GANDHARAN MANUSCRIPTS ON TOUR

Selected fragments of Gandharan Buddhist manuscripts in the Schoyen Collection are on display in Myanmar as part of the Sitagu International Buddhist Academy (SIBA) world peace conference. Sagaing Hills, where the conference is being held, is known as the 'Abode of the Holy Ascetics' and is home to over 12,000 monks, nuns and novices. Their numbers will be swelled by delegates from more than 60 countries who will be attending the conference from 22-25 January 2016.

The exhibition of the manuscript fragments follow another major event in the Buddhist calendar, the 11th Annual Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony held in Bodhgaya in India, at which the fragments were also on display last month (December 2015). In Buddhist tradition, Bodhgaya is where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree, now a sacred shrine and place of pilgrimage.

The current tour, in which the fragments from Bamiyan in Afghanistan are being shared with Buddhist adherents, follows an exhibition in 2010/11. Traces of Ganharan Buddhism - An Exhibition of Ancient Buddhist Manuscripts in the Schoyen Collection, at Buddhamonton in Thailand, was part of celebrations to commemorate 2.5 millennia of the Buddha's teachings.

The fragments and leaves being displayed are part of the centrepiece of the Buddhist Collection - some 5,000 leaves and fragments, with around 7,000 micro-fragments from a library of originally up to 1,000 manuscripts found in caves in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

Gandharan fragments 400x474