The project aims to make a major, but largely inaccessible and little-studied collection of Sanskrit manuscripts accessible again to the scholarly world, and to conduct focussed research on the collection.
The basic task of the gradual digitization and digital cataloguing of the Sanskrit manuscripts will fall to Punjab University Library and Geumgang University, and will be done in scholarly and technical collaboration and coordination with ISTB, Vienna, where the main research component of the project will be located.
The project research consists of three major parts:
- The analysis and evaluation of the philosophical manuscripts of the collection (1,266 manuscripts), that will result in the establishment of a descriptive digital catalogue following international standards and highlighting the importance of the individual manuscripts. A related prosopographically-oriented data base will present all information that can be extracted from the initial passages and colophons of the manuscripts.
- A study of the history of the Collection:
(a) in the wider context of the flourishing Sanskritic culture of pre-partition Lahore and the cultural and intellectual history of this city of celebrated multi-cultural learning, culture and intercultural exchange during the relevant period (ca. 1880-1947),
(b) with special emphasis on the history of its philosophical manuscripts.
- In-depth philological work on some selected manuscripts, with an initial focus on a manuscript of the Nāṭyaśāstra, the foundational work on ancient Indian histrionics.
Research conducted in Parts (2a) and (2b) will rely on the analyses and research on the data gathered in Part (1) and on extensive archival work in South Asia, especially in Lahore itself. For Part (3), a textual study of the fifth chapter of the Nāṭyaśāstra, which deals with the ritual preliminaries of a theatrical performance, will be made on the basis of a comparative critical edition of this chapter utilizing the manuscript of the collection and a number of recently available manuscripts from Nepal.
In this way, the Woolner Project will throw light on the little-explored Sanskritic culture of the Punjab and its treasures, which have been virtually inaccessible for more than half a century, with an emphasis on the Brahman cultural and philosophical component. It will also contribute to our knowledge of the recent cultural history of the region exemplified by a specific institutional history and aspects of the cultural and intellectual history related to it.
The results of parts (1) and (2) will be presented inter alia in an innovative, visual manner made possible by cooperation with the sub-project "Cultural History Information System" of the FWF National Research Network "Cultural History of the Western Himalaya from the 8th Century."
Last update: 14:19 23/12 2010