The aim of this volume is to lay before a wide readership the riches of Sanskrit literature as contained in the 56-volume Clay Sanskrit Library (CSL), in the context of the visual riches of the Bodleian’s Indian collection, bringing out the inter-relationship between the two modes of expression.

Before the advent of print technology, texts and images were transmitted in manuscript form. In the function and structure of manuscripts, texts are integral. Without texts, manuscripts would not exist. When the texts were reproduced and committed to the page, in many cases they were accompanied with images, becoming something much greater than the original texts themselves. The relationship between these two means of literary and artistic expression will be at the heart of the CSL Compendium.


Iconic passages from the CSL treasure trove of Sanskrit literature will be paired with some of the greatest South Asian manuscript treasures in the Bodleian Library from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, as well as with astonishing Mughal miniatures. Their impact will be significantly enhanced by the alliance of text with images from closely related manuscripts.


The organizing principle in this publication will be geography. Each chapter looks at texts and manuscripts from a different region of the vast and culturally diverse South Asia: where was the text composed? In which region was the manuscript of the text written? And how did it travel in some cases so far? The volume will act as a guide to the spread of local traditions and cultures across the region. The CSL Compendium will be accompanied by explanatory matter and commentaries, exploring the various facets of the authors and their works as well as of the manuscripts presented.

Aim and Prospective Readership

The CSL Compendium will introduce scholarly issues to the non-specialist reader in non-technical language. Anyone interested in literature and its composition, or the growing number who wish to explore their own heritage, should find the book of value. It can also be expected to prove useful to teachers of courses on World Literature, South Asian Literature, and South Asian Art.

Dr Camillo Formigatti
The John Clay Sanskrit Librarian
Oriental Section
Bodleian Libraries
The Weston Library
Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG
December 2017