Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia are centres for the preservation of local artistic traditions. Chief among these are manuscripts, a vital source for our understanding of Buddhist ideas and practices in the region. They are also a beautiful art form, too little understood in the West.
The British Library has one of the richest collections of Southeast Asian manuscripts, principally from Thailand and Burma, anywhere in the world. It includes finely painted copies of Buddhist scriptures, literary works, historical narratives, and works on traditional medicine, law, cosmology and fortune-telling.
This stunning new book illustrates over 100 examples of Buddhist art in the Library’s collection, relating each manuscript to Theravada tradition and beliefs, and introducing the historical, artistic and religious contexts of their production. It is the first book in English to showcase the beauty and variety of manuscript art and reproduces many works that have never been photographed before.