In the days when the bougainvillea blooms
I got to know Professor Rong Xinjiang very early, and then I met Professor Duan Qing (1953-2022) through Mr. Rong. In the early 1980s, Duan Qing went to the University of Hamburg, Germany, where she studied Khotanese under the tutelage of Professor ER Emmerick and studied for a Ph.D. in Iranian Studies. Rong Xinjiang chose Khotan as his main research direction. For decades, the two professors have cooperated in many areas such as Central Asia and the Western Regions, Iran Studies, and Silk Road Studies. The spirit of mutual appreciation and mutual encouragement between them is admirable. In 2013, the National Social Science Foundation’s major project “Dunhuang and Khotan: Interaction between Buddhist Art and Material Culture” chaired by Rong Xinjiang was launched. Translation and research of Tian language and Tibetan literature. I am honored to be a member of the project team, undertaking the research on the origin and interaction of Dunhuang and Khotan images in the project. So I had more contact with Mr. Duan.
As a peer, Professor Duan Qing is lucky. When the vast majority of educated young people who graduated from middle school received “re-education” in the “broad world”, she was already sitting in the classroom of Peking University to receive higher education. In 1977, when we finally had the opportunity to pass the college entrance examination and enter university, she was already a graduate student under Mr. Ji Xianlin. This kind of experience makes Duan Qing always maintain the rare integrity and frankness. She had the hallmarks of a man of her time: fearless and selfless. She dared to point out other people’s problems face to face, instead of blindly praising her, and she is very strong academically. She cannot tolerate low-level academics, which is very rare in today’s academic world. She lives a free and easy life, happy, and never complains. When encountering things, I always say, “What’s the matter?” and then resolve it with a “spiritual operation”. And her heart is soft and full of compassion. Colleagues and friends who work with her, and her students appreciate her selflessness.
In August 2014, Mr. Rong organized the “Dunhuang and Khotan” project team to participate in the “Sogdians in China: Archaeological Discoveries and New Evidence of Unearthed Documents” conference held in Yinchuan. After the meeting, they traveled along the Silk Road. Visit Dunhuang all the way. In this inspection activity, we first followed the footsteps of Marco Polo through Yinchuan-Ejina-Jiuquan-Jiayu-Dunhuang, and inspected the Western Xia Royal Mausoleum, Heicheng Ruins, Jianshui Jinguan, Wenshushan Grottoes, Yangguan, Yumenguan and other relics, as well as museums along the way, after arriving in Dunhuang, inspected more than 60 caves related to the project of “Dunhuang and Khotan”, including Mogao Grottoes, Yulin Grottoes, and West Thousand Buddha Caves, and conducted a three-afternoon “Dunhuang and Khotan” project research mini-seminar. When inspecting the caves, Teacher Duan saw that Teacher Rong and I were making notes comparing the “Summary of the Contents of the Dunhuang Grottoes” we had brought, and said, “Look at him, he is so professional!” So he immediately bought it from the Dunhuang Bookstore with other teachers and classmates. book.
In June 2017, the “Dunhuang and Khotan” project team went to Budapest, Hungary to participate in the “From Khotan to Dunhuang: History and Art on the Silk Road” jointly organized by the “Belt and Road” Research Center of the Confucius Institute at Eolland University and Peking University. Research” (From Khotan to Dunhuang—Case Studies of History and Art along the Silk Road) International Academic Symposium. Chinese scholars and scholars from Hungary, Germany, France and other places gathered together to discuss issues of history, language and images from Khotan to Dunhuang. Teacher Rong and Teacher Duan undertook the organizational work. Teacher Duan gave full play to his language advantages and took on the communication and communication work between the two parties with ease. After the meeting, the project team came to Munich, Germany to inspect the Chinese Khotanese documents collected by the Wuzhou Museum. In the museum, Teacher Duan led her former students Sarji and Fan Jingjing to explain and read documents in Khotanese and other languages other than Chinese. In addition to German and English, Mr. Duan mastered a variety of ancient languages around the Silk Road, which I don’t understand at all, and I am not qualified to judge. It is conceivable how much effort it will take to decipher these languages and characters that have been dead for many years, excluding talent. Duan Qing can finally decipher those words that seem to us like a heavenly book, which makes me admire. Later, Teacher Rong concluded:
Professor Duan Qing is a unique supporter of ancient languages in the archaeology of the Silk Road in China. She can interpret all the Sanskrit, Kalu, Khotanese, German, Sogdian, and Syriac found on the Silk Road. China has no The second person, I am afraid there will be no second person for many years.
At a gathering in March 2018, Teacher Duan told us that we were going to Pakistan for an investigation, and he seemed to speak casually. Gandhara art, as the origin of Buddhist art, is a topic that we cannot avoid when we do research. The hinterland of Gandhara is also a place I wanted to go when I was young but have never been able to go. The opportunity was rare, so I signed up immediately. In fact, Duan Qing and Zhang Jiamei, a teacher from the School of Foreign Languages of Peking University, had already started planning this matter. They made a sustainable plan: this time the destinations were Islamabad, Taxila and Peshawar. There will be a second round and a third round next, and the destinations are Swat, Kashmir and Afghanistan. In April of that year, we set off. From the design of the itinerary, security, board and lodging arrangement, etc., we can see the careful operation of the two teachers. Duan Qing and Professor Li Xiao from the Chinese Academy of Renmin University of China gave two themed lectures at the Institute of Asian Civilizations of Jinnah University on the first day of their visit. The topic of Mr. Duan’s lecture is “The Last Scythians”. In just six days, our group of eight not only inspected several famous sites and museums in Taxila and Peshawar, but also visited institutions such as the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Jinnah University, and Peshawar University. Friends communicate. The schedule is tight and closely linked. This is Teacher Duan’s style, seemingly casual, but he has done enough homework behind the scenes.
Our original intention of visiting the ruins and Buddha statues in the hinterland of Gandhara was for the ongoing major project of the National Social Science Fund, and most scholars naturally focused on their own research fields. On the third day of our visit, our team was invited by Mr. Yao Jing, then Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, to visit the embassy. Seeing that the compatriots in the motherland were very kind, Mr. Duan first gave a lecture on the historical exchanges of the South Silk Road to the staff of the embassy. During the dinner, Teacher Duan had a good chat with the scholar-type Ambassador Yao Jing. Ambassador Yao is an alumnus of Peking University and once served as the ambassador of the Chinese embassy in Afghanistan. Teacher Duan hoped that Ambassador Yao could assist in arranging the next trip to Afghanistan. During the meeting, Ambassador Yao Jing’s introduction to the current situation of China-Pakistan exchanges touched Teacher Duan so deeply that she never forgot it after she came back. She not only hopes to invite Ambassador Yao to give lectures at her alma mater, but also hopes to make more contributions to the cultural exchanges between China and Pakistan. On the second day after returning to China, Teacher Duan immediately wrote a report to Professor Qian Chengdan, Dean of the Institute of Regional and National Studies of Peking University, regardless of his fatigue. In the report she wrote:
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