A Digital Library of the Lanten Textual Heritage - Phase II

The manuscripts of the Lanten in Laos enable shamans and priests to engage Daoist deities in the rituals to reproduce the Lanten socio-cosmological order. A distinctive quality of the manuscripts is that they are still in ritual use. The project enabled a three-fold professional development that has benefited the local team, the research staff and the manuscripts' owners.

This project aimed at preserving manuscripts produced by the Lanten in North Laos - an endeavour initiated by the EAP791 project (Phase I). This project had Identified a more significant number of manuscripts than those initially listed to be preserved; it also discovered seriously threatening conditions. The manuscripts preserved using digitalisation are owned by Lanten ritual experts living in 21 different settlements in the Lao Provinces of Luang Namtha, Bokeo, and Oudomxay.

The primary target of EAP1126 concerned the remaining Lanten manuscripts not yet copied in EAP791 and dating from the 18th Century to 1899 (the date of production appears in the colophon, for instance, in relation to a Chinese Emperor). A secondary target regards comparable old manuscripts that have been kept in several generations Lanten patrilineages in Laos, but that lack a written date.

Owners and hired scribes copy noteworthy texts that are in bad condition or scheduled to be sold to collectors to safeguard them in facsimile form. Such manuscripts originated from 1900 and were also digitalised when requested by ritual experts or the project team consider it necessary. This category of manuscripts constituted the tertiary target.

Project Details

Location: Laos, South-Eastern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Westfälische Wilhelms-universität Munster Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £27,500 Commencement Date: 11/2018 Project Status: Completed
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