Tibetan block prints and manuscripts collection
Scope and Contents
- The Johan van Manen Collection consists of 998 block prints and 576 manuscripts dealing with Tibetan religion and culture. The manuscripts kept under shelf mark Br. 79/M 65-75, 77-86 are written on Western paper and are bound.
- The Lhasa Kanjur (Kangyur) consists of 100 block prints containing some 804 works. The Kanjur part of the Tibetan Buddhist canon contains the older texts which are translated from the Sanskrit.
- The Tinne Collection consists of 65 block prints printed in various places in India, Bhutan and Nepal in the period 1964-1995.
- The Bonpo canon edition of 1998-1999 is the first complete edition of the Tibetan Bonpo Kanjur (Kangyur) and Tanjur (Tengyur) which is based on a unique set of manuscripts. The Kanjur part consists of 178 volumes and was edited by Mongyal Lhasay Rinpoche. The Tanjur part has 380 volumes and was compiled by Tenpai Nima Rinpoche. On their arrival at the Kern Institute Library the volumes which consist all of loose-leaved bundles were wrapped in the traditional Tibetan cloths called dpe ras. For the Bonpo canon these cloths have a blue colour and were made by the monks at the Menri monastery in Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh (India).
- The collection sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) consists of 58 bundles of facsimile block prints of 800 pages each. They contain early translations (Tib. snga ’gyur) of Buddhist Tantra works which belong to the Ati-yoga, Anu-yoga, and Mahā-yoga classes. This also includes the so-called Terma (Tib. gter ma) texts. The works stem from older collections originating from Derge (sDe-dge, 429 titles), Tsamdrag (mTshams-brag, 506 titles), Vairocana (19 titles) and Tingkye (gTing-skye, 23 titles), plus two additional titles. The collection sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum consists of 133 bundles of facsimile block prints comprising almost 2000 works. Those works are, among others, by Nyingma authors (teachers) in the field of Mahā-yoga, Anu-yoga and Ati-yoga (or Dzogchen, Tib. rdzogs pa chen po). Many of these works have not been accessible outside of Tibet until now.
- Late 19th century – 20th century
- Bulk Late 19th century – early 20th century
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Due to their fragile state, the block prints and manuscripts of the Van Manen Collection are not available (see above: Alternative form available).
Biographical / Historical
On the initiative of the Sanskritist and archaeologist Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958) and the indologist and archaeologist Nicolaas Johannes Krom (1883-1945), an association was founded on 1 December 1924 for 'the establishment and maintenance of an Institute of Indian archaeology at the University of Leiden, named the Kern Institute'. A few months later, on 4 April 1925, the Institute was officially founded. The Institute was named after Hendrik Kern (1833-1917), who was appointed professor of Sanskrit at Leiden University in 1865.
Vogel and Krom envisioned a multi-disciplinary approach to the new Indological studies and focused on India and its sphere of influence in its widest sense, that is all 'Indies', hence, the former British India, the Netherlands East Indies and French Indo-China, and even beyond, comprising Central, South and Southeast Asia.
One of the main objectives of the Kern Institute was to collect materials for teaching and research. It was in the first place due to Vogel’s invaluable efforts and his good network that the scope of collecting and studying material was also extended to Tibetan languages and religious literatures. One of his contacts was the orientalist Johan van Manen (Nijmegen, 1877- Calcutta, 1943) who became a corresponding member of the Kern Institute Association. In his youth Van Manen had become a follower of Theosophy and both Hinduism and Buddhism appealed to him. Van Manen, who lived in India from 1909 until his death, may be considered the founder of Tibetology in the Netherlands. During his stay in Calcutta (1916-1943), he brought together c. 1614 Tibetan block prints and manuscripts. His field of interest was extensive and beside Tibetan he also learnt Sanskrite, various other Indian languages and Chinese. Van Manen was a fervent collector who took pains to trace materials on religion, cultural relics, and folklore.
In 1956 the Leiden chair in Buddhology, Indian philosophy and Tibetan was established, which was hold successively by Jan Willem de Jong (1921-2000), David Seyfort Ruegg (1931-), Tilmann E. Vetter (1937-2012) and, since 2002, by Jonathan A. Silk (1960-).
De collectie Tibetaanse blokdrukken en manuscripten omvat naast talrijke afzonderlijke acquisities van verschillende herkomst omvangrijke werken zoals de Lhasa Kanjur (Kangyur) en de Bon canon, de sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) en de sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum. Persoonlijke collecties zijn de Collectie Tinne en de indrukwekkende collectie bijeengebracht door de oriëntalist Johan van Manen (1877-1943). De inhoud van deze blokdrukken en manuscripten betreft met name religieuze en filosofische aspecten betreffende de Tibetaanse Boeddhistische tradities en aanverwante onderwerpen zoals astrologie en medicijnen.
The collection consists of Tibetan block prints and manuscripts from various sources and acquired in different periods. The collection includes the voluminous works of the Lhasa Kanjur (Kangyur), the Bon canon, the sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) en de sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum. Privately collected was the Tinne collection. The jewel of the Tibetan collections of the Kern Institute is the impressive and world-famous collection brought together by the orientalist Johan van Manen (1877-1943). The block prints and manuscripts deal primarily with religious and philosophical questions pertaining to Tibetan Buddhist traditions as well as closely related subjects like astrology and medicine.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
All block prints consist of loose leaves.
