Just recently Dory Heilijgers, former chief librarian of the Kern library in Leiden, has launched a website called Dutch Studies on South Asia, Tibet and classical Southeast Asia . It focuses on Dutch scholars, both past and present, and their contributions to Classical Southeast Asian, South Asian and Tibetan Studies. Dory Heilijgers underlines that she will update this website on a regular basis and that many more names are still to be added to this overview; under the tab “Contact” she gives a list of those still in the pipeline. Suggestions are also welcome. The website provides a Curriculum Vitae and a list of publications for each entry but no links to publications or other sites. Maybe something to consider in the spirit of Open Access…?
Annabel Teh Gallop, scholar, Curator for Indonesian and Malay, and Head of the South and Southeast Asia section of the British Library in London has kindly allowed me to put her three posts originally written for the SEALG blog on this blog too. Here part one on the digitized Javanese manuscript Serat Selarasa. Matur nuwun, Annabel!!
An occasional series of blog posts on digitised manuscripts in the British Library
Annabel Teh Gallop, British Library
The Serat Selarasa is the most beautiful Javanese manuscript in the British Library, and perhaps the earliest finely-illustrated Javanese manuscript known. The manuscript is dated 1804, and according to a note in the text was once owned by the wife of a Dutch East India Company official in Surabaya. This was probably F.J.Rothenbühler, from whom Col. Colin Mackenzie received this manuscript in 1812. Mackenzie evidently had a special interest in this manuscript, for amongst his private papers is a complete English translation of the Serat Selarasa (Mackenzie 1822, vol.28, pp.1-152).
Although the manuscript was illustrated by the same artist throughout, there is a different approach in the first part of the manuscript (up to f.19v), where the pictures are larger and the characters range vertically across the page, some with ethereal pastel background settings, as seen below. Thereafter, the pictures are structured more conventionally along the bottom of the page, essentially on a single horizontal plane.
Mackenzie also received another illustrated Javanese manuscript from Rothenbühler, a copy of the Serat Panji Jayakusuma (MSS.Jav.68), and a translation of this text, entitled ‘History of a Raja of Kling’, is found in the same volume of Mackenzie’s papers (Mackenzie 1822, vol.28, pp.153-320). This manuscript is almost but not quite as fine as the Serat Selarasa, with considerable use of silver (now tarnished) as well as gold, and further investigation is needed to determine the artistic relationship between the two manuscripts.
Annabel Teh Gallop with Bernard Arps, Golden letters: writing traditions of Indonesia / Surat emas: budaya tulis di Indonesia (London: British Library; Jakarta: Lontar, 1991), pp.88-89. Continue reading
This impressive exhibition of splendid manuscripts and artifacts from the Mughal period is still on until 2 April 2013 at the British Library. For a short introduction by the curator please watch the video below:
When the library of the Kern Institute was moved to the UB, the largest part of its collection found its place in the Open Stacks. Rare and precious materials, such as the precious Tibetan block prints, were moved to the Special Collections and into the vault. More recent reprints of old block books, as well as other modern but fragile Tibetan material, have been safely stored in the Closed Stacks.
Quite safe, but no longer accessible. Of course no one wants a curious freshman to accidentally loosen the orange ribbons that are holding together hundreds of rectangle pages of reprints in Tibetan script. And that is just one possible disastrous scenario! Now that every bag and rucksack is allowed into the library, food and drink and other book-unfriendly substances could also find their way into the open stacks and onto those precious pages. But one clear downside of keeping books in the closed stacks is, of course, that no one has access to them unless they are properly catalogued. Alas, that has often not been the case — until recently! We have started a project to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Tibetan material. We are proud to announce that the work on two large serialized publications in the Tibetan language, altogether 191 volumes, has almost been completed. Not only does each individual volume — some containing only a few, others more than forty works – appear in the UB-Catalogue as an item, but so does every single work! Hence, from now on one can search by volume, but also by the individual title of a work and/or its author! Not all of the Tibetan collections can and will be described in this detailed fashion. In the case of the Narthang or the Urga Kanjur, for instance, one still needs to know the exact volume in order to trace a particular text. But the Tibetan Buddhist Research Center Library provides detailed information on numerous of those currently still ‘neglected’ publication serials.
