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Between February 1873 and May 1876, Dr. Daniel Wright, surgeon to the British Residency at Kathmandu, Nepal, collected a large number of Buddhist manuscripts. They are recognized as a unique group of priceless cultural and historical artifacts.
Now held at Cambridge University Library, the collection comprises more than 267 manuscripts containing approximately 23,000 leaves, and it includes the oldest Buddhist Sanskrit and Nepalese manuscripts ever found—two extraordinary documents from the 9th century A.D. For further description of this collection, please click here.
"The main historical importance of the present collection consists in the names of kings given, in so many cases, along with the carefully and minutely expressed dates of writing...," states the guide to the collection, authored by Cecil Bendall, Cambridge University Press, 1883. Bendall explains that “keeping in view the double local origin of our collection, the subject of History, like that of Palaeography, falls into two main divisions, relating respectively to Bengal and Nepal.”
As Bendall states, the collection allows the user to “gain fresh and valuable pieces of contemporary testimony” about events happening at the time of writing.
Whether the change involves a print-to-electronic transition or a space reclamation project, there are bound to be questions, concerns and even resistance.
“These testimonies take the historical stories out of the realm of history and place them in the realm of the human.”