Preservation of historic manuscripts and documents from the Tirthalal Naghabhani Collection, Nepal

The Naghabhanis were the royal treasurers of the Kathmandu Malla court. The Naghabhani Collection holds manuscripts, rubbings and copies of medieval inscriptions, as well as family documents collected since the 16th century. Housed at Naghabhani's dilapidated family residence, the collection needed urgent intervention to be preserved.

The Naghabhani collection consists of around 2,000 leaves of manuscripts of different sizes, 50 Thyasaphus (folded books), 5,000 folios of paper manuscripts, three dozen palm‐leaf deeds, all pre-industrial, mostly pre-modern and unpublished. The contents of the collection include family chronicles of the Naghabhanis and other Malla aristocrats, personal writings of the past nine generations, sale deeds, medieval texts on Saivatantra, astronomy, astrology, secret rituals among others. The archive continues to provide a local, everyday, vernacular account of the medieval and modern Newar society.

Currently, the collection is housed at Naghabhani's family residence. The project digitised 13,000 folios of manuscripts and over 1,000 photographs, dating from the 1600s. Though the institution (Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya) had previous experience digitising some materials, the project provided experience in digitisation of archival material and manuscripts. The project had a resonance with archive owners in the region, and the custodians of the late Tirthalal collection have now initiated an archive at their ancestral home.

Project Details

Location: Nepal, Southern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £30,149 Commencement Date: 08/2014 Project Status: Completed
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