The South Asian Manuscript Book: Workshop Programme

Workshop at the Faculty of Asian Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge
25th-27th September 2014
Rooms 8 & 9


25th September

The Cambridge Collections

Chairperson: Harunaga Isaacson
9.30–10.10 Vincenzo Vergiani
The Sanskrit Manuscripts Project: Past, Present, and Future
10.10–10.50 Camillo A. Formigatti
The Day After: A Survival Manual for Catalogers of Sanskrit Manuscripts
10.50–11.30 Daniele Cuneo
The Seven Indic Gems Churned from the Cambridge University Library Ocean (केम्ब्रिजविश्वविद्यालयपुस्तकालयरत्नाकरमंथितभारतीयरत्नसप्तकं)
11.30–11.50 Coffee Break
11.50–12.30 Nalini Balbir
The Cambridge Jain Manuscripts: Highlights, Colophons and Provenance
12.30–13.10 Hugo David
Manuscripts of Sanskrit Philosophical Works in the CUL Collection: a Brief Overview
13.10–14.30 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Dominic Goodall
14.30–15.10 Marco Franceschini
The Grantha Manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library Collections: a Survey
15.10–15.50 Elisa Ganser
An Overview of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in Malayāḷam Script in the Cambridge University Library Collections
15.50–16.30 Eva Wilden
Tamil Satellite Stanzas II
16.30–16.50 Tea Break
16.50–17.30 Gergely Hidas
Dhāraṇī Collection: Mapping a Genre
17.30–18.10 Nina Mirnig
Śaiva Gleanings from the Cambridge University Library Collection

26th September

Manuscript and Textual Traditions in North India, Nepal and Central Asia

Chairperson: Vincenzo Vergiani
9.30–10.10 Mahesh Deokar
A Journey of Ideas: The study of the Candravyākaraṇapañjikā and the
Moggallānapañjikā with special reference to CV II.2.1
10.10–10.50 Vincent Tournier
The Canonical Transmissions of the Mahāsāṃghika and Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādin Schools in North and North-West South Asia: Remarks on Three Fragments from Nepal and Afghanistan
10.50–11.30 Cristina Scherrer-Schaub
Questioning the Manuscript Tradition of the Prajñāpāramitā
11.30–11.50 Coffee Break
11.50-12.30 Lata Deokar
Subhūticandra: A Journey Across Borders
12.30–13.10 Hildegard Diemberger
Buddha’s Word: Curating an Exhibition of Buddhist Manuscripts and Prints between Research and Outreach
13.10–14.30 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Camillo Formigatti
14.30–15.10 Harunaga Isaacson
Title t.b.a.
15.10–15.50 Francesco Sferra
A Propos of a Recently Rediscovered Buddhist Manuscript
15.50–16.30 Péter-Dániel Szántó
The Book in Late Tantric Buddhist Lore
16.30-16.50 Tea Break
16.50–17.30 Jürgen Hanneder
Pre-modern Sanskrit Editors and Readers
17.30–18.10 Anett Krause
Sanskrit Letters from Kashmir in the Private Archive of Johannes Hertel

27th September

Editorial Practices in South India and South East Asia

Chairperson: Daniele Cuneo
9.30–10.10 Kengo Harimoto
Title t.b.a
10.10–10.50 Giovanni Ciotti
Multilingualism and Material Culture: A Few Rare (?) Colophons from Tamil Nadu
10.50–11.30 Dominic Goodall
What information can be gleaned from Cambodian inscriptions about practices relating to the transmission of Sanskrit literature?
10.30-11.50 Coffee Break
11.50–12.30 Emmanuel Francis
The Other Way Round: From Print to Manuscript
12.30–13.15 Conclusion
13.15–14.30 Lunch
15.00–16.00 Visit to the Exhibition Buddha’s Word at the Museum for Archeology and Anthropology
19.30 Final Dinner at the Riverside Restaurant

The South Asian Manuscript Book: Material, Textual and Historical Investigations

Programme (online version)

Programme (print version)

Following the workshop on “Buddhist Manuscript Culture: Textuality and Materiality” held in April 2013, this workshop will once again mainly focus on books as cultural artefacts, but it will broaden its scope to encompass all the major religious and intellectual traditions that constituted the South Asian manuscript culture, many of which are well represented in the collections of the University Library at Cambridge. Particular attention will be paid to aspects of the history of manuscripts in pre-modern South Asia such as their production, physical characteristics, decoration, use, circulation, preservation and accessibility in relation to broader dimensions of cultural practice, religious affiliation, patronage and locality. Its echoes and parallels in other parts of Asia, such as Tibet and Southeast Asia, will also be part of the picture.

Spotlight on Collaborators I: the Grantha Connection

Dr Marco Franceschini, a research fellow and lecturer in Sanskrit at the University of Bologna, has returned to Cambridge for a three-months’ stint to collaborate with the Sanskrit Manuscripts Project. Dr Franceschini is an expert on the Grantha script that was used to write Sanskrit in South India. He is preparing the first-ever paleographic study on Grantha as used in manuscripts, and for that purpose he is building a database that contains thousands of digital images of characters and ligatures drawn from South Indian manuscripts, rather than relying on computer-generated glyphs. He is one of the contributors to the Encyclopaedia of Manuscript Cultures in Asia and Africa, which is being developed at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, and has recently completed an article on the analysis, interpretation and correspondence with the Gregorian calendar of the dates found in the colophons of manuscripts hailing from Tamil Nadu and written either in Grantha or Tamil (forthcoming, proceedings of the workshop “Reconstructing Space and Time: Localising Manuscripts through Para-texts”, organised by Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg, October 2013).

The UL Sanskrit collections include more than 40 manuscripts in Grantha, most of them on palm leaf. Most of these were part of the most recent large acquisition of South Asian manuscripts on the part of the Cambridge University Library, which dates from the early 1990’s and includes works in various scripts (besides Grantha, Malayalam and Tamil) and languages (Sanskrit, Malayalam, Tamil, Maṇipravālam). Until now the information available about these manuscripts was scanty and often inaccurate, and many of them had not even been properly class-marked, therefore remaining virtually unknown to researchers. In the course of his collaboration with the Project, Dr Franceschini will prepare online records for all the Grantha holdings in the UL, thus making them accessible to the public, and tap them for paleographic data that will be integrated into his database.

On Air 6: From Kāntipura to Kanyakumārī (or so)

The sixth release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes twelve new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

This release starts a series in which we will showcase the CUL astonishing collection of manuscripts of the Pañcarakṣā, a corpus of of Buddhist texts which played a central role in Nepalese Buddhism. In the first release, we provided the description of what is probably the oldest illuminated manuscript of this corpus (Add.1688), and in the present one we add descriptions of four more manuscripts (Add.1325, Add.1395, Add.1460 and Add.1475.1). Add.1395 is a quite old exemplar of the corpus, and “was written in 1384 during the reign of king Jayasthitimalla (1382-1395). […] Both covers are decorated with representations of the five Buddhas of directions and the five goddesses of protection.”[1] Add.1460 and Add.1475.1 are comparatively recent exemplars of the corpus—both were written in the 17th century. Add.1460 is a paper manuscript dated to 1672 CE. It lacks miniature decoration, but like the majority of Pañcarakṣā manuscripts, it is written in the ornamental script Rañjanā and has decorative puṣpikās dividing the various dhāraṇīs. Add. 1475.1 is a composite paper manuscript, and the script and the layout clearly points to the 17th century. The last folio is a later supply bearing the date 1682 CE. However, “there is every reason to believe that it is simply a fresh copy of leaf(!) found to be damaged” (Bendall 1883: 105).[2] However, even if this might be an instance of a copied date, judging from the script and layout features, the additional folio might not have been written much later than the date of production of the kernel. If this is the case, then according to the colophon the whole manuscript might be dated 1682 CE, and was written during the reign of Pārthivendramalla, who ruled in Kathmandu between 1680 and 1687. Finally, Add.1325 is a quite recent exemplar of the corpus, a paper manuscript dated to 1819 CE, a witness of the importance of this corpus up to modern Nepal.

