Sunday, 30 November 2014

Saturday, 30 August 2014

rNying ma'i rgyud 'bum - photographs

Drs Cantwell & Mayer have kindly granted Bodleian permission to store digital photographs (RAW) 
of the Sangs rgyas gling dgon pa edition of the rNying ma'i rgyud 'bum (43 of 46 volumes extant).

2 sample photos from vol. Ka below, 
followed by Dr Mayer's introductory remarks. 

To consult the text photographs, contact 
the Tibetan & Himalayan Collections librarian, see link at
Oxford LibGuides - China & Inner Asia

Photos all made by Ngawang Tsepag.

NGB - from vol. Ka   (Photo Ngawang Tsepag)

NGB - from vol. Ka   (Photo Ngawang Tsepag)

 from Dr Rob Mayer:

Sangs rgyas gling manuscript of the
rNying ma'i rgyud 'bum

Dedicated to the memory of Michael V. Aris:
true friend, wise mentor, generous colleague, and outstanding scholar.

This manuscript edition of the rNying ma'i rgyud bum (NGB) from Sangs rgyas gling dgon pa, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, first came to the outside world’s attention through the late Michael Aris, who knew of it as long ago as the late 1970’s. As well as signalling the manuscript’s existence, Aris also reported a local belief that the Sangs rgyas gling NGB manuscript was copied from an exemplar (ma dpe) that had been transported to Tawang from East Tibet. This belief is in fact still maintained by some local lamas. However, to our present knowledge, this idea remains unproven. Tawang is the corner of Arunachal Pradesh that borders Bhutan to its west and Tibet to its north. Given the geographic proximity to Bhutan, it should come as little surprise that doxographically speaking—in its numbering of volumes and ordering of texts—the Sangs rgyas gling NGB in fact follows the standard Bhutanese recension in 46 volumes, as most famously represented nowadays by the widely reprinted mTshams brag NGB edition. Unless it proves to be the very earliest example of the 46 volume Bhutanese recension, a greater likelihood would therefore seem to be that the Sangs rgyas gling NGB was copied from a Bhutanese exemplar. However, at this early stage, one must also sound a note of caution: very few of the individual texts from the Sangs rgyas gling NGB have yet been collated against their counterparts from the other NGB editions, so it still remains to be seen how the individual readings of individual texts might compare with those from other editions. As we have already demonstrated elsewhere, it can prove rash simply to assume that the patterns of readings within any individual NGB text will necessarily conform to the doxographical affiliations of its host collection as a whole. As we have found elsewhere, NGB editions can indeed be mixed, so that it is not by any means impossible that some texts from the Sangs rgyas gling NGB might after closer examination transpire to descend from East Tibetan exemplars, or perhaps from the tradition of the 28 volume gDong dkar NGB, which was preserved in Bhutan but originated in East Tibet.

The idea to make a digital copy of this endangered edition was first suggested to us by our valued colleague, Mr Ngawang Tsepag, of the Shantarakshita Library, Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India. Ngawang Tsepag comes from Tawang and is a keen conservator of its cultural heritage. Before meeting us, he had already collaborated with some friends in rehousing and providing new cloth wrappings for the volumes of the Sangs rgyas gling NGB, which was at the time in danger of disintegration through years of neglect. Ngawang Tsepag is also a keen amateur photographer, and proved eminently capable of photographing all the volumes with a minimum of trouble or fuss. We procured funding for the project from the Oxford University John Fell Fund, who generously made available everything we needed. The actual photography was completed at Sangs rgyas gling in the spring and summer of 2013. 

Although the Sangs rgyas gling NGB originally had 46 volumes, over the course of time, three volumes have gone missing: volumes 11, 12, and 41. In addition, many volumes have suffered varying degrees of water damage and worming, and much of the dkar chag has been lost. Nevertheless, given the paucity of surviving NGB editions, the publication of this easily accessible electronic edition in full colour is indeed a welcome additional resource for all those engaged in the study of the rNying ma'i rgyud 'bum. 

Robert Mayer and Cathy Cantwell, Oxford, 2014. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

7 Bodleian thangkas

News from Himalayan Art Resources

Jeff Watt has recently posted photos of 7 Tibetan thangkas
from the Bodleian Tibetan collection
on his Himalayan Art Resources website, based in NYC.

Watt: 'The collection includes three masterworks.'

