Tibetan Manuscript Studies: A Research Guide: Digital Collections

Digital Collections of Tibetan Manuscripts

Specialized Digital Collections

Endangered Archives Project of the British Library

Here is what is digitized from EAST ASIA

EAP010 Preservation of rare periodical publications in Mongolia

EAP012 Salvage and preservation of dongjing archives in Yunnan, China: transcript, score, ritual and performance

EAP031 The Treasures of Danzan Ravjaa

EAP081 Preservation and digitisation of Yi archives in public and private collections in Yunnan, China

EAP140 Preservation through digitisation of the Tangut collection at the Institute of Oriental Studies, St Petersburg Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences

EAP143 Preservation of the last hieroglyphic manuscripts in China: Shui archives in Libo, Guizhou

EAP209 Survey on surviving dongjing archives in Jianshui, Tonghai and Mengzi

EAP217 Digitisation of Yi archives in south dialect in Yunnan, China

EAP264 Preservation through digitisation of rare photographic negatives from Mongolia

EAP460 Collection and preservation of Shui manuscripts from private collections in South Guizhou

EAP529 Digitising 19th and early 20th century Buddhist manuscripts from Dambadarjaa Monastery

EAP550 Preservation of Yao manuscripts from South Yunnan: text, image and religion


EAP039: Digital documentation of manuscript collection in Gangtey


Gangtey Gonpa, Gangtey Gonpa, founded by Gyalse Pema Thinley (d. c. 1640), the grandson of the famous Bhutanese saint Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), is one such monastery housing an enormous manuscript collection. This includes a set of the 100-volume bKa’ ’gyur, two sets of the 46-volume rNying ma rGyud ’bum, the world’s largest Astasahasrikaprajñaparamita, and about a hundred miscellaneous titles. The collection, mostly written in the 17th century as a funerary tribute to the founder of Gangtey, holds a unique textual, artistic and historical value of immense religious significance for the local community.


EAP105: The digital documentation of manuscripts at Drametse and Ogyen Choling


Drametse Monastery, founded in 1511 by Ani Choten Zangmo, the grand-daughter of the famous Bhutanese saint Padma Lingpa (1450-1521), is one of the major monasteries in eastern Bhutan. It is the home of Drametse Choje family which has produced many eminent religious personalities including three Shabdrung incarnations (Jigme Drakpa (1791-1830), Jigme Norbu (1831-1861) and Jigme Chogyal (1862-1904)) and the seventh Gangtey Tulku. Drametse's manuscript collection includes the 46-volume rNying ma rGyud 'bum, sixteen volumes of Prajnaparamitasutras and about a hundred and fifty volumes of miscellaneous titles including religious hagiographies, histories, liturgies, meditation manuals and philosophical treatises. Many of the books are written in dbu med script, indicating that the books were most likely brought from Tibet in the distant past.

Ogyen Choling, located in central Bhutan, is a seat of two famous Nyingmapa saints, Longchenpa (1308-1363) and Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405). Although historically a religious establishment, it is now a manor house of the family which claims direct descent from Dorje Lingpa. It is the home of many distinguished individuals in Bhutanese history including Tshokye Dorje, the mid-nineteenth century governor of Tongsa and the de facto leader of Bhutan, Lama Nuden Dorji (1930-85), the last monk scholar of the family and Ashe Kunzang Choden, the acclaimed woman writer.  Its library, housed in three of the five temple rooms in the manor complex, contains several hundred titles of manuscripts ranging from pilgrimage guides to philosophical treatises, including a beautifully executed 21-volume set of Dorje Lingpa's writings. Prof. Samten Karmay has recently catalogued the collection highlighting some of the rare works of Zhang Lama Drowai Gonpo (1123-93), Lhodrak Drubchen Namkha Gyaltshan (1326-1401), Wensa Lobzang Dondrub (1504-1566) and Jangchub Tsondru (1817-57). In addition to the manuscripts, Ogyen Choling also owns a large body of books printed from xylographic blocks.


EAP570: Digital documentation of Dongkala, Chizing, Dodedra and Phajoding temple archives


Other Collections

Gergan Fonds

These manuscripts, which were originally collected by Joseph Gergan, are now preserved primarily at the British Library.  (Columbia University also owns nine of these documents.) They are primarily royal decrees from kings of Ladakh during the 18th century.  Images of many of the documents can be found in one contemporary study from Germany:

Schuh, Dieter. Herrscherurkunden und Privaturkunden aus Westtibet (Ladakh). Monumenta Tibetica Historica, Abteilung III, Band II. IITBS, 2008.

Contact the Tibetan Studies Librarian for more information at lh2112@columbia.edu.