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
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