South Asian Collections

Photo from the 1914 production of Shakuntula at the Greek Theater. Panoramic view of Dushyanta's court.
Arthur Ryder translated Shakuntula into English from Kalidasa's Sanskrit original and then created an "acting version" in collaboration with Garnet Holme. The production was staged at the Greek Theater in Berkeley in 1914 (photo at right).

King Dushyanta visits the hermitage of Kanva, where he falls in love with the hermit's foster daughter Shakuntula (photos at left).He marries her and then returns to his palace, giving her a ring as a token of remembrance. But through wicked enchantment the king forgets Shakuntula and rejects her when she arrives at the royal court. The play tells of their suffering, separation, and final reunion.




Sinhalese Ola
Ceylonese manuscript. ca. 1720. Lacquered covers.
Book describing treatments for pneumonia and typhoid with favorite medical prescriptions and methods of preparation.








Hanuman Leaping the Ocean
Illustration from the dustcover of The Ramayana of Valmiki: an epic of ancient India, volume 5, Sundarakanda translated by Robert P. Goldman and Sally Sutherland Goldman. The illustration depicts an episode in the Ramayana when the monkey god, Hanuman, leaps across the ocean to the island of Lanka in the campaign to rescue Lord Rama's faithful wife Sita, who has been abducted by the demon-king Ravana. In this episode Hanuman is leaping from the peak of Mt. Mahendra on the right and pausing in his flight to be greeted and embraced by the undersea mountain Mainaka, which has emerged from the waters to provide a resting place for him.




Portrait of Murray B. Emeneau
When Murray B. Emeneau came to Berkeley in 1940 he was already a renowned Indologist and linguist who had spent many years studying the Todas and Kotas in the Nilgiri hills and learning Dravidian languages. He taught Sanskrit and linguistics, first in the Classics Department and then, from 1953 onwards, in the the newly formed Department of Linguistics, of which he was the first Chairman. Since 1973, Sanskrit has been taught in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies.







Portrait of Arthur W. Ryder
Arthur W. Ryder came to Berkeley in January 1906. Though Sanskrit had been offered since 1897, with Ryder's arrival the courses were expanded into a full program for Sanskrit language and literature. Ryder translated many Sanskrit works including "Little Clay Cart," "Shakuntula," and the "Cloud Messenger." In describing Arthur Ryder, one Italian Sanskritist said "Ten men like him would make a civilization."







Kalpasutra and Kalacharya Katha
Jain manuscript on paper. Probably early 16th century. Thick cloth covers decorated with symbols of lucky dreams. The Kalpasutra is Svetambara Jain Agamic work attributed to Bhadrabahu and written in a form of Prakrit called Jain Maharastri. The miniatures are in early west Indian style. The work details the code of conduct for a Jain monk. For instance, these wandering ascetics are enjoined not to stay in a city for more than five nights and not to stay in a village for more than one night, though special dispensation is made for the rainy season when a sojourn of one month is permissible in any locale.




Safinah-i ghazal
Indian manuscript in Persian. 17th or 18th Century. Leather binding. Illuminated endpapers. A collection of classical Persian Poetry.






Lady gathering flowers from the Parijata tree
Miniature painting. Modern. Rajasthan state. According to Hindu mythology, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, or the wish-granting Parijata tree, which perfumes the entire universe, was the third treasure churned from the milky ocean by the gods and the asuras.





Selections from the Krishnabai Nimbkar Collection
Letter from Krishna Nehru urging Krishnabai Nimbkar to attend an independence rally the next day where Gandhi Ji will most likely be arrested and then deported. "The battle begins tomorrow and if we do not join now we never will."
Signed Article 17, a mimeographed letter from Achyut Patwardhan addressed to the "Comrades recently released from Jail." He urges them to take heart and to resume the fight for independence and dignity, ending with "LONG LIVE FREE INDIA."




Portrait of Gobind Behari Lal
Gobind Behari Lal was born in India in a well-to-do Hindu family. After graduating from the University of the Punjab in 1908, he entered the University of California, Berkeley and earned a degree in social sciences. In 1925 he joined the San Francisco Examiner and in 1936 shared a Pulitzer Prize with two other reporters for coverage of the Harvard Tercentenary. His greatest contribution to journalism was his popularization of science and his effort to imbue the general reader with what he called "the spirit of science." Lal's papers are housed in the Bancroft Library.




Photograph of Berkeley professor David Goodman Mandelbaum with tribesmen from the Nilgiri hills
Mandelbaum was one of the first cultural anthropologists to undertake ethnographic research in India.








Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India
Selections from Alwar and Bundi. The court fee and revenue stamps were designed by the British as a means to collect taxes from residents of some of the Princely States starting as early as 1797. The designs include the name of the state as well as the type and amount of tax imposed. Berkeley's collection, including stamps from over 15 Princely States, is a gift from Dr. Kenneth Robbins.




Patinoravatu Nikantu Enkira Oru Corpala Porul Tokuti
Tamil manuscript, "the eleventh thesaurus". On palm leaves. Undated.







Photograph of George Dales examining a human skeleton at the archaeological dig in Harappa, Pakistan
This project in Pakistan has been sponsored jointly by the Archaeological Survey of Pakistan and two United States universities, first University of California, Berkeley and now University of Wisconsin, Madison. Beyond it's research value the project is seen as an important teaching tool for future Pakistani and American achaeologists.




Sanskrit mantra. A Buddhist prayer sheet in Mandan characters brought to the U.S. by a traveller from Mongolia.




This site rated "essential" by the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library

 

[ HELP/FAQ ] [ CATALOGS ] [ COMMENTS ] [ HOME ]

             Copyright (C) 2014 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley.
All rights reserved.
             Document maintained on server: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/
             by ssea@library.berkeley.edu
             Last update 1/10/14. Server manager: webman@library.berkeley.edu