Endangered archives blog

22 posts categorized "Arabic"

17 March 2014

New online collections - March 2014

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This month we have five collections which have gone up onto the EAP website. These are EAP177, EAP326, EAP212, EAP507 and EAP556. These collections come from Laos, Peru, Russia and Indonesia.

EAP177 and EAP326 both digitised photographic collections from Buddhist monasteries in Luang Prabang. Coming from more than 20 distinct monastery collections these images provide a unique view of over 120 years of monastic life. The photographs show rituals, pilgrimages, portraits, history and social life. They also document historic and political events including French colonialism, civil war, the Indochina and Vietnam wars, revolution and socialist rule. This rich collection was created because of a particular inclination towards photography that had been introduced very early by the French. It was practiced in the Royal court where young princes would learn about it and take it with them when they were ordained as monks and became abbots of the various monasteries.

C1927R.EAP.Buddhist Archive
EAP177/3/1/5 Image 181

Together the projects have discovered 33,933 photographs from 21 monasteries in Luang Prabang. These have been digitised and safely stored. Most of the original photographs (prints and negatives) are now stored in specially designed wooden archive cabinets.

F6055R.EAP.Buddhist Archive
EAP326/8/1 Image 55

EAP507 digitised a large amount of material from the historical archive of San Marcos National University in Peru. The project digitised approximately 26,000 pages of theses and dissertations dating from 1857-1920 as well as four historical documents dating from 1551-1821. San Marcos National University is the oldest university in Peru, holding important documents on several scarcely studied aspects of Peruvian and Hispanic American history. As well as digitising the collections they were also catalogued, making available for researchers an important part of the remaining archival material held in the Historical Archive of the San Marcos National University.

EAP507/3/2/3 Image 9

EAP556 digitised books related to the Ural Old Believers. In the second half of the 17th century, Patriarch Nikon of the Russian Orthodox Church reformed church ceremonies and text books. The purpose of the reform was the convergence of Russian, Greek, Belorussian and Ukrainian cultures. This led to a rupture where the Old Russian traditions and Russian society were split into two camps, supporters of reforms "Niconiane" and its opponents “Old Believers”.

From the end of the 17th century the Ural region of Russia became a place of residence for Old Believers who had fled from the persecutions of the authorities in the central areas of the country. From 1974 to 2002 a group of workers from Ural State University organised expeditions to settlements from the Volga region to Western Siberia. During these expeditions, around 6,000 items related to the Old Believers were found. The project succeeded in creating an inventory of 1,975 old printed books and 3,876 manuscripts. 35 of the books were digitised, these date from the 16th-19th century.

EAP556/1/1/1 Image 9

EAP212 digitised family collections of manuscripts in the insular region of the former Butonese Sultanate, which is now included in the territory of South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.
The project digitised almost 100 manuscripts from six collections. These Butonese manuscripts are mostly written in Arabic and Wolio languages. A few others were written in Buginese and Dutch languages. They date from the 17th to the 20th century. The contents are varied, among them are genealogies, correspondence (official letters, contract letters, personal letters), and accounts of traditional ceremonies. Other manuscripts contain Islamic and Sufism teaching, Islamic mysticism, Arabic grammar, Al-Qur'an, language, traditional maritime knowledge of sea navigation, Butonese traditional laws (taxation, customary law, maritime law, Islamic law), traditional medicine, and divination manuals. These documents are an important source for the study of language, literature, Islam, politics, culture and society in Indonesia.

EAP212/2/6 Image 9

Check back next month to see what else has been added!

You can also keep up to date with any new collections by joining our Facebook group.


16 December 2013

New online collections – December 2013

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This month we have had five new projects go up online, including EAP139 the photographic collection of Liberian president William V.S. Tubman, EAP333 parish archives from Peru and EAP334 Wolof Ajami manuscripts from Senegal. There are also two collections from Indonesia, EAP276 Ambon manuscripts and EAP280 Old Javanese and Old Sundanese palm-leaf manuscripts.

