Sunday, October 24, 2004

Cornell's collection of Southeast Asian books

In this beautiful on-line "book"produced by Cornell University, you will be able to find some beautiful images of ancient manuscripts and old books of Souteast Asia. The site draws attention to what official history books have omitted to tell us, that ancient ancestors of Southeast Asia were avid readers, literate, and collectors of precious manuscripts, dating as far back as 1st century AD.

I quote from this site: "In the first centuries A.D., the earliest foreign visitors to Southeast Asia remarked on the books of the region, which were incised into palm leaves or written into mulberry- or bark-paper manuscripts, usually employing alphabets derived from Indian scripts or, in Vietnam, using Chinese characters. The first libraries of the region were at royal capitals such as Angkor in ancient Cambodia. Then with the advent of Theravada Buddhism and Islam from the thirteenth century onwards, handwritten books were found almost everywhere.".

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