array(2) { [0]=> string(4) "toto" [1]=> string(4) "titi"} 2019-2022 | TST - Texts Surrounding Texts: Satellite Stanzas, Prefaces and Colophons in South-Indian Manuscripts

Recherche | Projets et programmes financés

2019-2022 | TST - Texts Surrounding Texts: Satellite Stanzas, Prefaces and Colophons in South-Indian Manuscripts


ANR (FRAL 2018)



Eva WILDEN (Universität Hamburg)


Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures Universität Hamburg (CSMC)

Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Staats- und Universitäts-bibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky (Stabi)

TST - Texts Surrounding Texts: Satellite Stanzas, Prefaces and Colophons in South-Indian Manuscripts (collections of the Paris BnF and Hamburg Stabi)


In recent years, progress has been made both in the digitisation of Indian manuscripts as well as in the field of codicology, setting new standards for cataloguing. The trend is towards putting online the images along with elaborate catalogues. One important aspect of well-catalogued digital collections is the possibilities they offer for statistically relevant research both with respect to questions of script development as well as dating and with respect to the various paratextual elements―such as colophons, prefaces and satellite stanzas―with their wealth of information on the provenance and transmission of the objects in question.

Both Hamburg and Paris still house important collections of Indian manuscripts which have been lying more or less dormant. The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) holds Europe’s most remarkable collection of some 700 Tamil manuscripts, along with several smaller collections in Sanskrit and various local languages. The state and university library of Hamburg (Staats- und Universitäts-bibliothek Carl von Ossietzky, i.e. Stabi) has a similar collection of almost 500 manuscripts, most from Southern India, the majority in Sanskrit, but also some in Tamil and other vernaculars.

The project aim is to make significant portions available online along with their catalogues and to engage into the large-scale investigation of paratextual materials. On the one hand, this will significantly improve our understanding of the times, places and communities who produced the objects. On the other hand, the material unearthed will allow us to focus more closely on the intersection between the literary and the oral tradition, because sub-genres like prefaces and mnemonic verses hover between established literary conventions and local, often oral traditions.

While the respective libraries, the scholarly community, and the general public will benefit from the extension of the libraries online databases, publications will include case studies on classical Tamil literary and grammatical traditions, on various fields of Sanskrit learned traditions and from further smaller languages, but also on the amply documented encounter of Western and Indian traditions in the form of missionary documents.


manuscript, manuscript cultures, paratext, digital humanities


French team:


French team partners:

Suganya ANANDAKICHENIN (Universität Hamburg), Daniele CUNEO (PARIS-3), Hugo DAVID (EFEO, Pondicherry, India), Zoé HEADLEY (CEIAS), Isabelle RATIE (PARIS-3), Thillai Chidambaram RAJARETHINAM (EFEO, Pondicherry, India), T. RAJESWARI (EFEO, Pondicherry, India), Margherita TRENTO (CEIAS & University of Chicago), Vincenzo VERGIANI (University of Cambridge), G. VIJAYAVENUGOPAL (EFEO, Pondicherry, India).

German team:

Giovanni CIOTTI (Universität Hamburg), Victor D’AVELLA (Universität Hamburg), Harunaga ISAACSON (Universität Hamburg), Erin McCANN (Universität Hamburg).

German team partners:

Martin DELHEY (CSMC), Florinda DE SIMINI (University of Naples), Camillo Alessio FORMIGATTI (Bodleian Libraries), Marco FRANCESCHINI (University of Bologna), Karsten HELMHOLZ (CSMC), Ilona KĘDZIA (University of Krakow), Monika MÜLLER (Stabi), Cristina MURU (University of Tuscia), Stefan THIEMANN (Universität Hamburg), Vinodh RAJAN (Universität Hamburg)



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