From the Kahtmandu Valley we move to the banks of the Gaṅgā with the descriptions of two modern paper manuscripts of king Bhoja’s Rājamārtaṇḍa, the famous commentary on the Yogasūtra of Patañjali, Add.897 (in this manuscript, the text is called Bhojavṛtti) and Add.2146, both bought in Vārāṇasī in the 19th century. Add.897 was bought by Prof. R. Griffith on behalf of Prof. E. B. Cowell in 1873, while Add.2146 was bought by Prof. C. Bendall from Pandit Vindhyeśvarīprasāda on January 3rd, 1885.[3]

In our journey, we reach also the Southern tip of the South Asian subcontinent, and provide the description of five more Grantha manuscripts: Or.2339, Or.2340, Or.2341, Or.2342 and Or.2343.1. They are all multi-text palm-leaf manuscripts from the 19th century. Or.2339 contains “Sukumāra’s Kṛṣṇavilāsa with Vilāsinī commentary by Rāmapāṇivāda (only portions of the first two sargas); Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa with Padārthadīpikā commentary by Nārāyaṇapaṇḍita (only portions of the third sarga); and the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, with the Vedic pitch accent marked through signs indicating svaritas, anudāttas and kampas (the first three prapāṭhakas are incomplete, prapāṭhaka 10 is missing).”[4] Or.2340 is a manuscript containing a corpus of ten devotional texts, mainly stotras and namāvalīs of a saurya and śākta character.[5] According to the information in the colophon, it was written in Cantiracekapuram (perhaps this is Candraśekharapura, Andhra Pradesh) by a certain Ayyar Śāstrikaḷ Kumāraṉ Cuvāmika, and finished on Thursday, July 17th, 1891 CE.[6] Or.2341 containins “Sāyaṇa’s Vedārthaprakaśa commentary on Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5.1-11, the famous hymn in praise of Rudra known as
Rudranamakādhyāya, Śatarudrīya or Śrīrudra […]; the first 64 verses (out of 150) of the Caturvedatātparyasaṃgraha (or Śrutisūktimālā), an unpublished śaiva text ascribed to Haradatta (or Sudarśanācārya); two folios from an unidentified śaiva work.”[7] Or.2342 is a manuscript of an anonymous Sanskrit commentary to Śaṅkarācārya’s Śivānandalaharī, a poem in one-hundred stanzas extolling the greatness of Śiva, very popular in South India. Folio 16 is missing, and the text is incomplete, breaking off at the end of the 48th stanza. Or.2343.1 contains the unpublished Sanskrit version of “the Tulākāverīmāhātmya (from the Āgneyapurāṇa) in 5 ādhyāyas, and a single folio (numbered as “2”) from an unidentified vaiṣṇava work of the kavaca sort”.[8]

1. From the description of the manuscript.

2. Bendall, Cecil, Catalogue of the Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1883). [download]

3. On part of the collections, see the post on the fourth release.

4. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

5. The texts are the following: Śūryanārāyaṇapūjā, Sūryāṣṭottaraśatanāmāvalī, Īśvarisevamantra, Lalitāsahasranāmāvalī, Lalitātriśatīnāmāvalī, Śivāṣṭottaraśatanāmāvalī, Lalitāsahasranāma, Lalitātriśatīstotra, Śivāṣṭottara[śatanāma?], Ṣoḍaśīkalyāṇīstotra.

6. The colophon runs as follows: [59r3] śrīmahāde[-3-] [59r4] kollam_ 1066 matu āṭi MĀ° 3 VĀ°
cantiracekapuram kiṟāmam ayyar śāstrikaḷ kumāraṉ
[-1-] cuvāmikayyeṭittuga[-3-].

7. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

8. From the description of the manuscript by M. Franceschini.

On Air 5: Almost Running Out of Funny Titles

The fifth release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes eight new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

In this release, the cataloguing of the Mīmāṃsā manuscripts continues with three new descriptions (Add.1034, Add.1714 and Add.2485). Two of these manuscripts are particularly important. Add.1034 is a fairly old, but very well preserved manuscript of Someśvara’s Nyāyasudhā commentary on the “section on Smṛti” (smṛtipāda) of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Tantravārttika (1.3), dealing with the authority of non-Vedic Scriptures and focusing most of the Mīmāṃsaka polemics with rival religious traditions (Buddhism, Jainism, etc.). This important text was edited only once in 1901-02 on a very limited manuscript basis, and was hardly studied ever since. Add.2485 is one of the few manuscripts available worldwide of Ananta Bhaṭṭa’s Mīmāṃsārahasya (17th century?), an unpublished “Garland of Chapters” (adhikaraṇamāla) by the son of the famous Mīmāṃsaka and Dharmaśāstrin Dādu Bhaṭṭa, active in the beginning of the 17th century. The manuscript, which unfortunately covers only the first two adhyāyas of the Mīmāṃsā­sūtras, also has abundant annotations, and constitutes in itself an important document for the history of the late exegetical school.