EAP139 preserved the photographic archive of William V.S. Tubman who was Liberia’s longest running president (1944-1971). Tubman’s presidency was marked by great changes in the economy, politics and social environment of Liberia and the African continent. The Tubman photographic collection contains over 5,500 photographs from the period of his presidency; including inspections, formal receptions and inaugurations. There are also photographs of state visits to other countries in Africa, as well as to Europe and the United States of America. Below is a photograph of President Tubman in 1954 riding in a motorcade with then Vice-President Richard Nixon.

VAA7927-5323EAP139/1/26 – Image 130

EAP333 collected and preserved parish archives in the Huacho diocese in Peru. The project digitised baptism, marriage and burial registers from thirteen parishes, dated from the 16th century up to 1940. The rest of the ecclesiastical documents are divided into three categories: confraternities, pastoral inspections, and curates. These contain records of petitions, visitations to parishes by bishops or their representatives and documents related to administrative or litigious matters.

Below is an example of one of the records included in the curates series, it is of a complaint made by the interim priest of a parish, Antonio Meléndez Méndez, against the inspector Francisco Cuadros, the mayor Melchor Dávila and the trustee Manuel Amaya for their behaviour in using the cemetery as an enclosure for three hundreds pigs.

EAP333 CUR Leg 11 Exp 119 (1)
EAP333/1/3/487 Image 1

EAP334 preserved Wolof Ajami manuscripts in Senegal. Ajami is a term applied when Arabic script is used to write African languages. The project team successfully digitised 5,494 pages, copying 29 manuscripts from 15 collections. The manuscripts primarily consist of Wolofal (Wolof Ajami) materials written by the members of the Muridiyya Sufi order founded in Senegal in 1883.

EAP334/8/1 – Image 163

EAP276 digitised 182 manuscripts and lithographs from the Indonesian islands of Ambon and Haruku, these covered a variety of topics such as genealogies, epic tales, poetry, prayers, sermons, and official documents.

EAP 276_AM_S_SH_001_005
EAP276/11/1 - Image 6

EAP280 preserved rare Old Javanese and Old Sundanese palm leaf manuscripts from Ciburuy in West Java, Indonesia.  The manuscripts appear to date from the 15th to 17th centuries, and cover a range of subjects, including pre-Islamic religion, poetry, and historiography.

280_Peti2d_Krpk24_5EAP280/1/2/5 – image 5

Check back next month to see what else has been added!

You can also keep up to date with any new collections by joining our Facebook group.

06 July 2012

June Accessions

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The year is half over and it is time to tell everyone about our June Accessions. We received some really interesting material last month from four different projects working in Chile, Indonesia, Argentina and Mali. Here are the details:

EAP359 Plan for ValparaĂ­so's musical heritage digitisation (1870-1930): scores and 78rpm discs

This project copied printed musical scores and 78rpm discs from the Margot Loyola Collection. The surrogate digital material includes folk music and will provide researchers with a unique insight into the social history of Valparaiso, Chile, during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In addition to their musical content the scores and discs display advertising and some quite fabulous art work.

EAP359 adoracion1

EAP365 Preservation of Makassarese lontara' pilot project

This pilot project set out to discover and evaluate the existence of private collections of lontara' manuscripts in the Makassarese language of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The results of their field work will be shown in a Survey Report. Alongside this, the project team took digital images from six manuscripts belonging to three Collections. The image below is from a manuscript concerned with the Islamic calendar.


EAP375 The transition from a traditional to a modern society: recovering Argentinean and Latin American history through an emblematic publishing company

The digital surrogates received from EAP375 are the result of a 12 month project to digitise part of the archives from a major newspaper company in Argentina, the Haynes Publishing Company. I will post more information on this, with images, next week when the principal investigator, Celina Tuzzo, will be our guest blogger.

EAP488 Major project to digitise and preserve the manuscripts of Djenné, Mali

We received the first submission of material from this major project. The project is copying manuscripts belonging to private collections housed in the Manuscript Library of DjennĂ© or private family libraries. These Arabic manuscripts include important Islamic texts and other volumes covering a range of topics including themes of the occult and local history.

EAP488 Photo 4


02 July 2012

Highlighting Pre-colonial Documents from Northern Nigeria

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Last month we announced the availability of records digitally copied by EAP087 Northern Nigeria: precolonial documents preservation scheme. Today's blog post has been written by Mohammed Bashir Salau, the principal investigator for EAP087.

