Southeast Asian manuscripts workshop

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|9th February 2015|Teaching & Learning|0 comments

This week’s blog is from Dr Farouk Yahya in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, and describes his recent hands-on workshop in SOAS Archives for students studying the half-unit MA course Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia.

© SOAS

The course is concerned with the arts of the manuscript in Southeast Asia, including those from Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and covers the artistic, calligraphic and codicological aspects of manuscripts on both religious and secular material such as Buddhist painting, Qur’anic illumination and magical talismanic designs.

Apart from in-class sessions, the course also includes visits to a number of manuscript collections here in London. In January the students went to visit the SOAS Library Archives and Special Collections, which holds one of the most extensive and important collections of Southeast Asian manuscripts in Europe. During the visit the students were taken on a tour of the Archives, and afterwards had the opportunity to handle and study closely a selection of manuscripts from the collection. Dr. Yahya guided them through the wide range of languages, scripts, literary genres and images that the manuscripts contained, and explained on the variety of formats and material that were used to make the manuscripts such as paper, palm leaf, tree bark, bamboo strips and copper plates. From this session the students were able to gain a deeper understanding of what they had learned in class and appreciate the diverse and complex nature of the Southeast Asian manuscript tradition.

© SOAS

 

© SOAS

Later this term the students will visit the exhibition The Arts of Southeast Asia from the SOAS Collections in the Foyle Gallery of the Brunei Gallery, where they will see further manuscripts from the SOAS collections that are currently on display there.

Share this Post:

About Special Collections, SOAS Library

Broadly speaking, our collections reflect the British interaction with Africa, Asia and the Middle East over the last 250 years, and include archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations, as well as papers of individuals, including diplomats, campaigners, and academics. If you have any questions, or comments, please get in touch! email: special.collections@soas.ac.uk tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4180

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

*
*