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.

Workshop on the Vajrāmṛtatantra by Prof. Francesco Sferra

Manuscript Or.158, colophon with the date Nepāla saṃvat 282 / 1162 CE.

Prof. Francesco Sferra (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples), will hold a two-hour workshop on the Vajrāmṛtatantra, a Buddhist Tantric work transmitted in a very old Nepalese manuscript kept in the Cambridge University Library (Or.158, dated 116 CE). Only one other manuscript of this text is known to have survived and is presently kept in a library in China. The reading and interpretation of selected passages will be integrated with the examination of images of the manuscript, thus providing both an introduction to manuscript analysis as well as to philological methodologies.

The workshop will take place on Monday January 20th, from 10.30am to 1pm in room at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge.


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.

Buddhist Manuscript Culture: Textuality and Materiality

Programme (online version)

Programme (print version)

The two-day workshop held at the Faculty of Asian Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Cambridge was an attempt to analyze and look at Buddhist manuscript culture combining a more traditional philological approach with a broader perspective encompassing codicology and history of the book. The first day has been dedicated to papers dealing with the aspects of manuscript production and circulation, while the textual aspect has been the focus of the second day.

The discussions following each paper and the round table at the end of the two days were dominated by one key word: database. The urgent need for easily accessible and well structured data was felt as a priority above all for palaeographical and codicological studies—as it has been clearly pointed out in the papers by M. Delhey and C. Formigatti, as well as in the joint paper by H. Diemberger and M. Clemente.

Thanks to the contributions by H. Isaacson, F. Sferra, P. Szántó and G. Hidas, another aspect that emerged from the workshop is the importance of the Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts collections of the Cambridge University Library for the study of Tantric Buddhism.

Two papers were devoted to lexicography, both traditional and modern (by L. Deokar and M. Cone). The two speakers stressed the necessity of the application of a rigorous philological methodology in the examination of the data resulting by the analysis of manuscripts.

Last but by no means least, the influence of the material aspects of manuscripts (writing material, layout etc.) in shaping the text has been highlighted in three papers (by C. Scherrer-Schaub, A. Griffiths and V. Tournier), and it has been the focus of a lively debate during the round table.

Buddhist Manuscript Culture: Workshop Programme

Workshop at the Faculty of Asian Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge 12th-13th April
2013 Rooms 8 & 9

12th April

09.55–10.00 Welcome Address: Vincenzo Vergiani
10.00–10.45 Keynote speech: Cristina Scherrer-Schaub
The poetic of the page to beat time on the template. Inquiry into a
form adopted in Indian/Indic manuscripts outside India

Codicology and History of the Book

10.45–11.30 Martin Delhey (University of Hamburg)
On the date and provenance of North-East Indian and Nepalese Buddhist manuscripts: with special reference to the Indian monastery Vikramaśīla
11.30–11.45 Coffee Break
Chairperson: Camillo Formigatti
11.45–12.30 Harunaga Isaacson (University of Hamburg)
Scattered leaves: on some Buddhist Tantric prakīrṇapattrāṇi in Cambridge University Library
12.30–13.15 Hildegard Diemberger and Michela Clemente (University of Cambridge)
Tibetan book printing: tradition and technology
13.15–14.45 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Daniele Cuneo
14.45–15.30 Camillo Formigatti (University of Cambridge)
Buddhist Nepalese manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library collections: towards a typological classification
15.30–16.15 Arlo Griffiths (EFEO Jakarta)
The transmission of Buddhist scriptures to ancient Indonesia as witnessed by manuscripts preserved on Bali and inscriptions discovered throughout the archipelago
16.15–16.30 Tea Break
16.30–17.15 Vincent Tournier
Protective verses for travellers: notes on a leather fragment of the *Diśāsauvastika-gāthā*s recovered from the Bāmiyān region

13th April

Philology and Textual Transmission

Chairperson: Eivind Kahrs
10.00–10.45 Margaret Cone (University of Cambridge)
Reading Pali and Pali readings
10.45–11.30 Francesco Sferra (University of Naples “L’Orientale”)
Apropos of Some Buddhist Tantric Manuscripts: Add. 1108, Add. 1708.1, Or. 158
11.30–11.45 Coffee Break
Chairperson: Hugo David
11.45–12.30 Lata Deokar
Subhūticandra’s Amarakośaṭīkā
12.30–13.15 Péter-Dániel Szántó (University of Oxford)
Revisiting lists of Tantric Buddhist trespasses
13.15–14.45 Lunch Break
Chairperson: Hildegard Diemberger
14.45–15.30 Gergely Hidas
A new look at the Mahāśītavatī
15.30–16.30 Round Table
16.30–17.00 Tea Break
19.00 Conference Dinner



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).

Cambridge Festival of Ideas

Within the framework of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2012, the Sanskrit Manuscripts Project team has prepared a poster exhibition on the South Asian holdings of the Cambridge University Library:

Words and Images from Ancient India

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Common Room, Wednesday 24 – Saturday 27 October, Monday 29 October – Friday 2 November, 10am – 5pm.

The Director of the Project, Dr. Vincenzo Vergiani, will give a talk illustrating the

importance of the UL South Asian manuscripts collections for the understanding of pre-modern Indian civilisation:

A Scholar’s Dream

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, room 8-9, Saturday 27 October 11am-12am.

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.