THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Endangered archives blog

27 January 2017

Good Fortune for the Year of the Rooster

As it is Chinese New Year this weekend, I thought I would browse through the EAP collections to see whether I could find any appropriate images of roosters. I came across this wonderful manuscript that was digitised as part of EAP217, which focusses on Yi manuscripts from Yunnan in southwest China.

The Yi archives cover a wide range of topics including calendars, epics, history, medicine, philosophy, rituals, geography, literature and music. The information written in the Yi language is not available in either Chinese or any other script.

Most of the Yi archival material digitised as part of EAP271 is not illustrated. However, one major feature of manuscripts written in the south dialect is that they have unique and beautiful illustrations painted in bright mineral pigments.

This particular manuscript is from southern Yunnan and is written in the Xinping dialect. It dates from the 19th century and is a sutra predicting fortunate or ill-fated dates and events. The illustrations are delightful and it seemed very appropriate to share them, on what I hope will be, a very auspicious year.

Image 4EAP217/1/5: Zhan bu yu ce shu [19th century]

Image 7 Image 5

Image 8