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Cambodian language collections

The British Library has a small collection of materials in the Cambodian (Khmer) language, consisting of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals.

Manuscripts

The British Library holds about 12 manuscripts from the 19th century in Cambodian (Khmer). In addition, about 35 manuscripts in Thai, most of them lavishly illustrated, are written in Khom and Khmer scripts.

Highlights of the manuscript collection include:

  • literary and Buddhist texts
  • a rare manuscript of the Ramayana (Ramakerti) (Or. 7560 A)
  • a small collection of manuscripts by Henri Mouhot (Or. 4736)
  • Buddhaghosa's Padattha-Yojana - a finely decorated palm leaf manuscript with an Indian silk wrapper (Or. 5107)
  • a Japanese-Cambodian trade document, which is a 19th-century copy of the 17th-century original (Or. 12979)
  • a Cambodian dictionary from the 19th century (Or. 13577)

Other minor languages covered in the Thai, Lao and Cambodian manuscripts collection are Ahom, Khamti, Khasi, Tai Lue and Tai Khoen, Mon, and Shan.

Accessing the manuscripts

All the manuscripts in our Cambodian collection catalogued to date are listed in this electronic handlist.

Further details of individual items may be found in the following printed handlists:

Marrison, G.E.(ed.) Handlist of the Tai and Mon-Khmer manuscripts in the British Museum, together with Pali manuscripts from the corresponding region, and a short bibliography. 1968
Typescript handlist, updated by H.Ginsburg to include recent acquisitions of Thai and Cambodian manuscripts [ORC THAI 1]

Zwalf, W. (ed.) Buddhism: art and faith. London: British Museum, 1985
See 'Thailand and Cambodia', pp.175-186, for details of manuscripts from the British Library. [X 205/1792]

Igunma, Jana (ed.) Handlist of manuscripts from the Thai, Lao and Cambodian Collections, The British Library. London : The British Library, 2006
CD-ROM including the updated Handlist of the Tai and Mon-Khmer manuscripts in the British Museum, together with Pali manuscripts from the corresponding region, and a short bibliography. [ED.2006.x.66]

Printed books and periodicals

We hold about 100 titles of printed books and periodicals, mostly dating from 1960 onwards.

Accessing the printed materials

Cambodian printed books and serials which were acquired before 2001 are accessible through a card catalogue in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. Cambodian language material acquired since 2001, as well as printed books on Cambodia in western languages, can be found in Explore the British Library.

Contact

Jana Igunma, Henry Ginsburg Curator for Thai, Lao and Cambodian
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7653

E-mail: jana.igunma@bl.uk