Since the summer of 2012, Peter Kersten has patiently been conducting this enormous work for the UB — as a volunteer! Below he gives a short description of the two collections in question (the translation into English and all errors coming with it are my responsibility, so is the imperfection of the images).
The first of the two collections, consisting of 58 volumes with c. 800 pages each, contains old Buddhist works which came to Tibet during the early phase of dissemination of Buddhism. The second collection contains works produced in Tibet and inspired by those older works, commenting on them. It is first and foremost this Nyingma (rNying-ma) tradition in Tibet, literally ‘the old’ (and in fact the oldest of four Buddhist traditions) that preserves, studies, and applies those very early works . Both collections are present-day editions (Chengdu, 2009) using the Pecha (Tib. dpe cha) print format. Pecha is the traditional Tibetan way of publishing in thick bundels of long rectangular, loose pages, sandwiched between two cartons. Each volume is hold together by two ribbons. [... Can't picture yet what a Pecha looks like? Or how it is read and how it is traditionally wrapped in fine silk? Then the video demonstration by Lama Drimed of Dechen Rang Dharma Center in San Jose, California, might be worthwhile, please see below]
The first collection, the sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum), consists of early translations (Tib. snga ’gyur) of Buddhist Tantra works which belong to the Ati-yoga, Anu-yoga, and Mahā-yoga classes. It also includes the so-called Terma (Tib. gter ma) texts. The works stem from older collections originating from Derge (sDe-dge, 429 titles), Tsamdrag (mTshams-brag, 506 titles), Vairocana (19 titles) and Tingkye (gTing-skye, 23 titles), plus two additional titles.
The second collection, the sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum, contains works by Nyingma authors (teachers) in the field of Mahā-yoga, Anu-yoga and Ati-yoga (or Dzogchen, Tib. rdzogs pa chen po). With its 133 volumes and almost 2000 (!) works, this collection is not only a very broad collection but, according to the publishers, it is also unique, as many of the works presented here have not been accessible outside of Tibet until now.
Up until 2013, the Classical Tibetan language as used in the collections described above was still being taught at Leiden University, where it formed part of the South-, and Southeast Asia & Tibet Studies programme. You even didn’t need to be enrolled as a full-time student if you wanted to follow a couple of courses. As a so-called contract-student you could take on Classical Tibetan. You learnt how to read the script, to understand the words and even how to translate texts. Apart from the language courses, there were also a number of courses on Tibetan history and culture. This study year things have changed drastically: no first year Tibetan language courses at all! And it is not yet clear whether these are temporary or structural changes. I’ll keep you posted.
And for Pecha-beginners… :
On 13 April Dr. Henk Blezer (LIAS, Leiden University) will give a lecture on Tibetan Buddhism (Dutch title : Filosofie Oost-West (FOW) – Tibetaans boeddhisme: een inleiding tot de natuur van het denken). The lecture is organized by FOW, Utrecht, and will be hold in the Dutch language.
For details please check the FOW programme .
I am taking this opportunity to solemnly declare that, from now on, there will be regular postings on Tibetan Studies and the Tibetan collections in Leiden, starting next week with the sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) and the sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum collections. Of course there are also plenty of publications in the UB-holdings on Tibet in English that deserve our attention and that will find mention one way or the other!
Brill’s database Asian Studies E-books Online is a relevant source of academic e-books in the field of Asian Studies. The collection contains Brill publications of the recent years, but older publications are also included. The Leiden University library has acquired access to publications covering the period 2007 to 2012. Despite its clear focus on East Asia, the database contains numerous e-books on South Asia and the Himalaya, but publications on Southeast Asia are surprisingly scarce.
All e-books are full-text searchable, thus searching for a certain chapter or a certain author in an edited volume is made easy. The text can either be read on-screen or be downloaded as PDF. It almost goes without saying: Only University Leiden staff and students have free access to the books. The database can be accessed on-campus as well as from your home computer via the UB-Catalogue (tab Find Databases in the menu) using your ULCN name and password.
Here is the link to Brill Online Books and Journals. Click on the tab E-books in the menu and filter on Asian Studies in the left column to get the list of all 293 titles (clusters of 20, 50 or 100 — title. Please bear in mind that your computer has to do a lot of uploading – with a selection of 20 titles per page it will already seem kind of slow…).