Add. 1714 “is a manuscript of the Nyāyasudhā (sometimes named Rāṇaka), one of the most important commentaries on Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Tantravārttika. The author, Someśvara Bhaṭṭa, son of Mādhava Bhaṭṭa, might have lived in the 12th century (Mishra 1964: 42, Verpoorten 1987: 38). The manuscript covers the whole of the second chapter (pāda) of the third book (adhyāya) of the Mīmāṃsāsūtras. […] Important parts of the text are missing, especially towards the end of the manuscript, which looks globally inaccurate”.[1] However, this manuscript proves to be interesting from another viewpoint, since it was most probably part of a collection of manuscripts commissioned by Ralph T. H. Griffith of the Benares Sanskrit College on behalf of Prof. Edward Byles Cowell. It shares many common features with Add.1709, Add.1710 and Add.1711 (script, paper and layout are identical, and a catch number has been added also on the first folio of the present manuscript), and thanks to this fact the date of its production can be narrowed to 1873-78.[2]

This release is enriched by the descriptions of three manuscripts of the Śivadharma corpus, Add.1599, Add.1694.1 and Add.2102. The CUL collections hold six manuscripts of texts belonging to this corpus, “whose earlier works possibly originated around the 6th century, and which usually contains from six to eight texts and deals with religious practices and doctrinal issues of the lay śaiva community”.[3] Add.1599 is a paper manuscript from Bengal, dated to the 17th century. It contains only the Śivadharmaśāstra and the Śivadharmottara, the two earliest texts of the corpus, and is “one of the very few instances of the presence of this text in Bengal”.[3] Add.1694.1 is a palm-leaf manuscript of a clearly early date (possibly 12th century). It is a composite manuscript consisting of two codicological units. The kernel (241 folios, with a continuous foliation) was originally arranged to form a complete corpus of eight texts (Śivadharmaśāstra, Śivadharmottara, Yogasārastava, Śivadharmasaṃgraha, Umāmaheśvarasaṃvāda, Vṛṣasārasaṃgraha, Uttarottaramahāsaṃvāda, Dharma-putrikā). The second codicological unit consists of 17 folios (foliated 126-142) containing the Śivopaniṣad (a text included, for instance, in the other manuscripts of the corpus like Add.1645 and Add.2102). Add.2102 is another palm-leaf manuscript from the 12th century. Unfortunately, the beginning and the end are lost, and now it contains only six texts, some with several significant lacunae (Śivadharmottara, Śivadharmasaṃgraha, Umāmaheśvarasaṃvāda, Śivopaniṣad, Vṛṣasārasaṃgraha and Dharmaputrikā).However, it is very likely that originally it contained seven texts, since the lacuna of 50 folios at the beginning roughly corresponds to the whole text of the Śivadharmaśāstra (for instance, the text of the Śivadharmaśāstra in Add.1694.1 covers 41 folios). The loss of an entire text in a manuscript of this corpus is easily explained, for the different parts of the corpus are often separated by leaving the verso of the last leaf of a text blank, and by beginning the following text in the corpus on the verso of a new leaf. Thus, each text could be easily removed from the manuscript, and put back after the reading—but unfortunately, one reader forgot to do it for this manuscript!

For the fans of kāvya, we included the description of a manuscript belonging to the Bendall collection,[4] Add. 2266, a finely written Jain manuscript of Kālidāsa’s Kumārasaṃbhava, dated 1668 CE.