The HAR site for the thangkas is linked here

On the HAR website, by clicking on images, you can see further detailed photographs of each thangka.

With thanks to Jeff Watt @ HAR,
and Sarah Mitchell @ Ashmolean Museum.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Snellgrove lecture May 28th 2014 @ SOAS

Professor David Snellgrove, 94, 
will lecture at SOAS on
Wed 28th May,
@ Brunei Gallery room B102,
at 5:15,
as part of the celebrations of the newly endowed
Snellgrove Chair in Tibetan & Buddhist Art.

at the event:

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bod Karchak - digitized catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts @ Bod

Coming soon-ish - when the technical people can get it sorted...

(left-click on photo to enlarge it and to clarify the focus)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Catalogue of Tibetan Manuscripts

Volume 5 of Catalogue of Tibetan Manuscripts joins volumes 1-4.

For links on SOLO:

 All the volumes will be housed together
in Weston Library reading room 
when the refurbished library re-opens in September 2014.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Update on 5th Dalai Lama conference

From Lama Jabb: 
"Just letting you all know that the Great Fifth conference 
 has been talked about 
in Tibetan social media in both inside and outside Tibet 
and it is front page news on the popular Tibetan literary website 
 Butterlamp, Mchod me." 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Exhibition @ Cambridge, UK,
beginning 28 May
(free entry)
Link to further information:

Buddha’s Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond

flyer (left-click on it to enlarge):

Monday, 5 May 2014

TBRC Core Text Collection - 11

Bodleian now has online access to, and the hard drive of,
the TBRC Core Text Collection number 11,
the 2014 collection.

TBRC statement re CTC 11:
" Among these 1,000 volumes selected from the TBRC Library,
this Core Text Collection includes works across a broad range of subjects and genres.
In particular, this collection emphasizes selections from Tibetan literature on monastic curricular textbooks (yig cha) detailing the 5 classical subjects of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist learning along with
over 150 volumes of different commentarial writings.
Major sub-themes include over 100 volumes on life writing (rnam thar),
over 50 volumes on religious and local cultural history (chos ‘byung and lo rgyus),
and over 40 volumes of scholarly reference materials (dpyad yig),
including multilingual dictionaries (tshig mdzod) and orthographic compendiums (dag yig).
There are numerous works about Tibetan medicine (gso rig),
polemical discourse (dris lan),
personal advice (gdams ngag),
instruction texts (khrid yig) of all kinds,
and several narrative works from the great Central Asian epic Gesar of Ling.
Larger collections include 16 different collected works (gsung 'bum)
and 10 compilations of miscellaneous writings (gsung thor bu), each by individual Tibetan authors,
as well as 20 composite volumes (phyogs bsgrigs). "

Friday, 25 April 2014

5th Dalai Lama conference event

Friday 2nd May, 16.30 - Saturday 3rd May, 13.00
@ Wolfson College, Oxford
launch event of Samten Karmay's
'The Illusive Play: The Autobiography of the 5th Dalai Lama'
with talks by several international Tibetan scholars
(programme link below)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Snellgrove Chair for Tibetan & Buddhist Art

Breaking News: Christian Luczanits will join SOAS in the autumn 
as David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art

Dr Luczanits website link 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Tibetan Corpus Linguistics project

New research on Tibetan linguistics presented at SOAS,  financed by AHRC.
Audio files of the presentations available at the link below:
Dr Nathan Hill in action presenting the research project results

Ulaanbaatar 2013

Bodleian Libraries was represented at the 2013 conference of IATS XIII (International Association of Tibetan Studies), held this year in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

IATS participants 2013 @ Ulaanbaatar
(click on photo to enlarge it)
Charles Manson (Bodleian Libraries) gave a presentation in the Tibetan Information Technology panel, on

Development of a digital catalogue of the 
Bodleian Tibetan manuscripts: 
Bod Karchak @ the Bod.

 [Bod (pronounced bรถd is the transcribed Tibetan language word for Tibet, 
as well as being the 'nickname' for the Bodleian - a quirky pun.
'Karchak' is the Tibetan word for catalogue or table of contents: dkar chag.]

The presentation Powerpoint file is here

Tsong-kha-pa new set @ Bodleian

Set of Tsong-kha-pa works, gsung 'bum, now in Bodleian Library.

Set derived from 5 manuscripts and a blockprint, all in Potala collection.
See library catalogue record for the set at