The Society is very pleased to announce that its small collection of Thai manuscripts is now available on its online catalogue.
The subject of the texts is very varied, ranging from Thai law, history and literature, to Buddhism, herbal medicine, proverbs and fortune telling. All but one of the manuscripts is in the form of a folding book and most date from the 19thcentury. Some are unfortunately only single volumes from multi-volume texts. Several of the manuscripts were given the Society in the 1940’s by H. G. Quaritch Wales, and the rest came from various donors.
Two manuscripts (10A and 10B) on fortune telling and matchmaking are extensively illustrated, with 10B containing many lively coloured and gilt illustrations.
|RAS MS 10A f6|
|RAS MS 10B f2|
No. 21 has an interesting title page, as it includes several words in a Thai script invented by King Rama VI (Vajiravudh), which never really came into use.
|RAS MS Thai 21 title|
Another interesting item from the point of view of the script, is MS 21e, which is written in a calligraphic form of the central Thai script, which makes the writing bear some resemblance to Khom (the Thai form of Khmer script).
|RAS Thai 21e f1|
To see catalogue records for the manuscripts, go to http://ras.libertyasp.co.uk/library/Home.doand search for ‘Thai manuscripts’. Visitors are very welcome to view the manuscripts in the library. The Library page of the RAS web site at www.royalasiaticsociety.orghas details of access arrangements.
The RAS would like to thank Jana Igunma (Curator for Thai, Lao and Cambodian material at the British Library) and her colleague Maria Kekki for their invaluable assistance in identifying the texts and providing information for the catalogue records.