Pure Soul (Exhibition at the Brunei) / Dr Bill Hayton


The Society has loaned six items to a new exhibition, Pure Soul: The Jaina Spiritual Traditions, which runs from today (14 April) until 24 June 2023 at the SOAS Brunei Gallery. The exhibition aims to acquaint a wider public with unique aspects of Jaina traditions, and features a wide range of artworks, manuscripts, and other sources from across the centuries. The objects loaned by the RAS include a beautiful version of the Jambudvipa, a Jain cosmological representation of the universe, dating from the early C19th (RAS 069.001), as well as a sumptuously illustrated manuscript copy of the Kālikācāryakathānaka (RAS Tod 34), dating from the early fifteenth-century. We have also loaned two palm leaf manuscripts, as well as copies of two significant early printed books in the Jain tradition.




The Society has an important collection of materials pertaining to Jain culture, many of which were acquired by James Tod, the Society’s first Librarian, during his years in Rajasthan. Much of Tod’s research was conducted in collaboration with a Jain scholar, Gyanchandra. You can read more about the Society’s Jain collections in the 2022 issue of Jaina Studies.


– Dr Ed Weech, RAS Librarian



Last night the Society was happy to host a lecture by Dr Bill Hayton entitled Constructing a Chinese territory: History and geography in the early twentieth century.

Bill is the author of Vietnam: rising dragon (Yale 2010, second edition 2020) and A Brief History of Vietnam (Tuttle, 2022). He has written two other books: The South China Sea: the struggle for power in Asia (Yale, 2014) and The Invention of China (Yale, 2020) and numerous articles on Asian issues.

In 2019 he received his PhD from the University of Cambridge for work on the history and development of the South China Sea disputes. Bill worked for the BBC for 22 years until January 2021 and he is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

The lecture is available to watch on the Society’s YouTube channel: