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Pali Manuscripts

Date range: 17th-19th centuries

Number of items: 83 items

83 items on palm-leaf, ola-leaf, paper and lacquer, the majority of which were presented to the Library by Professor T. W. Rhys Davids in 1915. A majority of the manuscripts derive from Sri Lanka; of the remainder, a significant proportion are from Burma/Myanmar. 55 items are in Sinhalese script, 28 in Burmese and three in Cambodian.

A number of items are highly ornamental, notably Pali MS 82, comprising seven large bundles containing the Tripitaka, with carefully incised letters and covers inlaid with elaborate designs in mother-of-pearl. The Tripitaka (“Triple Baskets”) constituted the earliest and most complete collection of Buddhist sacred writings.

Pali MS 64 is an unusually complete copy of the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle Dīpavamsa copied in 1898.

See also:

South-East Asian Manuscripts

Further Information:

Professor N. A. Jayawickrama, 'Pali Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 55 (1972-3), pp. 146-76.

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