Last but not least, in this release we included the first description of a manuscript from the CUL collection of South Indian manuscripts. Or. 2338 belongs to a set of manuscripts in Grantha script acquired by the CUL from the book dealer Robert E. Stolper in 1990-1. It is a modern multi-text manuscript containing the first two sargas of the Sarvaṃkaṣā, Mallinātha‘s commentary on Māgha’s Śiśupālavadha, and a part of “the Āśaucanirṇaya by Veṅkaṭanātha, a treatise (nibandha) on impurities and on the rituals that should be performed to remove them”.[5]

1. This passage is from the description of the manuscript written by our external collaborator Hugo David.

2. On the history of this part of the collections, see the post on the third release.

3. This passage is from the description of manuscript Add. 1599, written in collaboration with Florinda de Simini.

4. On the history of this part of the collections, see the post on the fourth release.

5. We would like to acknowledge here the work of our external collaborator Marco Franceschini, who is cataloguing the whole CUL collection of Grantha manuscripts .

On Air 3: Like a Tigress with her Cubs

yathā vyāghrī haret putrān daṃṣṭrābhir na ca pīḍayet |
bhītā patanabhedābhyāṃ tadvad varṇān prayojayet ||

Like a tigress who carries her cubs without gritting her fangs excessively, frightened both by a possible fall or by leaving wounds: this is how one should utter speech-sounds!
(Pāṇinīyaśikṣā 25)

The third release of the Cambridge Digital Library includes thirty-five new descriptions of Sanskrit manuscripts.

The bulk of the manuscripts catalogued consists of a collection of texts belonging to the Vedalakṣaṇa branch of knowledge (a total of twenty-eight manuscripts).[1] Twelve manuscripts contain śikṣā texts, works on phonetics and phonology dealing with the pronunciation and recitation of both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit, and other theoretical topics such as the accent-bearing unit, or providing list of Vedic words to be memorised on account of the ambiguity of their articulatory features. Another class of Vedalakṣaṇa texts, the Anukramaṇīs (lists of various features of the Vedic collection, for instance number and attribution of meters to different deities, indexes of titles of works about the Vedas etc.) are represented by seven manuscripts. Furthermore, a smaller group of four manuscripts of pariśiṣṭa texts has also been catalogued, as well as one multi-text manuscript containing the Vargadvayavṛtti and the Ṛgvedaprātiśākhyabhāṣya, and one manuscript of a texts on vedavikṛti[2], the Jaṭāpaṭaladīpikā.

All these manuscripts belong to the Cowell collection. Edward Byles Cowell was the first Professor for Sanskrit at the University of Cambridge. In 1873, he instructed Ralph T. H. Griffith of the Benares Sanskrit College to procure manuscripts of texts belonging to specific literary genres for his personal study, as well as for the Cambridge University Library. Until 1878 Griffith continued to send manuscripts to Cambridge.[3] The majority of these manuscripts belonged to Prof. Cowell, and after his death in 1903 they were all bequeathed to the University library. Many of these manuscripts are modern copies commissioned by Griffith, and thus they share many common features. For instance, it is possible to distinguish a series of three manuscripts all written in 1877: one manuscript of the Lomaśīśikṣā (Add. 1709), one of the Keśavīśikṣā (Add. 1710) and one of the Laghvamoghanandinīśikṣā (Add. 1711). Although only the first manuscript is dated, it is clear from the script that all three have been written by the same scribe. Moreover, most probably they were thought of as a single collection, since they share many common features: paper and layout are identical, and at the end of Add. 1709 the catch number 18 is written, which is repeated on the first folio of Add. 1710 and on the verso of Add. 1711 (a one-folio manuscript).

The release is rounded up by three Jaina manuscripts (Add. 2140, Anaṅgaraṅga; Add. 2286, Jñātādharmakathā; Add. 2377, Kālakācāryakathā), and four Nepalese manuscripts (Add. 1386, Avadānaśataka; Add.1396.2, Naiṣadhaprakāśa; Add. 1645, Śivadharma corpus; Or. 146.1, Raghuvaṃśa).

Add. 2286 “is especially valuable because it belongs to a set of the 45 Śvetāmbara āgamas commissioned by the members of the same family. This set is now scattered among different libraries. Some items have been traced in Berlin and in India. […] In this case, the colophon also gives the name of the donor, Jayakaraṇa, a resident of Khambhat; he and his family members systematically collected manuscripts of the Śvetāmbara canonical works […] The Cambridge University Library has two items belonging to this collection: this one and Add. 2252, the Antakr̥ddaśāvivaraṇa, the eighth Aṅga of the Śvetāmbara canon.”[4]

Among the Nepalese manuscripts, noteworthy is Add. 1645, a palm-leaf manuscript of the Śivadharma corpus from a very early date (1139 CE). As sometimes is the case in Nepalese manuscripts used also for ritual purposes,[5] its wood covers display illuminations (of both śaiva and vaiṣṇava inspiration!) in the internal parts.

