top of page

In this collection, we have compiled the following texts:


The “Traité” refers to teachings ascribed to Mani, which address a follower’s inquiries—specifically, those from a disciple known as “A-to” or “Addā”—regarding the principles of Manichaean creation and moral philosophy. The initial teaching delves into the cosmos’s origin, depicting the rescue of the original man by luminous forces, a subsequent onslaught by the sovereign of darkness, and the ultimate victory of light over shadow. Motifs like arboreal symbols and the tally of nights and days recur in other western Manichaean writings, especially those penned in Coptic. These themes align more closely with segments of Turkish-Manichaean manuscripts. Werner Sundermann, in 1983, expounded on how twenty-two Parthian scripts were the foundational works for these teachings, which were later rendered into Turkish and Sogdian. One of these translations from Central Asia was then adapted into the versions in Chinese.




The “Hymnscroll” (Chinese: 下部讚; pinyin: Xiàbùzàn), comprising thirty hymns, is believed to have been translated directly from Parthian into Chinese. This is evidenced by several hymns that are phonetic renderings of the Parthian originals, which would be cryptic to an average Chinese reader. Concluding with a benediction, the document suggests it was translated and compiled in the region of Turfan.




The Xiapu texts are a collection of Chinese Manichaean manuscripts that were first brought to public attention in October 2008. These texts, originating from Shangwan Village in Xiapu County, Fujian Province, are utilized in rituals honoring Lin Deng, a revered Manichaean figure from the Song Dynasty era. The manuscripts emphasize the veneration of Jesus within Manichaean practice, a distinctive feature compared to other forms of Manichaeism.


The Chinese Manichaean Texts

    bottom of page