Leiden University Library, Special Collections
Other Finding Aids
- Johan van Manen Collection: All individual block prints are catalogued in the online catalogue of the university library. Use the search field under the tab "Leiden Collections" to create a list of the block prints by typing in truncated shelfmarks (using an asterisk (*) as a truncation symbol and double quotations marks): I.KERN 2740/H* for the first list and I.KERN Br.79/H* for the second. Both lists combined reflect the complete holdings of block prints in the Van Manen collection. For a similar list of all manuscripts held in the Van Manen collection please search on I.KERN 2740/M* and I.KERN Br.79/M*. A list of 21 Bon manuscripts in the Van Manen collection can be generated by searching on I.KERN 2740/B*. The transliteration of the Tibetan script follows the Wylie system.
- Lhasa Kanjur: an index on the Leiden version is not available, but Chandra 1983 is very useful.
- Tinne Collection: All individual block prints are catalogued in the online catalogue of the library. A list of the 65 titles in this collection can be produced by searching on I.KERN Tinne? The transliteration of the Tibetan script follows the Wylie system.
- Bon canon: An annotated description of the 178 volumes of the Kanjur is found in Martin et al. 2003. All 380 volumes of the Tanjur are described and indexed in Karmay and Nagano 2001.
- Both the sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) and the sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum collections have been catalogued on item and title level (each work has its own entry) and can be requested via the online catalogue. A search on the title of the collection will produce a list of all individual works contained in the collection. The transliteration of the Tibetan script follows the Wylie system.
- Current acquisitions of block prints are all catalogued in the online catalogue of the university library.
- After World War II, Leiden University purchased the Van Manen collection of Tibetan block prints and manuscripts at the Van Manen estate sale.
- The Lhasa Kanjur (Kangyur) was acquired on behalf of David Seyfort Ruegg in the years 1950 to 1960.
- In 1998 and intermediated by Het Oosters Antiquarium (Smitskamp Oriental Antiquarium, Leiden), Leiden University Libraries purchased the collection brought together by 'a certain Mrs Tinne'.
- The Bonpo canon, printed in Lhasa (Tibet), was purchased in 1998-1999 with a grant from the J. Gonda Foundation (KNAW) and the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS, Leiden).
- Singular acquisitions were acquired at the request of staff members of the Kern Institute, in particular by Ronald Poelmeyer (1946-1993).
- The facsimile block prints of the sNga ’gyur bka ma shin tu rgyas pa gsung ’bum and the sNga ’gyur rgyud ’bum phyogs bsgrigs (rNying ma rgyud ’bum) were bought from the Chinese publisher via Tibetbook.net in 2012.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
On 27 April 2010 and as a result of the fusion of the Institute Kern library and the University Leiden Libraries (UBL), the Special Collection section of the UBL was entrusted with the Tibetan block prints and manuscript collection.
Future additions will be limited.
Existence and Location of Copies
The digitized images of the block prints and manuscripts from the Van Manen collection are available via the online catalogue of Leiden University Library. For an overview of the digital collection in the catalogue click here. Then use Refine My Results or Advanced Search to diminish the number of results.
Tibetan Buddhist scroll-paintings and Himalayan ethnographica brought together by Johan van Manen in Museum Volkenkunde (Museum of Ethnology) Leiden.
- Chandra, Lokesh, Catalogue of the Peking Tanjur, vol. 1 [Tibetan text], New Dehli 1983 [Śata-Piṭaka series ; 325].
- Grönbold, Günter, Der buddhistische Kanon : eine Bibliographie. Wiesbaden 1984.
- Heilijgers, Dory,
The Kern Institute, in: N.C. Bonouvrié (ed.), Guide to the Kern Institute: published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Kern Institute. Leiden 2000, pp. 3-13.
- Heilijgers, Dory,
Kern Institute Collections, in: N.C. Bonouvrié (ed.), Guide to the Kern Institute: published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Kern Institute. Leiden 2000, pp. 14-15.
- Karmay, Samten G. and Yasuhiko Nagano (ed.), A catalogue of the new collection of Bonpo Katen texts, Osaka 2001 [Bon Studies; 4].
- Karmay, Samten G. and Yasuhiko Nagano (eds.), A catalogue of the new collection of Bonpo Katen texts : Indices. Osaka 2001 [Bon Studies; 5].
- Martin, Dan, Per Kvaerne and Yasuhiko Nagano (eds.), A catalogue of the Bon Kanjur. Osaka 2003 [Bon Studies; 8].
- Nebesky-Wojkowitz, René de, Catalogue of the collections of Tibetan block prints and manuscripts in the National Museum of Ethnology (Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde). Leiden 1953-55, 2 vol.
- Richardus, Peter, The Dutch Orientalist Johan van Manen: his life and work. Leiden 1990 [Kern Institute Miscellanea: 3].
The material of this collection can be requested via the online catalogue and can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. See also Restrictions on use and Alternative form available for the block prints and manuscripts from the Collection Van Manen.
- Bhutan Subject Source: Tgn
- Bon (Tibetan religion) Subject Source: Fast
- Buddhism Subject Source: Fast
- Instituut Kern (Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden)
- Ladākh Subject Source: Tgn
- Manen, Johan van, 1877-1943
- Manuscripts Subject Source: Fast
- Manuscripts Subject Source: Aat
- Nepal Subject Source: Tgn
- Religions Subject Source: Fast
- Sino-Tibetan languages Subject Source: Fast
- Tibet Subject Source: Tgn
- Tibetan language Subject Source: Fast
- Woodcuts Subject Source: Fast
- Woodcuts Subject Source: Aat
- Collection guide of the Tibetan block prints and manuscripts collection (Late 19th century – 20th century)
- Collectie Tibetaanse blokdrukken en handschriften
- Dory Heilijgers (Marie-Odette Scalliet, ed.), 2012; Doris Jedamski, 2016
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Beschrijving is in het Engels.
- 17 March 2016: latest update
Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository
Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857