Add. 1396.2, even if fragmentary, is still important, since it is one of the few witnesses of the Naiṣadhaprakāśa, a yet unpublished commentary by Śrīnātha on Śrīharṣa’s Naiṣadhacarita.

1. We would like to acknowledge the fundamental help provided by our external collaborator Dr Giovanni Ciotti for the cataloguing of these manuscripts.

2. Lit. “[textual] modifications of the Vedic texts”, i.e. recombinations of the words for mnemonic purposes.

3. To these should be added manuscripts Add. 1934-50, bought in 1878 from J.C. Nesfield, also based at the Benares Sanskrit College.

4. This passage is from the description of the manuscript written by our external collaborator N. Balbir, whose invaluable help is here acknowledged.

5. As suggested by the traces of oblatory materials smeared on the external part of the covers.


The Hanseatic Connection

Within the frame of the collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), Dr Formigatti recently presented two papers at two workshops held in Hamburg.

Edges, Frames and Frameworks in Manuscripts (25-26 January 2013)

The relationship between margins, frames, layout and pictorial and textual elements was the center of this short, yet very insightful workshop. The papers presented addressed it under many aspects. The interaction between visual (illumination, mise-en-page etc) and textual elements was the topic of five papers (by Frederike-Wiebke Daub, Ilse Sturkenboom, Andreas Janke, Uta Lauer, and Hanna Wimmer). One paper dealt exclusively with illumination and decoration within and without the frame of the page (Tina Bawden). Textual elements were the focus of two papers (by Camillo Formigatti and Vito Lo Russo).

Manuscripts in Motion (15-17 November 2012)

The starting point of this conference was the consideration that throughout history manuscripts moved from one place to another and from individual to individual, and therefore ‘the study of the “life” of any manuscript can be said to be incomplete if it does not consider its movements’ (from the conference’s call for papers). The papers presented focused on various aspects of the circulation of manuscripts both in Western as well as in Asian and African manuscript cultures. In the course of the conference, two distinct types of movements have been be identified: a movement within the same cultural sphere in which the manuscripts were produced and a movement that brought the manuscripts outside their original production place.

The first type of movement has been described in eight papers. Four of them dealt with the movement of manuscripts within the Greek and Byzantine cultural areas (by Giuseppe De Gregorio, Vito Lorusso, Boryana Pouvkova, and Alberto Camplani and Alin Suciu). Two papers were dedicated to the circulation of manuscripts in Buddhist milieus in North India and the

Himalayan region (by Martin Delhey and Orna Almogi). Two more papers described this type of movement in Chinese and West African cultures (Max Fölster and Dmitry Bondarev). Finally, one paper was devoted to the afterlife of Western music manuscripts (Eva Maschke).

Two papers discussed the second type of movement, describing how Arabic and Sanskrit manuscripts were brought to European libraries (Tilman Seidensticker and Camillo Formigatti). During the Q&A, manuscripts that were subject to this type of movement were very often defined as ‘colonial manuscripts’.

Finally, two papers dealt with both type of movements in Georgian and South Indian manuscript cultures (Jost Gippert and Eva Wilden).

On Air 2: A Tiny Christmas Gift

Five more digitised Sanskrit manuscripts have been recently added to the Cambridge Digital Library.

Add.1605 is a paper manuscript of a Nepalese commentary on the Anaṅgaraṅga, a 15th- or 16th-century erotic treatise composed for the Muslim aristocrat Lāḍakhāna, son of Ahmad of the Lodī dynasty.

Add.1649 is a palm-leaf manuscript of the Siddhisāra, an unpublished work on astrology and divination attributed to the Nepalese king Jayajyotirmalla (1408–1428 CE). This manuscript is probably the only extant witness for this work and has been written during Jayajyotirmalla’s reign.

