field Museum, Anthr. Leaflet 27. Ch. 1928; Paper and Printing in ancient China. 34 p. Ch. 1931; “The Swing in China”, MSFOu 67, 1933, 212-223; Felt. 25 p. Ch. 1933; “The Lemon in China”, JAOS 54, 1934, 143–160.

Tobacco and its use in Asia. 39 p. 10 pl. Field Museum, Anthropology Leaflet 18. Chicago 1924; Tobacco and its use in Africa. 45 p. 6 pl. Field Museum, Anthr. Leaflet 29. Chicago 1930; “Columbus and Cathay”, JAOS 51, 1931, 87-103; “Early history of Polo”, Polo. The Magazine for Horsemen 7:5, 1932, ??–??.

The American plant migration. 1. The potato. Ed. by C. M. Wilbur. 132 p. Field Museum of Natural History Publ. 418 (Anthropol. Series 28:1), Chicago 1938

Kleinere Schriften von Berthold Laufer. Hrsg. von H. Walravens. 1. 1894–1910. 1-2. 1589 p. 2. 1911–1925. 1-2. 1678 p. 3. Nachträge und Briefwechsel. 506 p. Sinologica Coloniensia 2 & 7 & 13. Wb. 1975-79-85.

Sources: *Field Museum News Oct. 1934; JAOS 54, 1934, 349-353 & Bibliography 354-362, with photo; R. L. Hobson, JRAS 1935, 230-232; Wikipedia with photo; full bibliography in Kleinere Schriften.

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