GIFTS TO THE NATION STRENGTHEN NORWAY-THAILAND TIES

Martin Schøyen donates manuscript to iconic Thai Buddhist temple

 

Two 2000-year-old manuscripts saved from destruction in Bamiyan and part of the Buddhism collection have been given to the iconic centre of Buddhism in Thailand, the Wat Saket temple incorporating the famous Golden Mount. The gift was made under the auspices of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) with the support of the Thai and Norwegian governments.

Brommasith gifts 2 800x520A ceremonial presentation of the manuscripts took place at Wat Saket and included a procession and preliminary opening of the cave to house the 10 meter copy of the Bamiyan Buddha, and a visit to the top of the Golden Mount. Dignataries present included the Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. In addition to the ceromies at Wat Saket and Golden Mount, Dr. Schøyen, his wife, Prof Jens Braarvig of Oslo University and other visiting and local dignitaries visited the Grand Palace to pay their respect to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and attended a reception at Government House with the Deputy Prime Minister.Thai Deputy PM with Martin Schoyen 800x603 Phra Brommasith, the prime Buddhist representative throughout, presented Dr. Schøyen with commemorative items in thanks for his gift to the Thai nation.

Dr. Schøyen said: "As a collector, I have always been driven by the need to study and conserve the best of human civilization. It is very gratifying to know that these two fragments are in the care and protection of a living community of adherents." MCU with Vice Chancellor Braarvig 800x483Dr. Schøyen reiterated his appreciation of the important role played by Prof Jens Braarvig of the Univeristy of Oslo, who is not only a leading international academic in the study of the Bamiyan manuscripts but also a key facilitator of the exhibition and tour of these significant artefacts leading to this gift to the kingdom of Thailand.

This is not the first time Dr. Schøyen has made a national gift of Buddhist manuscripts. In 2008, 58 original Buddhist scriptural fragments were delivered to the Embassy of Afghanistan in Norway for the benefit of the National Museum of Afghanistan in fulfilment of a commitment made in 2005 to make the donation once professional research and study on the fragments had been completed. The fragments were in addition to the eight (8) fragments donated in 2005 by the Collection to Afghanistan in order that the donation should mirror - or even improve upon - the National Museum's pre-war holding of around 50 fragments, which were lost during the war.