PELLIOT, Paul. Paris 28.5.1878 — Paris 26.10.1945. French Sinologist and Central Asian Scholar. Professor in Paris. Son of Charles Théodore P. and Marie Renault, educated in Paris. Studied in Paris for diplomatic career, but soon turned to Indology and Sinology under Lévi, Chavannes and Cordier. In 1900 joined the É.F.E.O. in Hanoi, from 1901 as Professor of Chinese there. In 1900-1902 in Peking collecting Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian books. In 1905 he was appointed to lead the French Central Asian Expedition of 1906-11, accompanied by L. Vaillant and Ch. Nouette. At the old monastery of Dunhuang he found a rich manuscript collection and brought a great number of manuscripts and fragments to Paris, where Lévi, Bacot, Lalou and others started work on them. A. Stein had been there earlier, but Pelliot with his linguistic skills (Chinese) is said to have made better selection. From 1911 he was Professor of Central Asian Languages and History at Collège de France (a new chair) in Paris. In 1918 in Peking and Siberia as military attaché. Member of A.I.B.L. 1921, President of Société Asiatique 1936. In 1920-45 editor of the T’oung Pao (alone in 1925-35). Died rapidly in a cancer. Married 1918 Marianne Karvosky.
Pelliot was a skilled and many-sided scholar who was known to have good command of all languages important for Central Asian history (even a noted Mongolist). In his early years he was mainly a Sinologist, much interested in ancient China’s foreign contacts, later concentrated much on Mongolian. Much of his great learning is hidden in long reviews and articles. He brought to Paris more than 4 000 manuscripts and fragments in many languages (Chinese, Tibetan, Khotanese Saka, Sogdian, Uighur, and Tocharian; mainly from Dunhuang and Kucha) and approx. 30 000 Chinese books. He is said to have been an impulsive and brave character.
Publications: A great number of articles and reviews in BÉFEO, JA, TP, etc.
– Sinological works, e.g. “Les noms propres dans les traductions chinoises du Milindapañha”, JA 11:4, 1914, 379-419.
– with É. Chavannes: “Un traité manichéen retrouvé en Chine”, JA 10:18, 1911, 499-617 & 11:1, 1913, 99-199, 261-394 (Chinese text with transl. and notes).
– “La version ouiguré de l’histoire des princes Kalyānamkara et Pāpankara”, TP 15, 1914, 225-261; “A propos des comans”, JA 11:15, 1920, 125-185.
– Les grottes de Touen-houang. 1-5. Paris 1920-24.
– “Tokharien et Koutchéen”, JA 224, 1934, 23-106.
– Translated with A. C. Moule: Marco Polo. Description of the World. 1-2. 595+131 p. L. 1938.
– Posthumously published (as Œuvres posthumes de PP), i.al.: Notes sur l’histoire de la Horde d’Or. 292 p. P. 1950; Notes on Marco Polo. 1. 12+611 p. P. 1959; Notes critiques d’histoire kalmuke. 1-2. 6+237 p. P. 1960; Recherches sur les chrétiens d’Asie centrale et d’Extrème-Orient. 311 p. P. 1973; also “Mélanges sur l’époque des croisades”, MAIBL 44, 1960, 1-98.
Sources: Chercheurs d’Asie 227-229; J.-P. Drège, D.O.L.F. 743f.; *Duyvendak, TP 38, 1948, 1-16 with photo; *S. Elisseef, AAA 1, 1945-46, 11-13; *R. Fazy, “Les œuvres posthumes de P.P.”, As.St./Ét.as. 3, 1949, 53-55; E. Haenisch, ZDMG 101, 1951, 9f.; B. Haloun, JRAS 1947, 137f.; *St. Konow, AO 20, 1948, 161-164 with photo; *M. Lalou, Bibl. buddh. 4-5; *A. Lods, “Eloge funeraire”, CRAI 1945, 520-525; *A. Lods, JS 1945, 150-155; *L. Renou, CRAI 1950, 130-144; *R. de Rotours, Mél. ch. et bouddh. 7, 1939-45, 227-234; *F.W. Thomas, AL 19, 1945, 81-84; *H. Walravens (ed.), PP (1878-1945). His Life and Works – a Bibliography. Indiana Univ. Oriental Ser. 9. Bloomington 2001; *J.R.W[are], HJAS 9, 1945, 187f.; *P.P. 79 p. P. 1946 (7 essays); Wikipedia with photo (another and more details in French version); photo also in JA 261, 1973.
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