… and if you’d like to access the collection already sorted by year of publication:
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2012 (contains 71 boeken)
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2011 (56)
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2010 (68)
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2009 (26)
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2008 (50)
- Asian Studies ebooks online, collection 2007 (63)
Here some examples of publications on South-, Southeast Asia & Tibet:
ABIA: South and Southeast Asian Art and Archaeology Index ed. Ellen Raven, 2010
Contributions to the Cultural History of Early Tibet eds Matthew Kapstein & Brandon Dotson, 2007
Timurids in Transition by M.E.Subtelny, 2007
Handbook of Tibetan Iconometry eds Christoph Cüppers et.al. 2012
From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900 by R. Wenzlhuemer 2008
Entering the Dharmadhātu by Jan Fontein, 2012
Overcoming Passion for Race in Malaysia Cultural Studies by David Lim, 2008
A Selective Approach to Establishing a Human Rights Mechanism in Southeast Asia by Hao Duy Phan, 2012
The Political and Moral Imperatives of the Bandung Conference of 1955 by K. Ampiah 2007
The Archives of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Local Institutions in Batavia (Jakarta) by G.L. Balk at al, 2007
Duty, Language and Exegesis in Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā by Elisa Freschi, 2012
A direct link from the item title in the catalogue to the full-text at Brill’s will be available soon.
… as promised, here some more film from or about South/ SEAsia currently being shown at the IDFA in Amsterdam. The IDFA “blokkenschema” provides a complete programme overview.
|The Only Son|
|Pema groeide op in de hoofdstad van Nepal, terwijl zijn ouders in een afgelegen bergdorp bleven. Nu willen ze dat hij terugkeert.|
|Tuschinski 2||zo 18 nov.||18:45|
|Tuschinski 2||di 20 nov.||22:30|
|Brakke Grond Rode Zaal||wo 21 nov.|
|When Hari Got Married|
|Ontwapenend portret van de Indiase Hari, die met een mengeling van kinderlijk enthousiasme en voorbarig gepieker zijn gearrangeerde huwelijk tegemoet gaat.|
|Tuschinski 6||zo 18 nov.||22:30|
|Munt 12||ma 19 nov.||17:30|
|Tuschinski 6||di 20 nov.||18:00|
|Munt 12||zo 25 nov.||10:00|
|No Permanent Address|
|De communistische droom leeft voort in het Filippijnse New People’s Army, hoewel de guerrillagroep in het Westen wordt gezien als terroristische organisatie.|
|Tuschinski 6||zo 18 nov.||20:00|
|Fraai vormgegeven reconstructie van de unieke en levensgevaarlijke poging van twaalf bergbeklimmers om een doodzieke collega in de Himalaya te redden.|
|Munt 13||zo 18 nov.||20:30|
|Tuschinski 5||di 20 nov.||15:45|
|Brakke Grond Expozaal||wo 21 nov.||13:00|
|Munt 09||zo 25 nov.|
|Genuanceerd portret van de vrouwenrechtenorganisatie Gulabi Gang, die onrecht aan de kaak stelt in het door armoede en corruptie geteisterde noorden van India.|
|Munt 11||ma 19 nov.||21:30|
|Tuschinski 5||do 22 nov.||12:30|
|Munt 13||vr 23 nov.||16:45|
|Brakke Grond Expozaal||za 24 nov.|
|Missing in the Land of Gods|
|Meeslepend portret van Australisch echtpaar dat India uitkamt op zoek naar hun zoon, die in 2005 verdween na een verblijf in een ashram.|
|Munt 10||vr 16 nov.||19:45|
|Tuschinski 4||zo 18 nov.||17:30|
|Brakke Grond Rode Zaal||di 20 nov.||11:00|
|Brakke Grond Expozaal||vr 23 nov.|
|Wilbur Episode 3|
|De immer opgewekte Wilbur Sargunaraj, naar eigen zeggen India‘s eerste YouTube-ster, geeft tips om het gapende gat tussen rijk en arm in India te overbruggen.|
|Brakke Grond Expozaal||do 22 nov.|
|Welcome to the World|
|Overlevingskansen hangen sterk af van de geboorteplek, laat deze rondgang langs zwangere vrouwen in Sierra Leone, Cambodja en Amerika zien.|
|Munt 11||wo 21 nov.||21:15|
|Brakke Grond Expozaal||do 22 nov.||10:00|
|Tuschinski 3||vr 23 nov.||13:45|