23 March 2023
New online - March 2023
This month we would like to highlight five new collections that have recently been made available online. They have come from South Africa, India, Nepal and from Georgia.
The first project we would like to showcase is EAP1190. This was a completely new type of project for EAP. The archive consists of rare astronomical material from the Boyden Observatory, which is located near Bloemfontein, some 1,000 km from Cape Town. It is where the Centre for Astronomical Heritage NPC (CfAH) and the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) are located. The collection contains log books, meteorological records and much more, but it is the photographs of the night’s sky and astronomers at work that has caused a buzz within the EAP office and the examples below, will clearly show why we are all taken by this project’s outputs.
EAP1190/1/7/5 Total lunar eclipse (1946 June 14)
EAP1190/1/5/2 Solon Bailey with the 24-inch Bruce Telescope
The second project, EAP1296, was a further project conducted by Dr Shanker Thapa that focussed on Buddhist manuscripts from five private Vihāras (Buddhist monastery or temple) and Guṭhīs (a religious, community-led organisation) in the Kathmandu Valley. Many of the manuscripts are unknown to outsiders. Some of the earliest existing Sanskrit manuscripts are to be found in Nepal. This growing collection, held within private collections, is helping build a better understanding of the history of Buddhism.
EAP1296/1/1 The Buddhist Perfection of Wisdom Sutra
The first of the Indian projects that we would like to highlight this month, is EAP1300. It consists of Santali periodicals published between 1890 and 1975 in eastern India. Written practices in Santali were initiated by Christian missionaries in Eastern India during early 19th century in the form of printed periodicals. The topics within these publications cover linguistics, folklore, folk songs and specific cultural forms.
The other project from India, comes from northern Kerala and focussed on manuscripts in Mattool (EAP1390). The manuscripts and lithographs highlight the Malabari Islamic networks that have evolved over centuries of trade and cross-cultural exchange. Such as these two pages, from two manuscripts, one that deals with medicine, the other is a collection (majmūʻ) of devotional poems and prayers (mawlid).
EAP1390/1/1 Kitāb al-Raḥmah fī al-Ṭīb wa-al-Ḥikmah
EAP1390/1/4 Majmūʻ al-Mawlid
And finally, another project that shows the breadth of content the Programme supports, is this project based at the State Silk Museum in Georgia (EAP1306). The museum digitised a collection of photographs relating to silk production and again, hours could be spent browsing through these captivating photographs.
EAP1306/1/5/1/1 Silk thread reeling (1898-1910)
EAP1306/1/5/1/6 Silk thread reeling (1895)