As part of IDP's 20th anniversary celebrations we have asked twenty of our friends and supporters to select their favourite item from the IDP collections. The full selection will form an online catalogue and will be featured in the spring and autumn 2014 editions of IDP News
Agnes Kelecsényi (left) and Kinga Dévényi (right) are curators in the Oriental Collection of the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, where Stein’s bequest is preserved. They have been strongly involved in disseminating knowledge about this collection including various digitisation and cataloguing projects with IDP. Their chosen item is Aurel Stein's manuscript of the Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan.
Detail from Stein's Ms of the Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan, 653/1-2.
The two volume manuscript, bound in brown leather, consists of two parts: The text of the Preliminary Note in Stein’s pagination Vol.1.:434 ff. and Vol. 2.: 435-812 ff. completed in London, 6 February 1903. At the end of the manuscript two parts are inserted from his diary written during his return journey to Europe: Osh, 8 June 1901 (13 ff.); and Samarkand, 15 June 1901 (6 ff.).
This manuscript was donated to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by Stein as a part of his first donation of books to the Academy of his native land.
It is our favourite item because his neat handwriting and scarce amendments reflect his scholarly way of composing and his well disciplined character. While the dried flowers put among the leaves of the manuscript, and which are from the Mohand Marg, his mountain retreat in Kashmir, are a sign of his tender heart, love of nature, and spirituality.