PELLIOT, Paul. Paris 28.5.1878 — Paris 26.10.1945. French Sinologist and Central Asian Scholar. Professor in Paris. Son of merchant 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 Professor of Chinese there. In 1900-1901 (during Boxer Rebellion) and again 1902 in Peking collecting Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian books. In 1904-06 in Paris (visited Russia). In 1905 he was appointed to lead the French Central Asian Expedition of 1906-09, accompanied by L. Vaillant and Ch. Nouette. At the old monastery of Dunhuang he found in 1908 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 WW I served as officer and as military attaché in Peking. 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 of 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 historical geography and ancient China’s foreign contacts, later concentrated especially on Mongolian. An important interest were also the travels of Marco Polo. 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 approximately 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.

– “Le Fou-nan”, BEFEO 3, 1903,248-303; “Deux itinéraires de Chine en Inde à la fin du VIIIe siècle”, BEFEO 4, 1904, 131-413; “Autour d’une traduction sanscrite du Tao tö king”, TP N.S. 13, 1912, 351-430.

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; “Neuf notes sur des questions d’Asie centrale”, TP 26:4-5, 1929, 201-266; “Sur la légende d’UΓuz-khan en écriture ouïgour”, TP 27, 1930, 247-358.

– “Meou-tseu ou les doutes levés”, TP 19, 1918-19, 255-433; “Les ‘Conquêtes de l’Empereur de la Chine”, TP 20, 1920-21, 183-274.

Les grottes de Touen-houang. 1-5. Paris 1920-24; “Les fresques de Touen-houang et les fresques de M. Eumorfopoulos”, RAA 5, 1928, 143-163, 193-214.

– “Le voyage de MM. Gabet et Huc à Lhasa”, TP 24, 1925-26, 133-178.

– “Les grands voyages maritimes chinois au début du XVe siècle”, TP 30, 1933, 237-452 (additions in 31:3-5, 1935, 274-314 & 32, 1936, 210-222).

– “Tokharien et Koutchéen”, JA 224, 1934, 23-106; “A propos du ‘tokharien’”, TP 32, 1936, 259-284.

– Translated with A. C. Moule: Marco Polo. Description of the World. 1-2. 595+131 p. L. 1938.

– “Le Ḫōj̆a et le Sayyid Ḥusain de l’Histoire des Ming”, TP 38:2-5, 1948, 81-292.

Posthumously published (as Œuvres posthumes de Paul Pelliot), 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; Recherches sur les chrétiens… II:1. La stèle de Si-ngan-fou. 10+108 p. P. 1984; also “Mélanges sur l’époque des croisades”, MAIBL 44, 1960, 1-98.

Sources: Chercheurs d’Asie 227-229; J. Auboyer, Art. As. 9. 1946, 141-143; *J.-P. Drège, “P.P., recenseur et polémiste”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1113-1129; J.-P. Drège, D.O.L.F. 743f.; J.J.L. Duyvendak, TP 38:1, 1947, 1-15 with photo; *S. Elisseef, AAA 1, 1945-46, 11-13; *R. Fazy, “Les œuvres posthumes de P.P.”, As.St./É 3, 1949, 53-55; *J. Gernet, “P.P., sinologue et bibliographe, les débuts de l’imprimerie en Chine”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1097-1111; E. Haenisch, ZDMG 101, 1951, 9f.; B. Haloun, JRAS 1947, 137f.; *J.-F. Jarrige, “P.P. et le Musée Guimet”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1091-1095 & “Les carnets de route de P.P. (1906-1908): Un document exceptionnel enfin publié”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1273-1282; *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; *W. Sundermann, “P.P. et les études iraniennes”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1131-1140; *M. Tardieu, “Les Chrétiens d’Orient dans l’œuvre de P.P.”, CRAI 152, 2008, 1141-1157; *F.W. Thomas, AL 19, 1945, 81-84; *H. Walravens (ed.), P.P. (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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