In 2007, a group of researchers led by Mohammed Bashir Salau digitised materials related to the history of Kano at the Kano State History and Culture Bureau while carrying out the EAP087 pilot project in Northern Nigeria. Some of the copied materials were written in Arabic while others were written in English. The Arabic materials, consisting 166 files, include official letters written to the emir of Kano, a number of letters from the emir of Kano to other high ranking Sokoto Caliphate/Northern Nigerian leaders, letters written to Kano emirate judges, and letters from Kano judges to their counterparts elsewhere in Sokoto Caliphate/Northern Nigeria. These materials deal mainly with the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and they deal with diverse themes including: inheritance, marriage, land disupte,the nineteenth century jihad, trade disputes, divorce, theft, murder, and enslavement.

The English materials, consisting over 1000 files, include colonial assessment and reassessment reports as well as other official correspondences exchanged between colonial administrators in Northern Nigeria during the early twentieth century. These materials contain rich information about such issues as taxation, agriculture, labor, slavery, and social organization in colonial Kano. Also, some of them contain detailed information about the pre-colonial history of various districts in Kano.

Overall, the materials on Kano copied as part of the EAP087 pilot project are valuable not only because they provide unique and valuable historical evidence regarding such topics mentioned above, but also because they highlight oral traditions, eye witness accounts, African viewpoints, Muslim viewpoints,
European viewpoints, Christian viewpoints, and elite viewpoints on key events that unfolded in pre-colonial and early colonial Kano.

EAP087 image one

EAP087 image two

EAP087 image three

20 December 2011

Highlighting Indonesian Manuscripts

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Today's post is written by Annabel Gallop, the British Library's Lead Curator for Southeast Asian Studies.

When the EAP was launched in 2005 I was delighted when a project to digitise manuscripts from three pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) in East Java was amongst the first to be funded, and to date 12 projects from Indonesia have been successfully completed. I always knew that the long-term aim was to make the digitised images available online, but first many technological obstacles had to be overcome. Now, at last, the results from two projects in Sumatra have been mounted online by the EAP: manuscripts from Sufi brotherhoods in West Sumatra, in a project led by Irina Katkova, and manuscripts from private collections in Aceh, led by Fakhriati.

It is stunning to be able to browse through manuscripts which are still held in remote locations in Indonesia, and the research value of these collections for scholars all over the world is immediately obvious. To take just one example, a few years ago Jan van der Putten of the National University of Singapore had noted in a 17th century manuscript from Ambon, Hikayat Tanah Hitu, the regular presence of an Arabic word, balagha, used as a reading or editorial mark. Henri Chambert-Loir of EFEO had also noted this mark in a Malay poem, but no other examples had been documented. However, to these rare occurrances can now be added a manuscript on Arabic grammar held in the Surau Tuo Taram in Kecamatan Harau, Kabupaten Lima Puluh Kota, West Sumatra, which has balagha marked in red in the margins (EAP205/4/2: Nahwu).

EAP205_4_2 Nahwu

Annabel Gallop, Southeast Asia Section

08 November 2010

Catalogue Announcement: EAP205 Endangered Manuscripts of Western Sumatra

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We are pleased to announce that the catalogue for the digitised material produced by the project EAP205 Endangered Manuscripts of Western Sumatra: Collections of Sufi Brotherhoods is now available to view via the British Library's search pages.

Dr Irina Katkova conducted a survey of collections held by Surau - Islamic study centres guided by a teacher of a Sufi brotherhood - and private individuals in Western Sumatra. 15 collections were surveyed, primarily material dealing with Islamic education, and Sufi teachings and rituals.

The images below are taken from Akal dan Kelebihannya [The Consciousness and More], a manuscript detailing the doctrine of Tariqah Naqshabandiyah. The manuscript is dated 17 Rajab 1320H [November 1902], and can be ordered in our reading rooms through the reference EAP205/1/1:

EAP205_PB-KN _03_34BLOG 

EAP205_PB-KN _03_35BLOG 

The image below is taken from Nahwu, a work on Arabic grammar. This copy dates back to the 18th century, and the image clearly shows the fragile condition of the original manuscript, which suffers from insect and mould damage, and tearing (reference EAP205/4/2):