[INDOLOGY] New online: Digitization of Library of Congress Gandhara scroll

Jonathan Loar jonathanloar1 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 18:36:04 UTC 2019

Dear colleagues,

With apologies for the cross-posting to both lists, I am very happy to
inform that the Library of Congress is publicizing the digitization of one
of the world’s oldest Buddhist manuscripts: what we call the “Gandhara
scroll,” a birch bark manuscript dating roughly between the 1st century BCE
and 1st century CE. The scroll was acquired by the Library of Congress in
2003, and it is perhaps the most fragile and complicated item ever treated
by our conservators. Even in its well-conserved state, the physical scroll
is too fragile for public display. Digitization, however, enables the
sharing of the scroll with Buddhist communities, scholars, and others
around the world.

With regard to content, it is believed that the scroll, which retains about
75-80% of the original text, is an early version of the Bahubuddha Sutra
(Many Buddhas Sutra). The scroll features the Buddha’s teaching on thirteen
buddhas who came before him, then his birth and enlightenment, and finally
the coming of Maitreya. In November 2018, Dr. Richard Salomon (University
of Washington) gave a public lecture in the Asian Reading Room on the
Library’s Gandhara scroll, and the video of the lecture provides a more
detailed and engaging account of its content. See the link to the video in
the blog URLs below.

Digitized scroll: https://www.loc.gov/item/2018305008

Catalog record: https://lccn.loc.gov/2018305008

LC 4 Corners blog (longer version)

LC main blog (shorter version)

LC press release on scroll's digitization

Please direct any questions to my LC email account (JLOA at loc.gov). We also
aim to add a page for the Gandhara scroll on our new LibGuide: South Asian
manuscripts at the Library of Congress

All the best,


Jonathan Loar, Ph.D.


South Asia Reference Librarian

Asian Division, Library of Congress

jloa at loc.gov

(202) 707-3417


LC’s International Collections on social media!

4 Corners of the World Blog
<http://blogs.loc.gov/international-collections/> and its South Asia

International Collections Facebook Page

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