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Marc Aurel Stein

Sir M(arc) Aurel Stein (1862 - 1943), born in Budapest, was a Hungarian archaeologist who became a British citizen. He was also a professor at various Indian universities. Stein was inspired by Sven Hedin's work, Through Asia.

Stein took part in three successful expeditions and one failed expedition in Central Asia.

The British Library's Stein collection of Chinese, Tibetan and Tangut manuscripts, Prakrit wooden tablets, and documents in Khotanese , Uighur, Sogdian and Eastern Turkic is the result of his travels through central Asia during the 1920s and 1930s. Stein discovered manuscripts in the previously lost Tocharian languages and recorded numerous archaeological sites especially in Iran and Baluchistan. Stein's greatest discovery was made at the "Cave of the Thousand Buddhas ," near Dunhuang (Tun Huang). It was there that he discovered the Diamond Sutra, the world's oldest dated printed text. In 1901 Stein was responsible for exposing forgeries of Islam Akhun. During his expedition of 1906-1908 while surveying in the Kunlun mountain range in western China, Stein suffered frostbite and lost several toes on his right foot.

The art objects he collected are divided between the British Museum, the British Library and the National Museum , New Delhi. His collection is important in the study of the history of Central Asia and the art and literature of Buddhism.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45