Add.1703 is a palm-leaf manuscript of an important Tantric work on rituals, the Vajrāvalī, compiled by the famous abbot of Vikramaśila monastery, Abhayākaragupta (late 11th–early 12th century CE). According to the colophon, this manuscript was written in the famous Golden Monastery (hiraṇyavarṇavihāra) in the city of Pātan in the Kathmandu valley, during the reign of Jayajyotirmalla’s successor, Jayayakṣamalla (1428-1482 CE).

Add.2251.2 is one palm-leaf folio of the Jayamaṅgalā of Yaśodhara (fl. 13th century), a commentary on the Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyana Mallanāga. This folio was inserted by mistake in place of the original folio 80 of manuscript Add. 2151.1, a complete palm-leaf manuscript of the same work.

Add.2251.3 is one palm-leaf folio of Kālidāsa’s Kumārasambhava. Although being in the same bundle as Add.2251.1 and Add.2251.2, this stray leaf is not related in any way to the other two manuscripts, since both the kind of palm leaf and the script are in fact entirely different.

Digvijaya, or A Tour of Presentation of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Northern and Central Europe

In the frame of the Fourth International Indology Graduate Research Symposium held at the University of Edinburgh, on September 5th Dr. Cuneo and Dr. Formigatti delivered a paper with the title From the Shelves to the Web: Cataloguing Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Digital Era.

On the occasion of the international seminar The State and Society at Peace and War in Indian Literature and Art held at the University of Warsaw from 13 to 15 September 2012, besides delivering two individual papers, Dr. Cuneo and Dr. Formigatti presented the Sanskrit Manuscript Project and its latest achievements.

On Air: Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Cambridge Digital Library

The first fifteen entries of the Sanskrit manuscripts catalogue are now available on the Cambridge Digital Library platform of the Cambridge University Library. Different criteria lie behind the choice of the manuscripts described in this first release. The main aim is to provide an overview of the variety and richness of the Sanskrit manuscripts collections.

The representativeness of the manuscripts is the first aspect we have taken into consideration. The core of the collections consists chiefly of Nepalese manuscripts, collected in Nepal by Daniel Wright and Cecil Bendall during the last decades of the 19th century. Accordingly, seven items are manuscripts that were either written or kept in Nepal (Add.875 Suvarṇaprabhāsa, Add.1277 Aparamitāyudhāraṇīsūtra, Add.1396.01 Raghuvaṃśaṭīkā, Add.1578 Devīkavaca, Add.1611 Avadānaśataka, Add.1688 Pañcarakṣā, Or.149 Sekanirdeśapañjikā).

Moreover, manuscripts belonging to different South Asian religious traditions have been selected. An important section of the collections consists of Jaina manuscripts, therefore this release includes two important Jaina works (Add.1765 Kalpasūtra and Or.127 Tattvārthādhigamasūtra), and one manuscript of a general brahmanical affiliation, but written in a Jaina milieu (Add.2329 Bṛhatsaṃhitā). Brahmanism is represented by two manuscripts of Vedic texts, the Ṣaḍviṃśabrāhmaṇa (Add.908) and the Maitrāyaṇīyopaniṣad (Add. 1103). The strong presence of Buddhist manuscripts in the collections is reflected by five items (Add.875, Add.1277, Add.1611, Add.1688, Or.149), representative of both Mahāyāna and Tantric Buddhism.

Manuscripts of texts belonging to different literary genres have been also included. Alongside a manuscript of a hitherto unpublished commentary on Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa (Add.1396.1), one may also find a manuscript of the Yājñavalkyaśikṣā (Add.1936) and a very old palm-leaf manuscript of Yaśodhara’s Jayamaṅgalā, the most important commentary on Vātsyāyana’s Kāmasūtra (Add.2251.1).

Other criteria for the choice are the writing material and the script employed. Besides palm leaf and paper manuscripts, also one specimen of a birch-bark manuscript and two Nepalese manuscripts on black paper (nīlapattra) have been included. As to the types of handwriting, different Nepalese scripts are represented, as well as Devanāgarī–both in its standard and its Jaina variant.

Last but not least, two specimens of illuminated manuscripts have been chosen, a very old palm-leaf manuscript of the Pañcarakṣā (Add.1688, dated to the middle of the 11th century) and a beautifully illuminated paper manuscript of the Kālpasūtra (Add.1765, dated to the 15th-16th century).